Setting yourself up for success.
How to Start
Developing Your First Game
Pick a genre you are comfortable with, so you intuitively know what themes should go well with it. Obviously Action goes well with Military, RPG goes well with Fantasy. Some of them are obvious but you wont be successful making the same handful of games over and over. This should help you know where your slider should be too.
Sort themes by trending, and try to pick the most popular Theme that matches your genre. Pick one that has a positive number in blue next to it, so you know its trending upward. Name it whatever you like, the naming doesn’t matter. and lets start making history.
After you’ve started your first game, picked your beginning sliders, as a general rule its best to talk to the press on the start of the development phase(2nd phase.) Hype right now isnt going to matter much because you have no fans, but that will change very quickly.
As soon as the game is finished, you want to release it. Set the price to 1$, the cheapest possible. As soon as you the game is released, you will click the on the drop down menu on the sales report, to the right of your screen. Click ‘make a discount’ and discount the game 95% for 6 months. This will ensure two things; 1) You will not make any money from the game, and 2) You will gain the most amount of fans possible.
Now if your game is bad, you wont gain many fans, so lets go the create menu and click game history. Especially note any slider in red, as that means you were way off, possible 20 points or more I think. Blue sliders are within 5 or perfect, and black is within 10. These are my estimates, I dont know the true numbers, but that should give you an idea how far to move your sliders on your second game.
Second, Third and Fourth Game
You should be starting your second game immediately after the first. Before you set your sliders, click on the Question Mark on the bottom right, by the next button. this will tell you all past game history, and let you know how far you should be adjusting your sliders. I didn’t mention earlier, but try to get the needle in the Direct Center, as best you can.
Same as the first game, release for 1$, immediately discount it for 95%
Start your third game immediately, and repeat all the steps from the second. You should still be on the Ulysse system. Do no bother with any contracts, game engine development. The point of this phase is to build up as many fans as possible to boost future sales. Your character isnt good enough to make a truly quality game yet anyways, so its good to cut some teeth making some not so great games while building fans and figuring out game sliders.
before starting the fourth game, send your character on a vacation, his energy should be near zero. As soon his vacation, begin your fourth game and repeat the same process, only this time make sure you add password based saves on the development screen(2nd phase).
Fifth Game/Changing Consoles
For the fifth and sixth game we are finally leaving the Ulysse behind. you should be in 1977, and Grey TV will be released in June. this is our new console. Yes the Wattagi has a larger market share, and will come out soon, but we are sticking with GreyTV. It allows us to improve our relationship with Grantendo, which will be important in the future.
On your first game with GreyTV, you have 4 Computing capabilities, make sure to check Basic Dialog and Password Based Saves.
After creating your games on GreyTV, immediately port them to Wattagi. Its very quick, and boosts sales.
For the seventh game, you can pick a new Genre, which I recommend. your team will do better working on genres it isn’t tired of, and it allows you more flexibility with what themes are more popular.
Around this time Bankruptcy is possible.take out the maximum loan and just keep doing what you are doing.
Finally, Lets Make Some Money
Eventually, you should have close to 5k Fans, (or more if youve been making quality games and giving them away) and be comfortable in at least 2-3 genres of game design. Now lets make some money.
If you are not near, October 1982, switch to Wattagi, If you are before the release of GES, sell on GreyTV. When GES comes out, try and negotiate a reasonable contract. I typically agree to a 48 month exclusive deal, which lower the cost of the license.
Start pumping out your best games, and charge maximum price. As soon as sales dip, put them on sale for 20%. When they dip too low again, do 50% for a few months. When the sales dry up sell them on a 95% discount.
If you get a game with a score of 90 or better, put a couple of months of magazine ads into it to boost sales.
Once you make 500K, add a desk to your home office, and hire the best person with a salary under 3k. I usually aim for someone with 40’s in either Development/Polish or 40’s in Design. Keep the salary low. Dont be afraid to wait, you will get new candidates every month. Two people is all you will need to make top quality indie games.
Go Your Own Way
You are now at the end of the Indie Phase. You have thousands of fans, and intimate knowledge of several genres. The only way you will fail now is if you expand too fast.
- A couple of things to remember going forward. Dont expand too fast. Dont start making Big games until you have a few successful Normal games under your belt.
- Contracts are largely a waste of time unless you are waiting for console releases. They will gave you a little knowledge on genres you dont know, but not very much. It would take year of contracts to tell you what you can know from just making a few indie games with a small studio.
- Its ok to have several different smaller studios. Some can work on updates, some on game engines, smaller ones can work on Indie Games to learn about new genres. They can always all work together on big releases.
- Renting offices is better than buying or building. Keep the rent as low as you can get. You could never need more than 600 feet of space. That is enough to hold 100 employees(enough for a AAA game.) You can find a 600 foot office for around 30K a month.
- I never make game engines until around 1990. That is a few years before the Skylight 3.1 comes out, which has very good computing and graphic capabilities, and a pretty good market share. Upgrade to the different skylights as they come out.
I think that covers most of it. This is my strategy that seems to work every time.