Comments: 256 • Responses: 87  • Date: 

Chisely760 karma

Fellow indie gamedev here with some numbers.
- Around 20% of pre-launch wishlists convert into a sale within a year from release.
- Steam pricing differs in different countries. The average sticker price per copy worldwide is 70% of the US price.
- Most copies are sold during a sale. This means the actual price paid by players is around 80% of the "sticker" price.
- After steam cut and all the taxes (VAT, withheld, personal, etc.) developers get about 50% of the money paid by players.

This means, if you plan to sell your game for 10 USD you can expect 3 USD per copy to reach your account. Your 10k wishlists will give you about 6k USD after a year, assuming very positive review score.
My Question: How many copies do you need to sell to pay your bills and feel accomplished?

0s_and_1s187 karma

This was enlightening, had no idea that’s how it worked. Thank you.

GideonGriebenow43 karma

I actually did ;) But there's more to it than that...

GideonGriebenow96 karma

Hi. I'm aware of the factors you're mentioning here, but there are a few things you're missing as well. I've looked at various sources showing many practical examples, and I know some games "bomb" and some "soar", but 20% of initial wishlists sold in one year is quite a gloomy forecast.

For example, in this post, we see the median sales to wishlists in the first week is 20%, with quite a few going over 50% even.


Of course, there are huge ranges, but there are also huge ranges in quality, genre popularity, and many other factors to consider. My game is in one the most popular genres on Steam, my demo has been out for over a year for people to try and see if they like it, etc. So I'm positive my chances of "bombing" are smaller than most games released.

There is also the exposure you get from Steam in the week or so prior to release that can add a lot of wishlists, more events I'm participating in, and Youtube/Streamer coverage that will be coming through (some have already confirmed coverage).

But, yes, getting a "fraction" of the sales price is correct, but factored in ;)

Oh, I haven't answered the question yet! Sorry. Here goes. I'm currently gaining wishlists at a very good rate, so it really remains to be seen where I can end up. Personally I'd be happy if I sell 10,000 copies in a year. If we're going to stick with your 20% of pre-launch wishlists sold per year, I'm doomed financially, but I have good reason to believe it won't be that bad.

Edit: Here's another article about sales to followers.
And I quote:
This follower count - as the wishlist count - changes drastically (upwards!) after launch. But if you’re checking very close to a Steam launch, here’s a basic rule of thumb from the ever helpful Jake Birkett: "Basically followers x 2.5 = week 1 sales. But of course it can vary quite a lot for different games, and probably for different reasons."
Let’s take Within The Cosmos, which has 1,600 Steam followers and is launching on Friday, August 16th. Perhaps it adds a few more followers by its launch hour.
Even so, via Jake’s basic formula this implies it should sell just over 4,000 copies in its first week - and perhaps 20,000-25,000 copies in the first year, but not all of those at full price. Not bad! Not bad? (Depends on how much it cost, if there’s other platforms, etc.)
If this pans out for me, as it stands, I'll sell 2500 in the first week and 10K in the year, which would be just fine, since I'm still gaining wishlists currently.

Chisely93 karma

This is a very realistic, very grounded base goal and I applaud you. I hope your project is a resounding success, but it is always good to know the ground you're walking on.

Oh, and I did not mean you're only going to sell that 20% of your wishlists. I just described a generalized way to put a dollar value to steam wishlists. You will be generating wishlists after launch and over 50% of your sales will come from people who never wishlisted. It really depends on the traffic you can pull to your steam page from outside sources. Marketing is king in indie gamedev scene.

Best of luck going forward!

GideonGriebenow30 karma

Thanks. I am aware of games that sell next to nothing of their wishlists, and of course it could also happen to me, but I like to think I've positioned myself well enough that it wouldn't. So, I just need to keep imroving the game and keep earning wishlists and hope for the best!

blackstoise57 karma

Yea, I've considered doing a project like this before, but the opportunity cost for 1-2 years off the job to develop a compelling game is just too high if you are already in a relatively high paying career. Using this 3 dollars per copy sold metric (I doubt I would be able to make a game with enough content to warrant more than 10 bucks), if you make say 150k a year, you would need to sell 50k copies just to break even.

slayemin42 karma

Not to mention, 90% of indie games fail to even get to launch, so you’re taking a 10% chance to make an average of $10k for the lifetime of your games release.

GideonGriebenow46 karma

If you actually have some life and career experience, look at it realistically, have run a business in a professional financial arena for 6 years, etc. I think it's pretty clear that I'm not taking the 10% chance. I've worked on it for two years as a hobby before taking that chance, so I'm not just going in blindly - I know my abilities and I'm confident I can release the game.

