My short bio: Hello everyone, I'm a games developer that has gone all out, quit his job and taken a big risk in order to create our first gaming title and take our shot at gaming glory. We are actually a team of two of which I'm the designer, developer and business side (not by choice), and my partner is the quality assurance and UX engineer. We have gone through the process of greenlighting our title, talking to different stores and gaining funds for our game as well as taking it to the next level and bringing it to consoles.

If you're interested in our story, how we've been successful and how where we could have done better, just ask away. I'll be answering as much as I can for the next 24 hours.

My Proof:

So proof, that's pretty easy, this is our game and we've been out in the wild for almost a month now. We've participated in the London EGX Rezzed event where it was quite an interesting experience.

Edit: proof it really is us

Further proof that it's really us

EDIT 2: You guys are awesome, thank you very much for all of your questions it's amazing to reply to you all. My partner in life and in crime /u/trisypunk will now help me answer your questions. She is the person who made sure that the title is high quality and not a bug-infested mess, as well as easy to understand and usable.

Edit 3: sorry its taking a little while for us to get to your questions but the size of this thread... we really were not expecting you guys to like it so much! Keep the questions comming we promisse to answer all of them even if it takes us all damn week!

FINAL EDIT:

Thanks guys for all the questions! This was a lot of fun but we've been doing this for 9 hours now and we're tired. We're going to stop answering questions for now but be sure we'll continue to answer all new questions when we wake up tomorrow morning. It's 22:34 here so night night and again, thank you!

Comments: 631 • Responses: 67  • Date: 

lantanadan134 karma

Howdy fellow dev! I guess the obvious question is, what would your post-mortem on this current release of the game be? IE what went right, what went wrong, and what needs improvement?

taranasus282 karma

What went right:

  • Development is not as hard as you'd expect, nor is it as much of a hassle as it used to be. Technically-wise there is an insane amount of information out there on how to create a quality title, with a lot of devs sharing their story from the technical side.
  • Photo-realism as a requirement is a myth. You can impress in so many different ways using even old school graphics as every 8-bit platform developer can tell you. However we went down the route of vector graphics and people really seem to enjoy the art style
  • Don't be affraid to ask for stuff. You want to make a PSVR title, tweet Sony and ask them, it's really that simple. However if you do choose to do so and they reply to you, be ready to show them something high quality to back up your claims. These companies won't through opportunity at you just for asking.
  • Engage your audience. So many companies don't do this and it's costing them a lot. Be kind to your supporters, learn to say thank you in public. They'll appreciate you more if you treat them like humans and not money bags. Also be kind to your critiques! A lot of them are just wanting to help, and for the ones that are just trolling you? Remember this "DON'T FEED THE TROLL". Nobody will judge you for not replying to a comment along the lines of: "Your game sucks, go get a job". It's not constructive, it's not useful to you or anyone else, just ignore it.

What went wrong:

  • Our launch, jesus christ were we misinformed. So in my team there are two people and none of us have the vaguest idea on how to market and promote. We went in thinking "it's fine, we have a quality product and people will like it and promote it for us"... ha ha ha... ha.... no. Prepare yourself as making a game is maybe 30% of the battle, after you've actually developed it the really hard part begins, showing it to people. Due to the high amount of games coming out and a lot of them with publisher backing, even indies, you will have to shout as loud as you can to get noticed. Which leads me into my next point
  • Start promoting early. Literally when you have your first screenshot of it working and looking good-ish, make twitter/facebook pages and start showing off to people, the more they like you and your game early on, the more they'll be willing to help. We did not do this and we're struggling to get noticed.

Where we're improving:

  • So while the launch was pretty much a disaster it's not the end of the world. Steam has some tools for re-marketing your game once its launched that are free, but you better darn well don't do the same mistake again. Now that we have a slight following we can hopefully gain enough attention to boost up the exposure on steam.

  • Get a booth at gaming events. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Not only do people get to try out your game but you can talk to a lot of people in the industry and gain ideas and information on what to do next to better your game in all aspects. Literally just Mingle and be kind an polite.

Also, thanks for asking, we really appreciate it!

FormerGameDev87 karma

I don't have a question, just wanted to say congratulations. You're on your way to Doing It Right, IMO.

taranasus43 karma

Thank you that's very nice of you to say and we deeply appreciate it. We hope we're getting there :D

Bored_White_Kid12 karma

There's a few good talks out there about how to catch the attention of big name youtube streamers and the healthy impact that has on marketing boosts. Have you guys tries that at all?

Edit: took out the easy

taranasus32 karma

Yes, and I can tell you that it's nowhere near that easy.

So far we've sent out our game as free keys to around 400 different youtubers and streamers. Think about that, that's 400 keys given for free. We've at most had a 10% return rate on that investment. Why? Because big youtubers don't do this only for fun, they do it for money. They will look at my game and even say something along the lines of "Hey this game looks really need but how will it benefit me if I do a video on it? I'll wait a while to see how the smaller guys get on and if it causes enough racket I'll get on the train then". These guys are busy and get bombarded by dozens of guys like me every day, so it's hard to actually get noticed regardless of how presentable your email to them is.

Then it's definitely not a guarantee even if they do cover you. Check out this article from gamasutra. IIRC this game was covered by TotalBiscuit and JackSepticEye and helped them with next to nothing. Such is the way of this industry, there are no guaranties.

MillerTimeGames35 karma

Hey

Im a mid sized streamer on twitch. Partnered etc. Id be willing to broadcast your game to my audience if you are interested.

