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Editorial How to Survive Indiepocalypse in 5 Easy Steps

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by VentilatorOfDoom, Jul 1, 2016.

  1. VentilatorOfDoom RPG Codex Staff

    VentilatorOfDoom
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    Tags: Iron Tower Studios; Vault Dweller

    Vault Dweller put up an article on the Irontower Studios forums to discuss how to survive the Indiepocalypse, offering examples of the valuable insight he's amassed in the last 11 years. Here's an excerpt:

    Now that you’re working on your game, you have to build a community around it and spread the word. No matter how well-designed your game is it will fail all the same if nobody knows about it. Yes, that too is your job.

    Many indie developers look at what the AAA developers do and take notes. They think that if they act like the AAA boys, you know, professional and shit, everyone will assume they are real developers too and take them seriously.

    Don’t do semi-official press-releases where you quote yourself. Don’t ask volunteer testers to sign NDAs as if you have the time, money, or desire to enforce them. Don’t write you own EULA on Steam as if Steam’s EULA isn’t good enough for you. Worst of all, don’t guard your stories and design ideas because someone might steal them. Yeah, Bethesda will decide to postpone The Elder Scrolls 6 and steal your shitty totally awesome ideas instead.

    You have to sell people on your vision and you can’t do it if all you give them is a brief summary and Todd Howard’s famous “Trust us, it will be cool” line.

    We’ve posted everything we had from day one. If we didn’t show something, it’s because we didn’t have it. We’ve "spoiled" every aspect of the game and answered every question about the game on as many forums as we could, giving people reasons to follow the game.

    Go out into the world and engage gaming communities. Don’t hide behind moderators or "community managers". People who give a fuck about your game don’t want to be "managed", they want to talk to the guys making the game.

    I made over 10,000 posts on multiple forums talking to people who showed interest and had questions. Oscar made over 6,000 posts. That’s not counting posts on Steam since we launched on Early Access and even more posts later after the game was released. If you can’t be arsed to talk to people who’re interested in your game, don’t expect them to support you in the future. Find time or you won’t stay in this business for long.

    A word of warning before we get to the next chapter: when mingling with people you might discover that not everyone thinks your game ideas are as great as you think they are. Some people might actually harbor suspicions that your game sucks and be willing and even eager to share these thoughts with everyone they run into. You’d better get used to it because it’s going to happen a lot. ‘tis the magic of the internet. ​

    Now that you’re working on your game, you have to build a community around it and spread the word. No matter how well-designed your game is it will fail all the same if nobody knows about it. Yes, that too is your job.
    I told that to Pierre Begue years ago.
     
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  2. vean Scholar

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    Like they say, the plural of anecdote isn't data.
     
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  3. Lurker King Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    Well, they must be all skeptics then, because most their beliefs about the world result from their own anecdotal evidence, including the very idea that you can't trust anecdotal evidence. What matter is not so much the type of evidence you have, but how do you obtain it. An anecdotal evidence that is obtained in a carefully and impartially manner is more useful than a paper with tons of data that were statistically cooked by a dishonest specialist who is desperate to be published. In fact, you have to trust your own anecdotal evidence to form beliefs about topics that are not in your own area of expertise. The transmission of knowledge by testimony is fundamental to your beliefs since you can’t be an expert on all topics, but which expert and scientific findings you choose to belief rests ultimately on your anecdotal beliefs. Go read some textbooks about epistemology before spreading idiotic shit on the web.
     
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  4. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

    Jedi Master Radek
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    This is not anecdotal evidence. This is like saying "dead people with all life functions intact"

    Or you could just trust the scientific consensus rather than conducting 15 minutes "research" on some dubious internet sites.
     
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  5. Lurker King Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    If it is an empirical belief you form from your personal experience alone, it is anecdotal evidence, no matter how impartial you are. Defining anecdotal evidence as bad evidence is like saying that porn is only sex material that is demeaning to women. It is an unjustified attempt to twist the concepts in order to maintain conceptual prejudices.