Another metric people go by is sales per follower, and 2.5 in the first week is about average with about 4 times as much in the year (again, wide ranges)


If that pans out I should sell around 2500 copies in the first week and 10K in the year, which is just fine with me.

stankyboyo16 karma

A touch of reality that you never hear about.

GideonGriebenow40 karma

If you're a game developer you should at least have heard about it quite regularly, or you will be in trouble quite soon :)

stankyboyo6 karma

I never realized it was that bad when selling a game on the steam store. Wish you the best. I saw the game and it looks really cute. I like the concept.

GideonGriebenow35 karma


Well, Steam really does a lot for you when you think about it. Would you want to handle payments from different countries yourself? I've had over 2million impressions from Steam showing my game to potential buyers on their site - that's a huge amount of marketing. They host the game, handle all kinds of formalities, etc. I'm happy to pay the 30% - I wouldn't be able to sell this game if it wasn't for Steam.

Elerion_22 karma

I’ll just say this - it’s refreshing to hear a game dev with actual real world business experience outside video games commenting on industry economics.

GideonGriebenow25 karma

It always baffles me how people can complain about the cost for the opportunity to have your game marketed on Steam. Sure, I'd like it to be less, but do you have any idea how little exposure you'd have if it wasn't for Steam (or other platforms)?

Over 77,000 people visited my Game Page due to internal Steam impressions. That's more than 10% more than all my other efforts combined, on which I've spent hundreds of hours...

DriveByStoning4 karma

What about other sites like GoG, itch.io, or Epic? Are you locked into Steam for distribution? I understand Steam has a built in base with a large reach but I would think it would be beneficial to be on as many platforms as possible.

GideonGriebenow8 karma

Not locked in at all.

I have it on itch but only get a few downloads a week. I did have someone donate $2 for it there, so my only revenue has come from itch :)

I've sent Epic an email some months ago - I understand they need to vet you and will contact you if they "want you".

I don't really know GoG - maybe I'll look into it one day. I've just been focusing on Steam basically.

GideonGriebenow13 karma

Would you mind at all sharing how Liberté is doing (even by DM)? It would be really insightful to me as I see your followers jumped nicely from a week before release to two weeks after release. It would be one more actual data point I can base my estimates on and would really help me.

paceminterris0 karma

What is your source for these numbers, u/Chisely? Are they YOUR numbers? What if most other games have a higher wishlist conversion rate? What if your games are unusually bad? One data point isn't good statistics.

GideonGriebenow4 karma

Hi. Agreed, it's easy to "quote" numbers, and if 20% over one year is indeed the average I'd love to see the source, because I would then *have* to adjust my views, for my own good.
I've linked some articles in my answer, so I'd rather go with these (which includes more than 100 games) and hope my game to be at least median.

CozyBlueCacaoFire-14 karma

6k USD is a year worth of salary for s South African - a good salary at that.

He will pay his bills with ease.

Edit: I am South African. Minimum wage is 220 USD a month. So yeah, fuck off if you think 90% of the population makes more.

GideonGriebenow0 karma

Come on...

CozyBlueCacaoFire3 karma

Jirre bra, ek weet dan self. 90 Duisend 'n jaar is leefbaar. Wat de fok bedoel hy met "come on?"

GideonGriebenow5 karma

Around ZAR90k per year is where you only start paying tax. It's not "a good salary", especially for someone with 20 years experience and 4 kids. I will definitely not pay my bills with ease on ZAR90k per year.

CozyBlueCacaoFire-4 karma

It's literally what 90% of the country barely makes though?

Why do it at all then if you're going to be upset at a low income? You probably knew this was coming and you and your partner planned to live off of their income, or you retired and have pension that supplements?

GideonGriebenow5 karma

Yes, it's what the largest part of the population is making, sadly. But it's not a good salary, like you said. Do "90%" (your number, I don't know if it's accurate) of the population pay their bills with ease? surely if 90% of the population are below the income tax payable bracket, you're not going to argue that that's a good salary, one with which I would be able to pay my bills with ease?

chugalaefoo63 karma

I know you’ve enjoyed the process of creating and learning, and that’s invaluable.

But how many copies would you need to sell on steam to roughly recoup or break even for your time and lost income?

GideonGriebenow72 karma

I don't expect to break even compared to my "real career" - I am fortunate that I have a very niche, well-paying job. If I sell 10,000 copies over a year (sales taper of *very* quickly anyway), it would be worth it for me. I would need some good streamer exposure to get there, but wishlists have increased drastically over the last 2.5 months, so I'm hopeful this will continue.