MillerTimeGames

taranasus13 karma

I've PM'ed you to discuss ;)

leetdood_shadowban8 karma

That article is basically why I don't develop phone apps/games even though people tell me to. I tell them, I can spend 4 months developing a game only to have nobody buy it and then Zynga steals my idea and makes 500 million off it 5 months later. Because they have a market presence and a solid development team and I'm just one guy who can't reach anybody even if I make a good game. Like that guy said, even a good game won't be good enough if it isn't magical.

taranasus20 karma

500 million off it 5 months later

You're awfully optimistic, try 2 months later :))

gufcfan0 karma

Start promoting early. Literally when you have your first screenshot of it working and looking good-ish, make twitter/facebook pages and start showing off to people, the more they like you and your game early on, the more they'll be willing to help. We did not do this and we're struggling to get noticed.

THIS.

There is a small developer making a game currently and it's a huge project. I know there are very busy and they do make an effort to go to some games shows and things, but they practically ignore social media. It's not that they are not aware of it or anything. I think they could have a decent market for themselves, but it's quite niche. They needed to start promoting it before they even started working on it!

taranasus2 karma

Don't get me wrong, we did the same mistake. It's not a complete loss but it's demoralizing as hell to launch a game and nobody there to care... Promoting is a big part of it and we, with our thick heads think that people will by the game because "It's the best game eva'". Maybe it is but I need to know of it's existance in order to play it. A very harsh lesson that most of us will learn the hard way I'm afraid.

tonisbones113 karma

I've got a few questions:

  • What engine did you use for this?

  • What tools did you use for the art?

  • Do you have any advice for someone who wants to quit their job and do their own projects?

  • Were you unhappy before this project? How do you feel now?

taranasus203 karma

I have a few answers as well :P

What engine did you use for this?

Unity 3D, currently on version 5.3.4p2. Waiting for 5.4 to be released

What tools did you use for the art?

Blender for 3D modeling. It's awkward as hell to learn, but that's a small drawback compared to the things it can do... It's just amazing. AND FREE

Paint.net for image editing. I didn't need to do anything too crazy when it comes to texturing so something lightweight and simple was awesome for the task. Through a plug-in it also opens PSD files and again, free as free can be.

If you need something more complex for image editing, GIMP which is also free but quite a challenge to master and can be clunky at times.

AudaCity is awesome for sound editing and again free as free can be

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to quit their job and do their own projects?

Quite a bit of advice:

  1. Make sure you have enough money to carry you through. Be it self-funding or a loan or a publisher or a kickstarter make sure you have enough. The more you need to worry about financing the less you can worry about making a quality game

  2. Start promoting early. I've said this before in here somewhere but as soon as you have a screenshot that can be shown, create the necessary social media accounts and show to people your progress. "But I wanna make games"... yeah me too bud, but people need to know of them, like them and buy them in order for you to make more games. The actual making of the game is maybe 30% of what it is to be indie.

  3. Be polite, kind and responsive to your fans and critiques. Most people are good, and very very few are assholes, but the ones in the second category are extremely loud. Say thank you to those that have shown kindness, say thank you to those that have provided constructive criticism and don't say anything to the trolls, all they want to do is make you angry.

  4. Criticism hurts like hell... you won't even realize how hard it can hit you sometimes. When it makes you angry, don't say anything, just walk away for 30 minutes, calm down and with a clear mind come back and read it again. Sometimes it will be right and you'll agree with it even though your initial reaction was "this guy has no idea what he's saying".

Were you unhappy before this project? How do you feel now?

Unhappy... no Can't say I was. Maybe a little unfulfilled and really annoyed at times. I don't like taking orders that don't make sense and when you're working from someone else you have to do that a lot, especially when going up the corporate ladder.

How do you feel now?

Important... fulfilled... genuinely happy. I'm actually doing what I've always wanted and it's starting to work and catching some momentum. It's one of those cases where the journey is so much more interesting than the destination. I get to talk to other developers and learn from them, I get to talk to big corporations about all sorts of business plans, I set my own schedule. It doesn't feel like a job anymore, it doesn't feel like a hobby either, it sort of transcends both and it feels real. Everything I do has a consequence and it's amazing, I feel like what I do matters!

Not gonna lie, initially I got into it because I just wanted to make games, but what I found is soo much more rewarding as an individual. Yes it has it's moments of utter depression, when something fails, doesn't go according to plan or you get written off as a nobody, but it's just part of the package. High risk, high rewards, and feels really freaking real!

Illiniath30 karma

How did you learn blender? I've tried a few times, but sifting through a tutorial series for relevant info is always an effort in frustration.

taranasus47 karma

It's truly an effort in frustration. I always scoured tutorial videos of just the exact bit of information I needed for it and just did that same process over and over.

I can't say I know blender, I barely know maybe 0.01% of it. But should you invest the time and effort into actually getting through a tutorial series, the rewards are quite awesome.

shadowfu4 karma

I use blender for video editing and I've found YouTube to be invaluable tool. Favorite tip: play at 1.5 or 2.0x speed to power through some videos that drag along.

taranasus8 karma

I was a uni student once. I'm very aware of fast-paced video playback :D

sinebiryan72 karma

Oh wow. So you were the guys behind of this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yxp6-GSX43M

I must say this video puts really cool sight of how game development is going. I have started so many times about game dev tried many engines and softwares but couldn't really done it. That maybe because i'm alone and can't do anything about design one bit.

Can i just ask is it worth the money and time? Also which part really pushed you hard? Design? Management? Business?

Also TIL there is a job called UX engineer.

taranasus71 karma

Oh wow. So you were the guys behind of this video.

Yup! Hi! We like Reddit a lot and spend most of our time here. It's pretty much the best way to learn about anything random of any kind (news, how to, tutorial, etc), or procrastinate and look at cats... Knowledge is power!

That maybe because i'm alone and can't do anything about design one bit.