    Sure, but most science that can improve your life does not come with a “consensus” stamp on it, whether they are published on dubious sites or not. Besides, the scientific consensus doesn’t necessarily mean knowledge. The history of science is filled with idiotic theories that were consensus at their time, from bloodletting treatments to caloric and aether theories. Of course, you can just tell yourself that if most physics are saying that super strings are true, things are different, but that is just rationalization. Blindly accepting anything that is scientific consensus nowadays is no better than accepting every news and pop science as a fact. Again, you will have to form your own opinions, use your anecdotal evidences and you expertise to form your own opinions.
     
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  6. duanth123 Arcane

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    Neither is the synonym of 'data':

    I assume VD does not expect anyone to adhere to his advice like the gospel.

    In any event, much of what he said is just common sense a.k.a. that thing more developers used to have.

    For example,

    Let your mind wander as it recalls all the massive PR fuck ups (be it Bethesda, Bioware, or even primadonna indies like Vogel) that resulted from either poor or absent communication, or some genuinely up-jumped moderator.

    Or:

    Would you seriously contest that the artificial echo chambers created by devs who would never set foot in a semi- or un-moderated forum contribute greatly to the basic design flaws and inbreeding (DIALOGUE WHEELS!) we see in many modern games?

    I suspect even (in a recent reveal) Tyranny's lack of friendly fire was influenced partly by the troglodyte lair that is the Obsidian forums.

    AAAs can "ignore" common sense (and sometimes even the desires of their own consumers) for the most part, either due to a wealth of resources, legions of fanbois used to bitch treatment, the collective memories of an once-decent franchise, you name it.

    Indie devs cannot. That is the undeniable truth at the center of his article; call it an "anecdote" if you will.
     
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  7. Lurker King Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    On the contrary, indie devies can. In fact, they must ignore some of the criticisms if they want to bring something new to the table. If anything, AoD shows that a game can be important precisely because it abruptly denied some of the more established cRPG common places and educated players for something new (or old) - which depends on your experience with games. One of the main elements of the game is tearing apart player’s bad habits. Besides, there is no such thing as common sense when players’ opinions are concerned. Even on the Codex, in fact, even among the AoD fans, opinions can be very controversial and change over time. To be honest, I think that even triple-A developer must ignore some of their popamole players if you want any soul in their games.
     
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  8. duanth123 Arcane

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    They can ignore criticism, but not common sense, was my point. Common sense dictates that you consider criticism and square it with your own goals and judgment, while not dismissing it out of hand.

    Some of the criticism AoD received was eventually integrated.

    Other criticism, no matter how vociferous, was not.

    Either way, Iron Tower seems to have at least considered it all, and was benefited by that.
     
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  9. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

    Jedi Master Radek
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    Anecdotal evidence is more than evidence from experience. Term is more commonly used as a description of 3 rd hand experiences, hearsay.

    Anecdotal evidence is a bad evidence par excellence. This is a totally random sample, without regards to being representative or accurate. It does not care about showing as much of a picture as possible, instead it shows only parts through emotional lens. It's a shit way of portraying reality accurately.
    And they were proven wrong by scientific methodology not by some "do your own research sheepie" lunatic. The self correcting ability of science is its biggest strength. The best shot we have to being close to the reality is sticking to the current theories of the age we live in. You really believe that any "do your own research sheepie" guy would actually go after the theory that science got wrong, not the theory he finds uncomfortable? Naive.

    Blindly accepting any news is accepting anecdotal evidence. Thought you liked it. Pop science is just a watered down science, so not accepting science is not like accepting watered down form of it. Self contradiction.
    Because my expertize on molecular biology is at least as good as an expertize of thousandths cooperating and competing biologist building on knowledge accumulated by the last three hundreds years. (Actually more like 2 500 but yeah, after stooping using anecdotal evidence and developing scientific method the rate of progress skyrocketed )
     
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  10. Lurker King Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    Suppose you have a black friend who got beat up by a group of skinheads in his city and he tells you what happened. Is his testimony bad evidence that he got beat up by a group of skinheads? Of course not. Following that absurd epistemic standard, a cop would have to ignore any calls for help because this is just hearsay. More than that, you could not believe anything that a colleague or friend would tell you unless it was originated from a sizable sample and properly analyzed using a statistical method. Of course, no one behaves like that, since this would tear apart our system of beliefs. I think that what is happening is simple. You accepted some restricting and scientificist conception of evidence while your ignore that most of your beliefs don’t work by that logic.