And there's a lot of non-financial value in it for me, given my life stage, family, what I need to have time for, etc.

older_gamer6 karma


GideonGriebenow28 karma


If I sell 40,000, that would be ZAR4m in my pocket after costs, taxes, etc. which is equivalent to almost 5 years worth of salary for a PhD with 10+ years experience in a senior post in the financial risk management arena here. I'd be quite happy with half of that, actually.

AbsolutZer0_v215 karma

4,000,000 south african rand is about $250kUSD.

I'm glad you're following your dream. A PhD credit risk manager in the US, with 10+ years of experience and a focus on Quant, could make that in a year at the right company, maybe 2.

Edit to reflect the 250 K.

GideonGriebenow17 karma

But how would expenses compare? ;)

AbsolutZer0_v27 karma

I mean it depends on your living style?

You can live VERY comfortably here. Even in expensive areas on $250k per year. I mean its more than I make and I'm in a really good spot.

GideonGriebenow12 karma

I actually grew up fairly poor, but my outlook has always been "I want to have enough money to not have to worry about it all the time" but I'm also not a huge spender, so it's a lot easier! At some point more money becomes more of a hindrance, especially if you keep having to give certain things up for it. And I've just decided I have "enough" money, and not enough time, so I'm happy signing off eventually with less money and having done more of what I want.

kevio178 karma


x 1000

tnb6412 karma

I was so confused like... Is cost of living in SA literally pennies a day?

GideonGriebenow2 karma

Oh, I didn't even notice. My brain registered x1000

zreofiregs44 karma

What is risk? How do we define risk? And what makes it so risky?

GideonGriebenow51 karma

It's risky in that I spend a lot of time on it, not earning an income for about a year, while the "opportunity cost" is a very successful (and lucrative) career I'm "dumping". but I just couldn't let this chance go. Not pursuing a chance like this is also risky, and I'm not even talking about financial risk here.

GideonGriebenow3 karma


aerostotle6 karma

how could you have been doing this for 20 years and not seen that

GideonGriebenow8 karma

I actually love Seinfeld - watched it a lot when I was much younger, but I also have a strange brain that "totally forgets" certain things, and absolute remembers others. Even Discworld books (my favourite) - after a few months I can barely tell you the plot of the book, but I do remember a lot of the "ideas" very vividly (although I can't ell you from which book they were).

slayemin6 karma

Consider it a life passion project. Sure, there’s financial risk, but that’s just money. What would you say if you’re laying on your deathbed decades later, having never attempted to chase a dream, simply because money ruled every decision ever made in life?

GideonGriebenow5 karma

Exactly. I do understand that I'm very fortunate to even have this option, though.

suicideDenver20 karma

The game looks fun! I've just wish listed it.

2 questions for you:

How many hours of development would you guess you have into this at this point?

Did you build the graphical assets or how did you go about aquiring them?

GideonGriebenow29 karma

Hi! I really can't tell you how many hours I've spent on it. It started out after hours, when I could get time, etc. and gradually become more and more, until I went full-time (but with my variable schedule) in November 2021. I couldn't even try to estimate it, sorry - I know it's quite an important metrics, but as I've said in other answers the "pay per hour" is not the most important factor for me.

I did not build the graphical assets (except a few small ones). I scrounged around for what I could find that "go together". Some are free assets, adjusted to suit my needs, and a few paid for assets from the assets store. I also pay someone for a few hours every few months to make adjustments for me in Blender - I have a vague idea of how to use Blender, but it takes me too long, so I rather focus on the coding, marketing, etc.

suicideDenver11 karma

Thank you for the answers. I can understand not knowing the hours, passion projects can be like that. I wish you great success with it and at the very least I hope the experience treats you well.

GideonGriebenow5 karma

Thank you!

suicideDenver5 karma

You're welcome. Do you have an estimate on how large your code base is? I'm asking as I have an idea of a game of similar scope, different genre and am trying to get a sense of the depth. Again thanks for your answers 😃

GideonGriebenow4 karma

I can only say "HUGE"! Is there a way to count lines of code automatically from all the scripts in a folder? I have dozens and dozens of scripts.

GideonGriebenow3 karma

I'm going to save this link and your username and hopefully I get to it some day. It's just very hectic at the moment, but I have been wandering about that myself.

Thanks for the link!

dmilin6 karma

Hey! I used to be an indie game dev. I ran up against the same issue pretty early on, about being a developer and not an artist.

Try as we might, it’s next to impossible to get all the art to match up properly. I usually took the same route as you, using free art to start with. However, if it ends up looking like you have a winner, get a full time artist to redo all your assets! It can be a huge boost for sales.