I'll tell you a secret, neither can I. My "design skills" came out of necessity. I just picked something simple and ran with it. Trial and error until I got something I liked, aka mimicking vector graphics. If you'd put me to model anything photo-realistic i'd be combing google on "photo-realistic modeling beginner guide". There's no such thing as talent, it's just experience and practice, ask any artist and they'll tell you the same.

Can i just ask is it worth the money and time?

It's about as worth it as any other business out there really. Similarly it's as difficult as any other business out there I suppose. Currently I'm nowhere near showering in expensive cars and eating gold-infused ice cream. Beat up second-hand car, rented apartment, you know average Joe stuff. It has the potential to grow really big, but don't kid yourself that it's going to happen on its own or over-night, it takes a lot of work.

I got in it more because I love gaming and VR specifically, and wanted to take part in the "VR Revolution". I want to succeed to make my ideas and creations come to life, money is just a by-product that comes out of that, a tool and nothing more. To be completely honest with you someone telling me that they like my game is much more rewarding than the income i get from them buying it, but I do need that income to make more games so it's an interesting cycle.

Basically if someone told me "we'll take care of your living expenses and you do what you want with your life" i'd still be doing this because it's what I want to do, so to me it's really worth it.

Also which part really pushed you hard? Design? Management? Business?

Marketing... Advertising... I despise the damn thing. I hate having to go and "Show off". You're basically trying to get people to look at your game and it's probably the most challenging thing of all. You can choose between going through a publisher that does this for you but you loose a huge chunk of your income, or you self-publish which means you have to do the dirty work of asking people to look at your game.

I try to find creative ways of doing it however, fun ways so it's not all like "LOOK AT MY GAME IT'S AWESOME BUY IT NOW!!!!" like the video you linked above. While it is more effort on our part, it's also more rewarding to you guys to actually see something interesting rather than an Add on google.

Also TIL there is a job called UX engineer.

Oh it's one hell of a ride. You know all the companies that make banking apps for your phone and such? That's not the bank hiring developers, the bank hires another company that specializes in making these sort of apps. Those companies have entire teams of people hired as UX Designers, UX Engineers that all day analyse and try and find ways for you, the user, to do what you need to get done faster and with fewer clicks. Or they find ideas to make you spend more money.

I've once sat in a 2 hour UX meeting discussing if the facebook button should have a blue background or not. Saying it like that sounds stupid but after doing what's called an A/B Test we saw that the facebook button with a blue background had a 22% higher click-rate than the one with a white background.

Welcome to 2016 where everything is analyzed to the extreme.

EDIT: I used to be a Web Solutions Architect before this.

sinebiryan10 karma

O.o

Wasn't expecting this your long and great answer. Holy molly! Thank you!

But i must say i'm really surprised. To me the marketing and advertising are the easiest part. Maybe that's because i study "Economics" in my country and have a little knowledge of conducting business. Also i basically have a resist for "Hype Power" .

I've once sat in a 2 hour UX meeting discussing if the facebook button should have a blue background or not. Saying it like that sounds stupid but after doing what's called an A/B Test we saw that the facebook button with a blue background had a 22% higher click-rate than the one with a white background.

Oh so you studied something, you have the at least knowledge for it.

Web Solutions Architect

That is the single coolest job name i've ever heard so far. It's like one job that 3 jobs combined together.

taranasus9 karma

Sounds impressive right? However let me put it in a different perspecive:

"Taranasus we need you to do Project Management, Customer Interfacing and Development at the same time!"

"Hahaha then you better tripple my pay grade and give me a long as title"

"We'll give you a 10% increase and 3 title promotions"

"SOLD!"

Then I decided that was too easy so I went onto making games. I can tell you making games is definitely NOT EASY.

SquirrelUsingPens3 karma

the bank hires another company that specializes in making these sort of apps

Wish those companies knew what they are doing. Most banking apps appear to be a WebView. And the page that's shown within that WebView isn't much better either :(

taranasus3 karma

You'd be surprised. Some of them are getting really good.

Lloyds Banking app in the UK is pretty solid. All it's missing is NFC payment really.

alexblmqvst37 karma

Something that I have always been curious about with game developers. What is it exactly money is being spent on? This is not the first time I have seen/heard of a game developer putting all his life savings into creating a game.

taranasus67 karma

Actually, A VERY GOOD QUESTION! Let me break down our costs so far as that should be a lot more helpful than me spewing bullshit:

  • Unity3D (game engine) license - £3000
  • Mac to test the mac version on - £500
  • Food / Rent/ Living expenses - £1500/month
  • Gaming Event booth (EGX Rezzed) £1000 give or take
  • Oculus Rift DK2 £300
  • Steam Greenlight Tax £70
  • Music for the game £1800

Costs that we'll need to make in the future probably:

  • Age-rating certifications - Heavens knows, a lot!
  • Console hardware - Heavens knows, enough...
  • Different model phones if we decide to do a mobile port - A lot

And it gets a lot worse if you want to hire some PR/Marketing company as well :)

benoliver99933 karma

I'll be that guy - do you have a Linux version on the horizon?

taranasus33 karma

DefinitelyNotDana7 karma

Nice. Instant buy from me.

taranasus4 karma

Sweet! Thank you, you'll get the linux version on the 4th so you can use it on whatever you want.

I was also told that it works really well in WINE so if you have it set up you could give that a shot too.

anthony0000126 karma

how do you combat piracy? how hard is it to draw pixel by pixel frame by frame the animation of your character? which game engine is the best?

taranasus54 karma

how do you combat piracy?