    Too naive. You almost make it sound like most scientists nowadays are Einstein and Darwin types, when in fact they are more like bureaucrats making models using a methodology they learned by imitation and using data that they never check. If the consensus is not corroborated by evidence and still purely speculative, there is no reason at all to accept than pure deference to scientific authorities. Do I believe in the periodic table or the evolution? Sure. Do I believe in super string theories when their models are failing repeatedly in prediction tests? Not really. Do I believe in most cancer biology research when more than 75 percent of cases the published data did not match up attempts to replicate? Nope!
     
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  11. Roqua Prospernaut Dumbfuck In My Safe Space

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    Honestly, I know it is just probably me, but I really hate having the game spoiled. But, since I actually like rpgs and buy them I am a guaranteed sale for crpg games. Since they came out around the same time I will compare Underrail to AoD. I put in tons of time playing and following AoD, and even though I love the game it was kind of like revisiting a favorite classic when it was released. This is really the only game I was vested in from the start due to my perceived friendship with VD when he started developing it.

    Now, I bought Underrail long before it came out but I knew nothing about it other than a lot of people with very poor taste in games liked it a lot on rpgwatch. When it was released I expected sophomore monkey shit with barely any rpg, otherwise know as hipster trash for retards. But the game blew me away. I fucking loved it.

    Now in my head, even though I like AoD a little bit more due to really trying something different and removing the usual filler tripe from most shitty rpgs, there is a psychological factor that makes me think of my time with Underrail a lot fonder. Unerrail had all the rpg tripe, but it did them all extremely well.

    I think people of normal intelligence can agree both games raised the bar for single character combat, and I hope both developers realize that full party creation is the penultimate and only way their games should be made going forward. But that is besides the point. The point is people need to know the key factors of a game. I think this is a good time for indie developers since graphics standards are low due to phones and tablets. You have your hipster games that are popular because the hipster bandwagon effect, regardless of anything else. Just pure hipster induced luck.

    A key market is crpg fans around my age. Most of them don't post because they have professional jobs and families. They want what I want - specific features highlighted briefly, truthfully, and succinctly.

    I think inide devs could really put some effort into brevity. I'm not going to read a bunch of shit just to find out if your game is an actual rpg. I will skim through any longwinded whatever for key words and if I see emergent, streamlined, or any other words that translate into moronic kids game I skip. If I see a screenshot with a console UI or not keyboard and mouse friendly UI I skip. If a game is on steam and has the controller picture or says anything about the big picture (which I don't even know what that is) I skip. I have returned games because the developers gave out a ton of free keys for retarded people to review the game on release. If I check what three of these morons have said and my fucking droopy left testical knows more about rpgs I skip. If the developers talk a lot about people who make videos of themselves playing the game for others to watch on youtube or whatever I skip. I'm not wasting my time on kids bullshit. I have money, I like certain things and hate certain other things. I'll give people my money who value me, crpgs, my time, and not hipster bullshit or simpletons and children.

    I cannot stress enough about being clear on the features of the game. Any game that tries to be shady or attract sales with lies, I refund out of principal. Don't say you have A to get me to buy the game when you barely have A or refund.

    Also, pricing parity. This killed SPiderweb for me. I used to buy their games on release, but changed my policy to only buying their games when on steam sale for the price it was released for hipsters on their little hip machines. I'll never pay full price for a Spiderweb game again. Me and people like me carried that fucking company for years and whats our reward? Triple priced games compared to fucking Apple monkeys? Fuck you. You fuck me, I fuck you. No more direct full price buys from the devs site. Steam sale only motherfucker.
     