GideonGriebenow5 karma

I totally acknowledge the value it would add and I would love to eventually get there!

PotusThePlant3 karma

2022 is the current year. Did you mean to say 2021?

GideonGriebenow3 karma

Sorry, fixed. Correct.

igneousmouse17 karma

Why turtles?

GideonGriebenow53 karma

I'm a huge Terry Pratchett fan and, while I couldn't make a Discworld game, the age-old World Turtle myth (which Sir Terry himself "sampled") is fair game. And working on this setting motivates me to keep going!

InterestedInThings3 karma

The turtle moves

GideonGriebenow4 karma

De Chelonian Mobile

Lt_Toodles0 karma

Any chance this was inspired by the futurama episode where Bender is flying through space?

GideonGriebenow7 karma

Nope :)

Lt_Toodles-2 karma

Are you familiar with it? You might find it particularly humorous if you haven't yet just because of some of the similarities

GideonGriebenow3 karma

Nope. Have you maybe got a link. I’m seeing a bunch of short clips on youtube but don’t know which one would be the applicable one here.

-ReadyPlayerThirty-14 karma

Sell me your game. Why should I play it?

GideonGriebenow16 karma

I'm just trying to create a little world that's fun to be in, that can take you to an alternate place for a while, where you can build something, progress something, and see how it all grows. Just some entertainment ;)

fschiltz13 karma

Wow I watched the same tutorial on Unity on Youtube and wondered "what if" I had the balls to do it. Congrats to you for making the jump and making it work. Any advice for people who would follow your path?

GideonGriebenow14 karma

I'd say be realistic while dreaming! I'd put in many "hobby hours" into this before deciding it could fly and going all in. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about all of this, so it was somewhat worth it all the way, even without being paid. But I need an income if I want to do it full-time for any reasonable length of time.

There is a lot to learn - not just about coding, developing, Unity, assets, etc. but also how the industry works, how to sell your game, etc. You have to be up for a lot of learning, trying, failing, trying again, etc. Make sure you try to learn from whoever crosses your path about how things around the development itself work.

goldendreamseeker11 karma

Did anyone else think this was Rich Evans at first?

GideonGriebenow2 karma

Oh my. First look :)

RagnarRipper10 karma

Can we name the turtles, and how often can it be A'tuin?

GideonGriebenow10 karma

Not yet, but eventually yes, and as often as you’d like.

1970s_MonkeyKing10 karma

First off, congratulations! I guess you weighed the <snicker> risks when you made the leap to game developer.

Second, this looks really cool. My advice is to put your name (your game company) and your game out there as much as possible to drum up interest. I don't have a list, but I am sure a cursory glance at Youtube for gamers that might be interested in evaluating your game for free. Try to generate as much buzz as you can by getting others to talk about your game.

Also, have you thought of putting some of your models (objects like houses, people etc) on a 3D printing site like printables.com? Yes, you have an online game but now many gamers also have 3d printers and they like to print out things from their games. And you generate even more search engine optimization (better search results) by cross promoting your game.

As to your game itself, I like the UI. It's not cluttered and it looks like you get most of the important information at a glance. The top and bottom bubbles within the frame tells me everything.

Good luck!

GideonGriebenow6 karma

Thanks! I've been participating in events (hugely succesful) and been trying to get Youtubers to cover the game. It's been going better recently, but I'm still waiting for that big break!
I'm going to save that printables link to consider it further down the line, (if!) when I have more time, thanks.

I'm so glad to get compliments about the UI! It's really always been the "last thing I get to", and I haven't done it before, so it was horrible for large parts of the development. I keep tuning it and improving it and it's really good to hear people speak positively about it!

Brisslayer3338 karma

Why was this removed?

GideonGriebenow2 karma

Hi, I saw the original comment. I think the wording may have triggered some auto-mod rule??
Anyway, thanks for the support!

CandyTreeFactory8 karma

I read that you reached out to some YouTubers, was splattercat included in those? He would be a really good fit. Specialized in Indy Games, gives good Feedback and has a big audience

GideonGriebenow8 karma

Hey. I have, and he's answered me back that the game has been on his radar and he's waiting for it to settle down more before featuring it since he wants the best exposure for it, so I'm positive that one will come through, thankfully!

Alencia4207 karma

I’m looking to get into game development but struggling where to start! Any advice for what to start doing to potentially become a solo dev?