So hard that we don't really bother that much with it. The compromise of having full DRM is too big for a title of this size, it's too big for any title that's not an MMO really. There are sooo many talented individuals out there that can decompile and re-edit your game to circumvent your protections it's probably better invested to just let them be and focus your energy into just making a better game. There is also a hidden "secret" for pirates but I don't want to spoil too much on that. Finally pirated versions can't make use of the upcoming leaderboard feature as the server that hosts the leaderboard does its own validity check that the game submitting the new score is indeed legit by contacting the steam server. You can probably circumvent it by having the game submit the score as a legit steam users that owns the game, but that defeats the purpose as now it's not your score at the top, it's random user X.

how hard is it to draw pixel by pixel frame by frame the animation of your character?

That's probably a question better suited for a 2D game than for us. With 3D models, the rendering is pretty much done automatically based on the object's position in space at the time of drawing. The engine handles the actual rendering, we just need to make sure the information is ready for it when it begins to draw. It's really a question of "how long is a piece of string" but for our title i'm going to say it's relatively easy.

which game engine is the best?

Haha trick question. It depends on the job that you're doing.

Unity 3D is like a hammer, you can pretty much do anything with it BUT it won't be well suited for every job. You can hammer in a screw for example, but it's not the best way to go about it

Unreal is more like a very complex army knife in which you can really catch your ears if you don't know what you're doing. It takes a really long time to master, but doing so will grant you mad programmer skillz.

I unfortunately don't have experience in any other engines, but all of them have their plus and minuses, it really depends on what you want to make and what you already know before starting out.

Shirikatsu14 karma

Honestly it sounded like you just described each game engine's respective language haha

taranasus32 karma

Programmer at heart and it's pretty much the language that makes the engine is it not? I mean I'd love to see a game engine using PHP as a scripting language, that would be hilarious.

ForgedIronMadeIt42 karma

I'd love to see a game engine using PHP as a scripting language

you're a monster

taranasus17 karma

Muhahahahahaha!

torgis306 karma

Which technology did you use to make this game? Which language and/or 3D engine?

taranasus23 karma

Unity 3D engine

C# Language

Visual Studio IDE

Blender 3D modeling

Paint.net Texture editing

Audacity Sound Editing

Samsung Galaxy Edge 6 + sound recording (This is not a joke)

Windows 10 (because it forced me to upgrade -.-)

speedisavirus2 karma

Who would ever...ever want to see that.

taranasus2 karma

I'm a sadist :D

Voltasalt2 karma

Brainfuck?

taranasus6 karma

Hell no man, nobody would use that just because you have to learn Brainfuck first which... WHYYY???? I guess your source code would be really secure though :))

anthony000011 karma

for a big scale games do you hire another company to do anti piracy guard on your game?

taranasus4 karma

We're really not big enough to give a worth-while answer to that. It depends on budget, company size, and internal knowledge and resources. Hiring a different company to do it from a business perspective makes a lot of sense as it delegates most of the responsibility to the contractor. I think the easiest way to go about it is:

Does your game handle micro transactions or anything similar in which you are handling sensitive customer information? If yes, hire a 3rd party and a reputable one at that. Your payment system gets compromised and customer information leaks you could be facing one hell of a law-suit. If not, make your own by either learning how to or hiring an individual that knows how to as it will allow you to adapt to threats and grow your company knowledge.

Shirikatsu13 karma

How experienced in game development were you before you started this project? Also what suddenly made you pull the trigger and leave your job to pursue this?

taranasus22 karma

How experienced in game development were you before you started this project?

Just fooling around in my spare time with some VR Headsets and Unity3D. Then that love just kept growing... rapidly.

Also what suddenly made you pull the trigger and leave your job to pursue this?

Being "asked" to try and keep one of my quitting developers that got paid just a bit over minimum wage by telling them it is an excellent salary while the sales team was going on an all expense paid trip to Hawaii for the kickoff. Instead we spent that meeting joking and then I handed in my notice.

I'm really poor at being a "manager"

GnomishProtozoa12 karma

Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle?

taranasus31 karma

Charmander. Always felt like picking between a hose, a whip and a flame-thrower.

Zardtar11 karma

What stack do you use to develop your game? I assume you have a C# or C++ background.

taranasus10 karma

C# in Unity3D. I love myself a good bit of Garbage Collecting :D

Reynk2 karma

Sorry for bothering thee, but between C# and C++ which do you preffer and why? Why not?

taranasus2 karma

C# Mainly because I want to get to my solutions faster without having to worry about memory management. I've also done C# for a lot longer so I'm naturally more inclined to it.

C++ Is really powerful but I'm a very twitchy and impatient guy so C#'s speed to results works better for me.

Enderdan11 karma

After reading some of the reviews on your steam page it seems like although the game is challenging, nobody finds it too difficult. What kind of time went in to finding that perfect balance between challenging and fun?

taranasus38 karma

You'd be surprised but a lot of this stuff falls into place if you think about what you're doing from the get-go.

The main thing that makes a user frustrated, and consequently a game "too hard" is unresponsive controls and a lack of fairness. Controls should of razor sharp precision, the enemies should not be hidden and if they are, there should be some mechanic that allows the player to combat that problem.

I've played a hell of a lot of games in my time and the thing I enjoy the most is the game responding correctly to my actions. I press left, object goes left, i release left object stops going left, or does so in a very predictable pattern that makes logical sense. If I'm driving a car and pull right, I expect the car to pull right in that very second so i can save myself. If something kills the player in a manor in which he could not have avoided through skill alone, that's a game being "too hard".

The second thing with Void 21 is that it's repeatable. You fucked something up? That's fine, just start that section again and try again, the level is exactly the same and you can remember what you did wrong and counter it.

As long as the user doesn't feel cheated by the game (ruber-banding, hidden obstacles, invisible walls), the rules are set in stone and they get enough chances to fix their mistakes and try again, it will remain enjoyable.