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  12. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

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    First. That kind of testimony can be either true or false. There are people who testify against others lying in the eyes. That's why physical evidence has more weight than the testimony. In the case of black guy beaten up, it's easy to check his bruises.
    Second thing. This is anecdotal evidence only if we use this with a few selected other cases to judge how the society treats blacks. To properly do it we need to use statistical tools, check if a black has a bigger chance to be assaulted, for example

    The time for great geniuses like Darwin or Newton has ended. Science is too specialized and complicated for one person to understand everything. Also, ALL so called "scientific geniuses" were only building on what other "lesser scientist" has worked on recently. They are literally midgets standing on the shoulders of the titans. There is a difference between ""we know it nearly for sure", "we are suspecting, guessing that". Scientists are first to say there are not sure about something. Replicating experiments is VERY important, so not trusting single, not independently checked research is actually complying with the scientific methods :)
     
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  13. Lurker King Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    But that is my point. Instead of accepting the crazy thesis that any anecdote is not evidence, you are now accepting the more plausible idea that there are criteria to distinguish between good and bad anecdotal evidence, and contexts in which they are appropriate. That is a big difference.

    You mean, an ideal scientist would be the first to say that he is not sure about something, but we don’t live in an ideal world. What you called the scientific method is actually the epistemic virtues that an impartial scientist would have if he wasn’t affected by ego and academic interests.
     
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  14. Sacred82 Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

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    VD is talking about the psychology of customers, and psychology isn't hard science. Good luck trying to figure out the human race by clinging to the latest vogue in psychology and psychiatry :lol:
     
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  15. Mustawd Arcane

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    Anecdotal evidence is akin to receiving advice from people who have been in a similar situation as you.

    It's inherently a subjective process of understanding the context of the person giving it, as well as the underlying factors of the anecdote, and applying it to your specific situation.

    Is it helpful? Sure. Is it necessarily statistically relevant? Of course not.

    But just because it doesn't pass the objective data test does not mean it is irrelevant in its own right. I mean a case study, which is an accepted, if not preferred, form of reaearch is basically anecdotal evidence in another form.
     
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  16. VD is also full of shit.
     
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  17. Bester ⚰️☠️⚱️ Patron Vatnik

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    Nothing new in the article. What would be interesting is his take on where to find the right people for different jobs and how to entice them into working for free for years.
     
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  18. Irenaeus Self-Ejected Patron Dumbfuck Repressed Homosexual The Real Fanboy

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    Great article. Thread is completely useless tho. Only bad posts until this one.
     
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  19. prodigydancer Magister In My Safe Space

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    VD is spot on here. Every time I see an indie project that starts off as or devolves into generic rubbish I can only roll my eyes and groan in frustration. There's plenty of publisher-funded AAA generic rubbish with higher production values, my dear indies. Call it unfair but every time you try to kickstart something about throwing fireballs at a great ancient evil in a magical but politically correct world of elves, dwarves and hobbits I wish you fail horribly and most of the time my wish is granted. I didn't hate PoE only because it was a deliberate (and mostly faithful) throwback to the IE games.

    The Indiepocalypse is a crisis of ideas. Some people ignore all the noise and do their own thing and I wish them well. Others are simply frauds who want a piece of the crowdfunding pie for nothing and they really need to GTFO.
     
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  20. LeStryfe79 Deal Breaker Patron

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    Great article. Thread is completely useless tho. Only bad posts until this one.
     
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  21. gaussgunner Arcane

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    I've seen this before... yup, 2 years ago on Vogel's blog. There was a brief window of easy appstore & kickstarter money for a few dozen lucky indies. What's happening now isn't Indiepocalypse, it's return to normal. Indie game developer is just another word for starving artist. Unless you get lucky, you don't quit your day job.

    I have 3-4 games in the pipeline, been working on some of the code & ideas part time since before the indie craze. Now I'm just trying to finish what I started, at least one game, when it's done and ready. If that fails, there's other work I'd rather be doing. Programming ain't what it used to be.