GideonGriebenow16 karma

I don't know how young you are, or your previous life/career experience. I got into it aged 40, so it's a lot different than "first time doing a job". I had some money saved up, decent programming experience, and have been running a business for 6 years.
What I can tell you is learn from the correct tutorials - there's a lot of stuff out there that will waste your time and teach you the wrong ways on working. I'm fortunate in that I can spot a good coder / tutorial / method of solving an issue quite quickly, so I have not wasted time on "bad help". Personally, Catlike Coding - web based - and Code Monkey - Youtube - were probably the two I've learned the most from. They are proper coders.

Then, just build stuff, try stuff, be creative and find something that truly motivates you to work on. I could start off with a huge game first off because of my age and experience, but generally, don't sink too much into something you're not yet sure off "will fly". Learn from many small actions and tasks and efforts, and build up the knowledge in your brain, so you become a "master" of it.

Alencia4206 karma

Thank you for your reply! I’m only 20 so don’t really have that much experience in game dev but I’ve been obsessed with everything about it for about 7 years now. I studied it in college and recently did a master coding class so I have some knowledge. I will go and watch those channels you recommended and just give some things a go! Appreciate your advice! :))

GideonGriebenow3 karma

Good luck!

racc_oon2 karma

Could you give some examples of "the wrong ways of working" so we can also spot it?

GideonGriebenow4 karma

For example, you need to understand what happens "behind the scenes". A tutorial could be showing you a way of doing something that is unnecessarily resource intensive, and which drags down your frame rate (especially if it doesn't scale well), reducing the quality of your entire project.

MRiley846 karma

When games I'm not interested in pop up in my discovery queue I always hit ignore on them so I can get a cycle of games I hadn't seen before. I've been wondering for a while though if this has a negative impact on the game's visibility beyond just my own suggestions. Is that a statistic developers can see, and if so, is it one that Steam uses in any way site-wide and not on an individual user basis?

GideonGriebenow8 karma

I know that you can do that as a player, but I've never seen any stats about it anywhere behind the scenes or in forums / talks / in the industry.

akaLando5 karma

Is this an idea you had in your head/on paper for a long time or was this simply playing with tools and discovering the game as you learned and making it?

Did you start with simple concepts and build skills as you went or did you go whole hog into making your current game fairly early on?

What does "full time" mean to you? Do you have a dedicated schedule and things like that?

How long have you been interested in creating video games? Was it ever a hobby before and do you have any prior knowledge of game design or anything past programming?

Love posts like these, this is what life is truly about.

GideonGriebenow7 karma

I'd actually built a little Excel based game (no graphics, just VBA and buttons and logic) probably 9 years before this. It had Discworld characters and settings, etc. but it was just basically for me, seeing whether I could "build a game".
When I got to Unity, the graphics part of game development was finally viable for me, and I just adapted this "Discworld game" to be more generic.
As I learned the tools, I focused my learning towards this game idea, so that everything added value into this one "aim".

I learned from Feb to Dec 2019, then jumped all in on this game. I took concepts one by one as I required them and learned what I could from documentation and tutorials - always making sure I understand the tutorials well enough to adapt them to my situation and add stuff onto them.

Full time = I've worked from home a while, and my schedule isn't all that "structured". I have 4 kids, so I spend time on them and their things as and when required, and work in-between, a lot at night as well. So, days aren't "standard", which also kind of suits my personality, although I sometimes don't get as much done due to temporary "distractions".

I've played around with creating little programs and games "all my life" (well, I only got my first look at a PC when I was 12/13). But the graphics have always been lacking... When the kids came, it became less and less, but then suddenly it came back with a bang! This is really the first time I'm actually making anything other than "stuff for me".

I'd love to work on this game another year or two - it's been so much more fulfilling than my (very fortunate to have it) career. Hopefully the support (sales) is good enough to allow me to do this.

lifeinblue5 karma

I’m intrigued by the YouTube tutorial that kicked off your nerdy mid life crisis. Care to share?

GideonGriebenow4 karma

Catlike Coding's Hex Map tutorial:


Jadziyah4 karma

Have you heard of or played the demo for The Wandering Village?

GideonGriebenow9 karma

I’ve actually become ‘quite good online friends’ with the team lead of TWV :) wonderful, friendly people who’ve helped me out a lot!

wanttowritemore6 karma

Can you tell us more about how you differentiate yourself from TWV? What are you doing that's unique? Why should I buy / play World Turtles instead?

GideonGriebenow4 karma

Because, please? ;) Play both?
I haven't actually played TWV, although I've seen a bit of it being played and the main mechanics. By the way, we got to our games completely independently, so it was quite remarkable how many touch points we ended up having. I guess a colony on a huge animal just begs certain mechanics to be included :)

At the moment, I think the main differences are: They have a lot more "product chains" already going, while I have some depth in parts of the mechanics, with a lot still to be "populated". That probably carries through to most mechanics.
I do like the way I have separate "research trees" per building type, and will also have a combined research tree. So, all Meeps of only one certain type can work on their research tree, but they can also put their efforts into the "realm-wide" research. You're therefore researching a bunch of things at a time.