Super Meat boy is another title that applies this perfectly. It's insanely hard, but pressing the buttons at the correct time will always get you through the level and you instantly jump back and try again if you fail. Failure is a natural process of learning and nobody feels bad for failing if they're not punished for just trying to learn and become better.

shongolo7 karma

First of all, congratulations! So, what food and beverage would be your favorite while coding(?) your game? Cheers

trisypunk18 karma

u/taranasus is a organism that transforms Cherry coke and pizza into 01101000 01100101 01101100 01101100 01101111 00100000 01110010 01100101 01100100 01100100 01101001 01110100

taranasus14 karma

^ correct :D

alucard3336 karma

Hey, I remember the release of your game. It was a big hit on several of the subreddits I frequently visit. Congratulations on the release.

What are the main things that you focus on in the game development process?

Have you ever/How do you come to that decision where you are like "I need this title to be a success so I need to invest everything I have into it", in the hope that people will accept the game?

How hard was it to actually differentiate your game from the massive amount of indie gaming titles that are now coming out and also at such a high level?

What advice would you give to anyone who is intending on doing games development full time? In terms of what you need to actually expect.

taranasus13 karma

Hey, I remember the release of your game. It was a big hit on several of the subreddits I frequently visit. Congratulations on the release.

Thank you, we're actually extremely happy people like the game :D

What are the main things that you focus on in the game development process?

Mechanics as programming is my main strength. I wanted the game to be super responsive, super smooth and overall I personally feel that we've achieved this quite well. On my GTX970 it runs at 4K200FPS. Currently working on some minor frame drops that happen due on the fly texture loading and adding a very slight motion blur effect to make it feel even smother. Here's what it looks like with the new motion blur effect on my current dev build. It's almost perfect :X

Have you ever/How do you come to that decision where you are like "I need this title to be a success so I need to invest everything I have into it", in the hope that people will accept the game?

I didn't. My drive was the passion I have for videogames and actually working in the industry and in VR. If this were to fail, I'd just try again later down the line. Investing everything I have into it is actually really easy, It's what I want to do. In my head gaming should be an experience that surpasses every other art form by light years but it won't do that with "Cinematic Experience" and 30fps720p, basically random limitations set by other more established art-forms.

I'm here to try and push boundaries and explore the unknown. Maybe Void 21 doesn't do that fully yet, but one day something I make will. I'm basically doing it because it's what I want to do.

How hard was it to actually differentiate your game from the massive amount of indie gaming titles that are now coming out and also at such a high level?

Hard, and honestly while it does have some interesting aspects to it and pushes some new concepts (like having a runner style game with gun mechanics or bringing back wire-frame graphics) it's still not at the level of uniquness I know I can make. But that will take time as I'm still very green indeed.

Was it hard? Not really... I didn't focus on being unique, I just wanted race the sun with tighter controls in the beginning, then this happened.

What advice would you give to anyone who is intending on doing games development full time? In terms of what you need to actually expect.

As an indie, expect to not do that much development :))

As an employee for a gaming company, especially a big one, expect them to force you into long working hours because they exploit your passion for your work. Yes I know how grim that sounds but do a google search and you'll see what I mean.

As an employee of an indies studio, expect long hours of work in a very friendly and wacky environment filled with nerf guns and trips to the pub.

It's an amazing industry to work in, but it's a very demanding one filled with long hours but high rewards.

Identify your strengths, nourish them, and your weaknesses understand and explore. Understand what each individual part of the game creation process does (Graphics, Modeling, Texturing, Sound music) on a basic level so you can understand their problems as well, it will make you much better at what you do if you can tailor a solution around their needs.

kjdflkas6 karma

So this is pretty much Race the Sun?

taranasus10 karma

Just how Unreal Tournament is pretty much Quake :)

SpankMeDaddy226 karma

I want to develop simple motors kills type games. Such the type like breakout. How could I attempt my start?

taranasus15 karma

Step 1. Learn to code in C# if you don't know how to already

Step 2

Spekular14 karma

Step 1. Learn to code in C# if you don't know how to already

This is totally wrong!!!1!! They should use [insert language] because I personally like it more!

taranasus15 karma

NO! You're Wrong !!!111oneoneeleven They should use [insert language] because [insert engine] uses it and it's much better because I prefer that engine!

Undeadgamr196 karma

Hi, if you were to be directly talking to someone who might buy your game, what would you tell them to really win them over?

trisypunk13 karma

Gold onto this for a second and try not to blink. *hands controller

taranasus12 karma

My partner ladies and gentlemen!

benlloyd505 karma

Not sure whether you are still answering questions or not but if you are, What language would you recommend to someone who is new to programming and would like to make games?

taranasus3 karma

C# for quick and easy to build projects that can turn somewhat complex going forward.

C++ if you want to be a God, but the road to becoming a God is very hard and frustrating :D

Murderous_Waffle4 karma

What is the best course of action to create a game make it your own and get it steam green lit? How many people do you think would be ideal to create a game?

taranasus18 karma

Tough one! It's very dependent on what you want to achieve. My honest answer? Start off by yourself, alone, and see what you can do for yourself.

Pick a tiny tiny tiny project to do (maybe a phone app or a free game if you can spare the time and money) and see what you're good at, what you're bad at and what you can learn to do.

Here's my story in a nutshell and you can use that as kind of a template:

I started off by myself, I knew how to code and some very basic 3D modeling + very basic image processing skills. That was it. However my partner in crime and life used to be a tester at EA and agreed to help me with the polish and testing so that's two more areas covered.

As I started work and things started falling together I realized that hey, games need sound! How do I sound.... GOOGLE HOW DO I SOUND? Oh Audacity to cut sounds, here's a small video tutorial on how to use it... alright then but now i need sound files... Google ho... oh there are free sound samples out there, and a tool to make 8bit sounds for free. Cool let's play around with those.