    Roqua's got a good point here:
    That sounds like hypocrisy but you're right. $20 isn't much... but do you spend it on food, booze, music... or a game that's 99% certain to suck? Vogel's games aren't worth it, they're too recycled and crappy looking, and the long play time isn't a positive, it's a waste of my time. Bastard Bonds and SitS aren't worth it. Underrail $15, may be worth it if it's way better than those. AoD is $30, am I paying for a great game or the fucking 3D? If VD thinks he can sell Colony Ship for $30 then recycle it as a $20 tRPG, he's smoking crack. Games used to cost $20-70 for discs, boxes, and distribution. That's gone. Inflation doesn't make up for it; there's a glut of games and a shortage of spending money.

    Hell yeah. Gamergate happened for a reason: it's one big circlejerk... attention whore "developers", gaming "journalists" caught up in social media positivism and being inclooooosive, overly hopeful kickstarter backers leaving glowing reviews on steam, and other players are desperate for games that suck a little less than average so they're leaving positive reviews of shit games too. Steam ratings are like Ebay, anything less than 99.9% positive is basically shit.
     
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  22. Irenaeus Self-Ejected Patron Dumbfuck Repressed Homosexual The Real Fanboy

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    Paying for a great game.
     
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  23. Kev Inkline Arcane Patron

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    A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    I usually think of opportunity cost when buying these games, specifically in terms of foregone consumption of other means of digital entertaintment.

    Say, see two-three movies in the theatre or two months of Netflix instead of getting AoD? It's usually games that win, both in terms of experienced subjective quality of entertainment and its duration.
     
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  24. Fenix Cipher Vatnik

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    I don't even know from what I should start, this is how wrong you and your statements are.

    Self correcting ability? This sounds like magic, sounds like everything that is science or scientific is correct, or if wrong theories come, some science magic immediately correct all erroneous theories.
    There are literary hundreds, if not thousands books about what the science is, what the scientific methodology is, but you are talking this like "science=true" is set in stone.
    For example, I have read about book (and even have read it a little), where the author argues\proves that science is widely exposed to any and every social beliefs, because "science" is an abstraction, the real science consist from real people living in real world, it is social institute, which is very conservative (in some article I have read about research that show that science is on the third place in terms of conservatism among medicine and army, maybe it was about Russia but but nonetheless).
    When you write that
    you are wrong, because it is not a science had this ability - remember Giordano Bruno and AGES of such "science", it is society that has this ability.
    Therefore science has no such ability, it is a reality of society.
    Sadly I realize I don't remember actual name of the author, only title, which is "Methodology of science", and I vaguely remember his name - something like Kant (but obviously not), or Kantor, something like that, and it is author of middle of 20 century, or 70s.
    If someone know who is this I whould be glad if you tell me. Looks lik I deleted link on a book because it was too complicated, it wasn't pop science book.

    "Current theories of the age we live in" is a shit man.
    Example of which is acceptance of homosexuality as sexual orientation, and all terms included "sexual orientation".
    Next step, whach is actually was made in 2014 was try to assept pedophilia as the same "sexual orientation"

    "You really believe that any "do your own research sheepie" guy would actually go after the theory that science got wrong, not the theory he finds uncomfortable?"
    You see, when argumentation falls down to pseudo-psychology, which is a common trick in West, it shows that someone have zero argumentations.
    It is the same as if when Chernobyl nuclear power plant went into a dangerous mode and someone expressed concerns about this, instead he heard "you were sleeping in bed with mom to 10 years?".
     
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  25. Fenix Cipher Vatnik

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    Well, how many you have paid for your iPhone lol?
    Your crappy plastic car? You cheap house?
    The truth is that due automatisation, robotisation and other processes in science and economy, economical outcome\effect per person is continuously decreases.
    As a result - all the more acute is the question of how to reduce, roughly speaking, the real costs of population content, while not dropping the demand, the economy volumes, etc.
    Quite logical answer - as far as possible to virtualize the cost of living, which mean to make so that the average citizen of a developed country was convinced that his cheap accommodation, plastic car and dollar-cost smartphone with cheap food is really something expensive, advanced and valuable and really cost a lot, and have paid for all these overrated products and services money received for the same work overrated waiter dog-washer, shopping consultant.

    And games are part of this, they can not be cheap because everything around is not cheap.
     
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