Look, I know they're the "famous sibling" and will always be mentioned "more favourably" when World Turtles is around, they have an entire team and can do a much better job on most aspects, it's their third or whatever game as a studio, etc.
But it doesn't really bother me - I just need enough people who enjoy whatever my take on it turned out to be. And they've been very helpful and friendly to me and I'm very happy to have them on this journey with me. So, I'm taking the positives from it :)

HutchWaterfall4 karma

Game looks like fun, going to wishlist it today. What was the most difficult thing transitioning from banking programming to game building programming?

GideonGriebenow6 karma

Thanks! While the technical programming in the banking world was a lot more statistical / formal (existing) algorithms and data cleaning / manipulations, there's a lot more freedom to "find a solution that works" when developing a game. But it's actually been a breath of fresh air.
I'd say just getting to terms with C#, how it works and trying to find the way to do something conceptual you know should be possible was the hardest, but the sheer amount of tutorials and documentation helps a lot!

partthethird3 karma

Congratulations on getting the game to a state where you're happy to release it. That's no mean feat.

How much dedicated QA time.has the project had? And by that I mean, people who aren't friends and/or family?

You don't want the end user to be the ones to find bugs 😄

GideonGriebenow2 karma

Thanks! The demo has been out for over 16 months already, so I've had lots of feedback continuously (and almost no feedback from family and friends haha). I have a list of small things to iron out, and I'll be spending the next couple of months on them, then on a short Beta as well.

inm8083 karma


I’m going the opposite direction for mine. I am personally planning to be a dubstep DJ in my midlife crisis , as a sabbatical for my nerd career in tech

When did you know you were ready to leap? Also do you have any way to re enter your former career if it goes bad?

GideonGriebenow1 karma

If it does go bad, I'm sure I'd be able to get some projects again in a few months. It's quite a specialized area and I've worked with many people in the industry, so I'm not worried about "starting back up if required".

Around the end of last year, after spending about 8 months improving the quality of the game, I thought this is something that could really go somewhere, and I'd hate to come to the end of my life not having pursued this.

swd1203 karma

Where does one find a paycheck when developing a video game solo full time.

Did you strike it big with Bitcoin or the stock market?

GideonGriebenow11 karma

I’ve been fortunate (and hard-working) in my career of 20 years, and have saved up over the years. I’m now ‘paying myself to do something I love’ and if I can make enough money from it to keep doing it, it would be great.

activatebarrier2 karma

This is my plan as well. at my current pace I'm ready to retire by 40 and can fund my passion fulltime!

GideonGriebenow3 karma

I started Unity at age 40, and would easily swop it for my "day job" (considering what I've been practically doing the last 5-10 years).

ninjacereal3 karma

How did you tell the people who rely on you that you're going to do this thing that might fruitlessly ruin everything you've worked for, and get them to support the idea?

GideonGriebenow11 karma

Hi. First off, it won’t ruin everything I’ve worked for, even if I sell 0 copies. I’m not putting all my current and future money on the line here. I’ve had a very good career and fortunately have enough savings to live on and still have my fixed investments untouched. At most I lose 1.5 year’s worth of salary. I do understand this isn’t peanuts, but it’s also an opportunity that I would always look back on sourly if I didn’t take it. I’d have never done it if it could ruin everything. My wife is well aware of our finances and investments, and another year’s salary isn’t the most important thing at this stage. This endeavour also allows me to not have the pressures, constant pressing time requirements, etc. of a very senior position in a highly technical and extremely sensitive financial arena weighing on me, allowing me more freedom when it’s most important in my personal life. It’s truly not all about the money at this stage of my life.

JimmyRedd3 karma

How does the turtle breathe in space?

GideonGriebenow2 karma

It's not our space :) You'll also see there is rain in space, as well a different temperatures. The question is rather how does the friction not set it on fire!? :)

aYPeEooTReK3 karma

For years I've had this video game idea that I obviously think is amazing. No idea how to get anything off the ground.

Any advice on where to start with this? No tech, design background. Used to be a plumber and now i work in the film business. Any help would be great

GideonGriebenow3 karma

It's really difficult for me to tell you something that would be "the right answer". Unfortunately, it doesn't matter how great the idea is, there's a lot of work that needs to go into it. A lot of very varied skills, different functions, many trades that are required to bring a game to the store. It's the hardest (and also the most rewarding if you manage it) thing about making a game.