But then I needed music! Music is important, as it keeps you game-flow going. Learning to do music wasn't gonna happen, it's not a simple thing to do it's an art in it of itself. This is where it becomes important to have contacts. Through a friend he linked me to a guy that did music for one of his game, and a couple of thousand euros later we had a sound track.

The point I'm trying to make is that there's no secret formula. You're not like me, I'm not like Notch, everyone is different and different things will work for different people. You need to kind of dive in head first, identify your strengths and weakness and then try and find methods to fill in the weaknesses.

So plan of action (as I see it anyway, feel free to adapt to your needs)

  1. Pick small project to see what you can do
  2. Identify based off of the project what you can do, what you can't do and who to contact to help you on the cant's
  3. Do second project with what you've learned and the people you've met
  4. Profit

and get it steam green lit?

Make sure it's decent quality and start growing your social accounts early. Facebook, twitter and youtube (and even reddit ;) ) and show off your game. Every time you have a new screeenshot, video, whatever post it on your social channels so people get interested and start subscribing. This way when you hit green light you have an establish fan-base that will vote for you to pass it quickly.

That being said, I passed greenlight in 11 days without doing what I've said above and without reaching the top 100 games on green light in order to be accepted. To this day I don't know why that happened, I'm just happy it did.

Murderous_Waffle3 karma

Thank you so much for the reply. I will take everything into account that you said! It's also good that I have been planning on making an android game to see if I can do it! Will be starting that up soon!

taranasus4 karma

Best of luck! It will be frustrating as hell at times, but man is it fun! And man is it worth it!

parasocks3 karma

Very cool! We've been working on a marketplace website for all kinds of digital products. Games, music, movies, illustrations, comics, etc. Anything that can be downloaded. Can we help you sell your game in our store? Site is https://www.sliider.com

Basically the main feature at our site is you can put your game on sale whenever you want in fun and interesting ways. I think we have 6 different types of sales you can run, instead of just the traditional discount that most other sites offer.

Also if you promote the sale, we only charge 5% and we pay the fees on those sales. So you get 95% of the sale price in full. If the customer comes from our marketplace, we charge 30%, same as most other sites.

taranasus4 karma

Thanks for reaching out! How exactly does your website work for selling games, do you re-sell steam keys? Do you sell the game as a DRM-Free copy?

duckst0ry3 karma

Hi, Thanks for the AMA. Will be happy if you can answer all my questions in my HUGE LIST!

  1. How old are you and what inspired you to make games?
  2. How long have you been programming in Unity?
  3. What exactly does a quality assurance and UX guy do? From the description it seems you are doing everything from business to developing the game.
  4. How long did it take to develop this game?
  5. On which platforms will this game be released?
  6. What are some mistakes you would not do if you were given the opportunity to go back in time?
  7. The gaming market is pretty saturated, So what are your long term plans?

I like the art style. Reminds me of the movie tron. And GJ on releasing the game. HUGE! One day, I want to do what you're doing as well!

taranasus3 karma

DAAAIUM that list is huuuuge! Let's some fun :D

How old are you and what inspired you to make games?

I've been playing games since I was 3. That's 23 years of playing and at some point 2-3 years ago VR hit... I was so captivated about the possibilities that I wanted to make my own worlds. Here's the start towards fulfilling that dream!

How long have you been programming in Unity?

2 years now I think

What exactly does a quality assurance and UX guy do? From the description it seems you are doing everything from business to developing the game.

Hahaha these guys are like the hidden warriors behind the quality of your product. They will tell you when a menu is too confusing and will suggest how to make it not confusing and easier to use, they will point out the small yet very annoying things and force you to fix them. I am the guy wielding a hatchet and I can make an ugly log cabin with that hatchet, but then the UX and QA guys come in and help me make it a pretty cabin that's cozy and hommy and such. When you work on something for a long time, you become used to its small problems that you don't notice them and then you ship a buggy and unrefined game. User Experience is what makes that unrefined game into something that puts a smile on your face and makes it FEEL RIGHT.

How long did it take to develop this game?

Dude, it's in the title :))

On which platforms will this game be released?

It's out on Steam for Windows. Linux and Mac joining the fight on the 4th of next month and we're looking at PS4 XB1 and PSVR over the next few months (hopefully)

What are some mistakes you would not do if you were given the opportunity to go back in time?

Promote earlier! Like the very second I had an ugly screenshot, PROMOTE THAT! It's really hard and time-consuming to create a fan-base.

The gaming market is pretty saturated, So what are your long term plans?

Saturated? My friend but this is just the beginning! The gaming market is about to explode in the world of VR. There are plenty of things left unexplored. Go to a games convention and walk through the indie section, you'll be floored at how many unique and interesting games are being made right now.

I like the art style. Reminds me of the movie tron. And GJ on releasing the game. HUGE! One day, I want to do what you're doing as well!

Best of luck. We find it to be really fun, rewarding and exciting to make games. It's one hell of a thing to do in life :)

Meracoid2 karma

What would you say would have been the hardest part of your development? What did you do to overcome this?

taranasus5 karma

Accepting criticism, not getting discouraged by it and fixing or adding what was suggested. Seriously it hurts like you wouldn't believe.

What did you do to overcome this?

I have a very very very very supportive girlfriend. No man is an island.

pveoq5 karma

Except the Isle of Man.

taranasus3 karma

Upvote for hilarious pun! (or dad joke, or both!)

montematico2 karma

What are the advantages/disadvantages of using your own game engine instead of a different one like unity?

taranasus2 karma

Advantages: It does what you want, exactly the way you want it. It's as good as you make it, or as bad as you make it and you'll never have to wait for the creators of the game engine to fix a bug so that you can release the game. Your engine your rules

Disadvantages: it takes for bloody ever to make one and it's extremely difficult. But you will have a much deeper understanding of game development by the end of it.

