Industry veterans Rick Davidson & Tim Ruswick are joined by Todd D’Arcy, founder of Stutter Fox Games and Developer of in-demand indie game Falling Frontier.
Todd’s game has gained a lot of interest, most noticeably from IGN who recently shared a trailer for the game. In this devology livecast, Rick Davidson & Tim Ruswick* talk to Todd about his experiences making an indie game dev as a solo dev.
(*Rick has more than 14 years experience in the game dev industry, working on IP's that include Mario, Transformers, Captain America and Mortal Kombat. He's done it all, from Game Designer, Producer, Creative Director and Executive Producer to GameDev.tv's very own Instructor extraordinaire. Tim Ruswick is a successful YouTuber and indie dev, who's created more than 30 games in the last 5 years (wow!), and joined GameDev.tv as our marketing monster).
Listen to the whole chat here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HuHYOGlZzU
Our 'AHA' moments
- FallING Frontier, not FallEN Frontier 😂
- Try not to build your own game engine
- Make sure any licences you acquire allow for commercial use, if you plan to sell your game
- Make use of free commercial assets to speed up your workflow
- Find the fastest way to fail, this will allow you to learn from your mistakes sooner
- Don’t take criticism of your game personally
- Games are the largest entertainment industry in the world
- Falling Frontier won most anticipated Indie Game of 2021 at E3
How To Get Player Feedback (23:33 - 27:27)
Getting player feedback for your gaming projects is critical as this will help you improve the game and iron out any bugs. The best way to start getting valuable feedback is to ask friends and family. Provide them with videos and playable demos and tell them you’d like them to understand how the game works and to identify bugs, rather than how they think it should work.
You can then expand your player testing into places like a Discord group to gather wider feedback and constructive criticism. Make sure you are open to constructive criticism and don’t allow it to discourage you. If you feel it makes a good point, constructive criticism can make your game much better than you anticipated.
Ways To Support Yourself While Making A Game and Working with Publishers (27:28 - 52:16)
There is no right or wrong way to support yourself while making a game, a lot of it depends on your circumstances and the long term knock-on effects it may have.
Some helpful suggestions are crowdsourcing, such as Kickstarter or a Patreon page. This may not be for everyone as you will be asking people to fund your project before you have properly started developing the game. If the idea is strong and people buy into the project they may be happy to help contribute to your costs for the project.
Savings is another way to fund your project and support yourself. This is more of a long term plan, you’ll need to make sure you have enough savings to cover you for the duration of your project and you need to make sure it does not affect the lifestyle and relationships of those close to you in your life.
If your game is gathering enough traction you may be approached by publishers who want to help fund you and your game, although this comes at a cost as they will expect a percentage of any future earnings made from the game. Watch the video at the timestamp above as Todd explains in great detail the pros and cons of working with different publishers.
Advice For People Looking To Make Their First Game (1:34:50 - 1:37:22)
One of the main things people are worried about is imposter syndrome and being scared they won’t be able to make the game they desire. Our and Todd’s advice is to just do it! You will fail at times, failing is a good way to learn and in the long run, you will learn more because of it. Even if you don’t think you are able to do something, just keep doing it over and over again as best you can.
In time you will learn better ways of doing things which may help you refactor and optimise your game. Big projects can sometimes lead to project fatigue where you just don’t feel like doing it. Carry on through the tougher times because the reward will far outweigh these moments.
We hope Todd’s experience and progress help inspire you in your game dev journey, just remember to put all of your efforts into your project and never give up.
Follow Todd on social media and check out Falling Frontier
Remember, we host live develogy livecasts every Tuesday at 10pm BST over on our Discord server. You can catch all the recordings, including this episode, in the Devology Livecast course - it's free to join and our YouTube Channel.
Until next time, happy dev'ing!