Have you tried just playing around with some free software and assets to see how you get on?

OfaFuchsAykk3 karma

Have you had any legal issues with the estate of Sir Terry Pratchett, have they been in any kind of contact, or just simply a case of ‘they don’t know about me’?

GideonGriebenow5 karma

I actually contacted Rhianna Pratchett via Twitter more than a year ago to just run it past her. Her view is that's it's fine as long as I don't try to make it "Discworld-y". The setting is fair game, since Sir Terry got it from Hindu Mythology, but I'm not allowed to take Discworld specific IP into the game. I'm sure a few hat-tips wouldn't hurt though.
Just this week someone also tagged her (and Rob Wilkens) on someone's tweet about the game, and she replied with a "heart".

OfaFuchsAykk3 karma

That’s great news - I met Sir Terry in 1999 and my girlfriend made a point of telling Terry that I changed my surname and picked the name of one of his characters - he jokingly asked security to remove me from his presence.

I still treasure my signed copy of Mort.

GideonGriebenow2 karma

Wow! I wish I could have met him. What a great story to have.

alohacrocs2 karma

Did you create your own assets or you hired someone to create them? If you made them yourself, what software did you use and how hard was it to create something from scratch? Fantastic work btw!

GideonGriebenow3 karma

I've always played around with editing a bit of sound, building 3D models in Sketchup, making amateur "graphic design", taught myself guitar, these kinds of things throughout my life - I'm really not an expert in any of them, but I understand the levers that make them work reasonably well. So, I can "work with" the expert quite well, understand their language, know how to ask for, what to look for, etc.

I'd love to learn all of these things and be more professional, but it's simply not possible. Hopefully over time I get more experienced with them, but for now my biggest impact is coding and pulling it all together from different sources.

copy paste...

spyczech2 karma

Before you switched to game dev did you feel bad or have second thoughts about your line of work? Credit risk management is basically deciding if people are too poor for loans etc right?

I think a critical look at business culture and bank structures are very fertile grounds for critique in games as it matures as an art medium and room for parody and pastiche

GideonGriebenow3 karma

Good question ;)
I was more on the "wholesale" side of things, developing and testing the models that try to estimate the credit risk for the banks (for the money they lend out to business) and performing the calculations for capital adequacy, but I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the work. It was becoming very "negative", "audit-like", "called in when there were big problems" and there was so much "waste" (in terms of hours and hours required to be spend on stuff that just didn't excite me, or was plainly largely "ignored" sometimes) that I felt I was just wasting so much of my life, even though I was getting paid handsomely for it. Even if I earn a third of what I earned a year ago, I'd probably still chose what I do now.

hoerensagen2 karma

You said you have experience in modelling and programming. Do you have any experience in doing art or animation? What about music? I ask because I'm starting to get into making games as a hobby and I decided to put a lot of hours into learning to make art and music for games :) (it's hard)

GideonGriebenow3 karma

I've always played around with editing a bit of sound, building 3D models in Sketchup, making amateur "graphic design", taught myself guitar, these kinds of things throughout my life - I'm really not an expert in any of them, but I understand the levers that make them work reasonably well. So, I can "work with" the expert quite well, understand their language, know how to ask for, what to look for, etc.

I'd love to learn all of these things and be more professional, but it's simply not possible. Hopefully over time I get more experienced with them, but for now my biggest impact is coding and pulling it all together from different sources.

quiettryit2 karma

Are you risking it all on this endeavor?

GideonGriebenow5 karma

Hi. First off, it won’t ruin everything I’ve worked for, even if I sell 0 copies. I’m not putting all my current and future money on the line here. I’ve had a very good career and fortunately have enough savings to live on and still have my fixed investments untouched. At most I lose 1.5 year’s worth of salary. I do understand this isn’t peanuts, but it’s also an opportunity that I would always look back on sourly if I didn’t take it. I’d have never done it if it could ruin everything. My wife is well aware of our finances and investments, and another year’s salary isn’t the most important thing at this stage. This endeavour also allows me to not have the pressures, constant pressing time requirements, etc. of a very senior position in a highly technical and extremely sensitive financial arena weighing on me, allowing me more freedom when it’s most important in my personal life. It’s truly not all about the money at this stage of my life.

(copy paste)

quiettryit2 karma

So I estimate you have at least a portfolio of between $3-5 million, and savings of approximately $300k. With property equity value possibly another $3-500k... I don't blame you, I would have done the same. Life is too short to let opportunities pass by. Old you will thank younger you for the attempt...