If you're making a small game, it's usually not worth the effort of trying to make a whole engine for it.

Shihab_82 karma

Hey there fellow dev, congratulations on the brilliant game! I just wanted to ask how you went about promoting the game and getting users onboard? Because surely that must have been hard and quite difficult to generate hype for something that you were devoting so much time and effort to?

taranasus4 karma

Howdy, thank you for your wishes!

So here's a quick summary on how to promote your game. We didn't do that good of a job ourselves initially but we've learn a lot and doing a lot better now:

  1. Start early. Seriously, like "this is a cube on a plane" early. If the screenshot is good enough to show to your close friends, it's good enough for the internet. Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Reddit start as early as you can so people know who you are when you launch

  2. Reply to all of your comments and feedback. Say thank you to everyone, even the critiques. Be polite, kind and just ignore the trolls. "Your game is awesome!" "Thank you" "Your game is meh, it'd be better if it had this thing tho" "Oh wow, good idea, thank you. I'll look and see how I could do that and if it'd work well" "Your game sucks 1/10 IGN" Don't say a god damn thing. They are just trolls with nothing constructive to say, DO NOT ENGAGE

  3. Ask for help! /r/gamedev are awesome, /r/Unity3d are awesome. They will try and help you as long as you've done your googling before hand.

  4. Before launch sign up to http://keymailer.co and start sending your keys out to youtubers and twitch streamers. If they like your game they will help you promote it but be prepared for a very very very low response rate

  5. Keep working on your title after release, get it on as many stores as you can if you're doing pc

  6. Want to do a console port? Literally just ask. I would like to bring Void 21 to the PSVR so I went on the /r/PSVR subreddit and asked "Who at Sony can I contact to talk about this". Got a twitter account, then got an email exchange and the rest is now on-going.

Hope that helps :)

taranasus3 karma

Nope. Have only seen it well into the development cycle when someone else pointed it out. Our main inspiration was Race the Sun.

oopoe1 karma

I love the visuals of the game. The colour schemes look fantastic. Did you draw much inspiration from the WipeOut series in terms of gameplay?

taranasus2 karma

Thanks :D I drew my inspiration from Race the Sun and Distance mechanically-wise. But I'm sure somehow we all go back to WipeOut :P

TheQuantumZero1 karma

Any comments/suggestions for a new Indie game dev?

Sordrado1 karma

Hi! As a first year Games Design student I'd like to ask you a few questions.

Did you find it hard to get into the industry/gain support? Do you have any previous kind of experience in software development or design?

What do you think of courses that are dedicated to game design/development?

Good luck with launching the game, I look forward to seeing how it progresses :) and thanks for doing this AMA

taranasus2 karma

Hello Student! Hope your course is going awesome :D

Did you find it hard to get into the industry/gain support?

Nope, most people are really kind and helpful, at least the ones I've met. You really just need to ask for most things and you'll get them. /r/gamedev and /r/unity3d are awesome places to get advice and feedback.

Can't really speak for how it is to get hired as a gamedev by another company. I tried with only one studio and they never replied to me so that was a bit of a downer. Oh well you win some you loose some.

Do you have any previous kind of experience in software development or design?

Yep. I've been coding for 12 years now (since I was 14). I've worked as a web developer and then as a solutions architect. I'm quite versed in a lot of a languages but coding skills are not what make a good game dev. They certainly help but you can do so much more with some basic modeling, sound engineering and image editing skills.

What do you think of courses that are dedicated to game design/development?

I'm sure they are very useful technically and they may even provide some insight on how to start your own software house business but I doubt they can keep up and prepare you for this ever-evolving market. They're definitely a good starting point, but be prepared to brutally discovered that you maybe know just 10% more than the guy that didn't do the course. Then again I never did a degree in game dev so I may be extremely wrong.

Good luck with launching the game, I look forward to seeing how it progresses :) and thanks for doing this AMA

It's already out :P And thanks for your kind words. AMA's are really a lot of fun :D

SirLordBoss1 karma

Hi! Reading these stories really inspire me! Great work so far!

I'd like to ask, what were your qualiffications before you took this on? Did you have any experience in programming, marketing, etc?

Finally, how would you advise a complete newbie to go about doing what you did? What advice would you give yourselves if you were to start again from scratch?

taranasus2 karma

Hello :D

Reading these stories really inspire me! Great work so far!

Thank you. I'm really glad to help inspire you and everyone else reading this. Thanks for your kind words

I'd like to ask, what were your qualiffications before you took this on? Did you have any experience in programming, marketing, etc?

I've done a degree in Information and Communication technologies which teaches you a bit of everything when it comes to computing (Programming, Web Dev, Networking) but nothing gamedev related

I've been coding for 12 years now out of passion and work :P It's what I do best.

Other than that, I'm all green and "Unqualified".

Finally, how would you advise a complete newbie to go about doing what you did? What advice would you give yourselves if you were to start again from scratch?

I'd tell myself this, this and this.

Hope that helps!

aheadwarp91 karma

As someone interested in getting into the games industry... What advice would you give me?

As a follow-up, I can definitely see the appeal of working on a small indie title even though I have never worked in games yet... How hard do you think it would be to get a gig like that with no prior experience? Also, did you work in games before you started this project? If so, for how long?

taranasus2 karma

Advice here, here and here

How hard do you think it would be to get a gig like that with no prior experience?

Follow a beginner course on udemy or something similar in your engine of choice. Once you're past that, make yourself a pet project, doesn't have to be anything complex, that you can finish to see how a game actually grows from 0 to something.

Congratulations you're a games developer!

How hard do you think it would be to get a gig like that with no prior experience?

If you're going solo to create a game yourself and sell yourself? Not hard at all as there's no interview process :P To work for another company however they're going to want to see a portfolio so you need to either make some spare time pet projects or go for option one first.

Also, did you work in games before you started this project? If so, for how long?

Nope, I was a web solutions architect before this. Telling customers how they absolutely cannot live without whatever we were selling from a technological point of view.

I was doing game development (more like fulling around with game dev in my spare time making random mini-games) for 1 year prior to deciding to do this.

BradellsW1 karma

If given all the time and resources in the world what would you change if anything?

taranasus4 karma

  • Employ some key people I know to help me and make the game a lot better.

  • Get some proper artists working on the sound of it and not me with a cell phone microphone and Audacity.

  • Promote it more to begin with from the early stages of development

  • Add more complex enemies and some interesting bossfights

  • Make it work on VIVE from the start

  • Take it to PAX

There's so much we could do with unlimited resources and time we'd be here forever listing it out.

FisheryIPO1 karma

I feel like you've got some serious nostalgia for virtual boy or darwinia going on.... any truth to that?

taranasus3 karma

BRING BACK VECTOR GRAPHICS GOD DAMN IT THEY WERE COOL!

I wanted to capture a long-lost artform. Technology has reached a point where it's so good that we're focusing on recreating the bad one that used to exist out of necessity. I miss you Elite </3

Rocklemixi1 karma

Do you have any plans to port your game to the Gear VR or any other portable devices?

taranasus2 karma

Sorry to say but no immediate plans

offenator1 karma

Are you planning to stay with the same type of game for future work?

taranasus2 karma

Noooo, heavens noo what would be the fun in that? I would love to eventually make a VR MMORPG. I don't care how many critiques said Sword Art Online was bad, I enjoyed it and it needs to be a reality! Apart from the perma-death thing, that's a little extreme.

TempleOfMe1 karma

Hey there, congrats on the game release! Hope this AMA gets you some good publicity.

My question is about financing. You've talked about it being important to have the money to carry through the project, which makes sense. I imagine the salary of two people was a big expense in your case but beyond that, what were you spending money on?

The reason I ask is that I'll be travelling by bicycle for a few months and I've been thinking of stuff to do in the tent at night. I'd been thinking about writing and/or trying to try my hand at basic game dev stuff, and this AMA seemed a good place to ask a question :)

taranasus1 karma

If you're just making a pet project for yourslef, there's nothing much you need to spend money on. Most game engines are now free for personal use and all the tools you need are usually free as well.

Going commercial is the culprit that demands money. See this answer.

Best of luck with your cycling tour and coding!

Skardiazo1 karma

First of all, congratulations on your release. By looking at the pictures, this looks like a game I can dig.

I just have one question:

I love gaming and would like to develop a game of my own. I don't know what type of game it will be but I know I want to make one.

What would be your advice for a total newbie that wants to get into game design/development?

taranasus5 karma

Hello and thank you :D Try the demo see if you likes.

What would be your advice for a total newbie that wants to get into game design/development?

Advice here, here and here

Appart from that, don't use your BEST, ULTIMATE game idea as your first project. That's like giving your awesome idea to an inexperienced developer and then being shocked it didn't turn out the way you wanted or at the level you wanted it, even if that developer is you.

Start of with some tutorials in your proffered game engine and learn how to use it. Then make at least 1 pet project from start to finish, something simple. It could be a break-out clone, it could be a something unique but keep it simple.

And then get to work on something you'd feel comfortable releasing comercially. Don't get me wrong even pet project number one may turn out to be so good you can release, and that would be awesome, but keep your own expectations in check.

Noobs are hot-headed. I'm still a noob and I took one hell of a fall when I realized that although I think my game is the bee's knee's that's just MY view of it.

ZorisX1 karma

Given that you've financed this. How were you able to comfortably assess the situation and make the decision at that point in time?

Did you take a loan to have additional support? Were there plannings and did they measure up?

How much did the project cost you in the end? (assuming you're still not paying for marketing)

taranasus2 karma

Given that you've financed this. How were you able to comfortably assess the situation and make the decision at that point in time?

Saving money while employed is a wonderful thing. You can use that money to pull crazy stunts like this one.

Did you take a loan to have additional support? Were there plannings and did they measure up?

Did not take a loan, just savings. However some recent very good news that I'm unable to disclose will push us into searching for further financing and as such we're looking at bank loans, publishers, investors, maybe even a kick starter.

How much did the project cost you in the end? (assuming you're still not paying for marketing)

£15000 so far give our take. The living costs were the most expensive to be honest. Second biggest so far was the Unity3D license, at a flooring £3000ish quid.

WhiteHarem-2 karma

Are You Inspired By History And Stories Of Events Past In Your Game Development?

taranasus3 karma

I'm not 100% sure what you're asking but I undrestood that as:

"Have you taken any inspiration from past success / failure stories when doing this crazy stunt?". If that's the case the answer is yes, most notably two stories.

  1. Flippfly's Race the Sun saw an extremely slow start because they couldn't initially get on the Steam store as the Greenlight process was a lot harsher back when they released. Over a few months they managed to get the attention necessary to become a huge success but it was a really difficult road for them. Initially I though we could do better, but now I am a lot more humble. You can read about their launch here

  2. As for failure the most notable is this article from gamasutra. Here you can read about a platformer that by all means was a pretty solid game, and got coverage even from total biscuit himself but didn't get any traction. That article is not enough to explain their failure but it's a good story to dig in and analyze. My personal opinion is they failed because they tried to launch a platformer in an over-saturated platofrmer market without bringing anything truly unique to the table. Yes it's a solid platofmer but it's not revolutionary in any way and when you're going up against super meat boy... A side theory I have is that the art-style didn't match the level of difficulty. The game itself is insanely hard but has really cutesy graphics that don't reflect that at all.