GideonGriebenow2 karma

We don't need quite as much here in South Africa to be "rich" :) , but I'm fortunate enough to have enough to live on comfortably bar something very bad happening.

quiettryit3 karma

That's awesome! Here in the United States it requires a lot more to be financially secure. With the way the markets are behaving creates so much uncertainty... I look forward to your game! Congratulations on pursuing your dream!

GideonGriebenow2 karma


shinigurai2 karma

I always thought I'd like risk management but couldn't find a way to shadow the job. Also I hate math and it seems like the type of job that's a lot of math. How much of the job is math?

GideonGriebenow5 karma

There is quite a bit of maths and statistics involved. Of course, there are different roles that focus on the maths to a lesser / higher degree, but you do need to understand "math concepts" in the field.

stilkin2 karma

How do you think chasing your dream changed your mindset and relationships?

Not looking at financial considerations, just interpersonal

GideonGriebenow2 karma

To continue...

I'd become increasingly "disinterested" in my career, especially lately, and that's actually a very dangerous (in terms of professionalism in a very technical and financially impactful arena), and very non-preferable (sorry I can't find the word, it's very late) situation (in terms of personal enjoyment) to be in. Although I was grateful to be paid, I became increasingly negative towards it. It also felt with a lot of the things I did, that it was for "filling in negative cracks", grudge expenditures by banks, etc. and that I was "wasting my life" doing this.

The last few months of game dev I've always been eager to try out the next little solutions, add in the next bit of mechanic, polish something up, learn another thing that I hadn't come across before. I can now sit and work for hours and enjoy it again. And I feel every hour I put into it won't be wasted, will be adding on to the quality of the eventual product. It won't just be shelved by some CEO who doesn't like the conclusions, for example.

GideonGriebenow1 karma

I'm not going to try to pretend that it isn't a big step in terms of me and my wife's future, but she's been really supportive. It also came at a time in our lives when she needed a lot of time for something personal, and me being available and "having a shift" at home for a few hours here and there (with 4 kids) also added a lot of non-financial value. Also, the kind of work I'd been doing is really "CEO level engagement" stuff, large portfolios and I could easily be pulled into meetings and workshops for hours on end, missing dinner and having to crunch stuff out throughout the night while also trying not to make mistakes.

The "we're losing out on this much potential money" is a big consideration, but we're also, fortunately, in a place where it doesn't have to be the biggest factor. And, luckily, the more wishlists are picking up, the less this becomes an issue.

martin2 karma

How many Lines of Defense do you include in your games?

GideonGriebenow6 karma

Sorry, I'm not entirely sure what you mean?

alohacrocs6 karma

I think that was supposed to be a risk joke, like a typical risk management framework has a few lines of defense ( employees, management, etc)

GideonGriebenow2 karma

Aha, OK, I thought it had something to do with being pirated, etc.

martin2 karma

Stupid 3 lines of defense credit risk joke. Glad to see you've moved on to bigger & better things. Leaving a career to start a new one is not easy but often worth it.

GideonGriebenow3 karma

Thanks. See, I'm so out of it I don't even get the jokes :)


I have a few questions:

How long have you lived in Milwaukee?

Do you ever get bored of Mike Stoklasa making fun of you?

What was it like being featured on Ellen?

GideonGriebenow3 karma

I'm going to have to look this up to see who I look like :)

GideonGriebenow2 karma

Wow, I'm famous!

Kronusx121 karma

What are you thinking of for pricing this game (in USD?) Just at quick glance this looks like a $15/$20 game but I’m just wondering what you’re thinking about it.

Also, any thoughts on Steam Deck / getting it Deck certified? Honestly this looks like a game I’m personally more likely to play on Steam Deck than on my PC.

Sorry if this has already been answered, I just didn’t see it.

GideonGriebenow2 karma

Hi. Not been asked yet. You are spot on. My plan has been for a while to set it $20, but with a launch discount of 25%, so basically I'm working on $15, and anything I get outside of a sale will be a bit of a bonus.

A few people have given feedback that it works well on the Steam Deck. I may have to rework inputs a bit, but I'll consider that. There's very little Steam Deck "traffic" though, so I'm not spending my time on it currently.

KRIPA_YT1 karma

Do you know what Karlson is?

GideonGriebenow1 karma

Karlson by Dani?

KRIPA_YT1 karma

Yes - do you know when It's gonna release? (Prob never)

GideonGriebenow2 karma

No idea - maybe ask Dani?

WindyCityBull1 karma

Isn't their one of these posts like every week? More about "the risk" or struggle than the actual game?

GideonGriebenow1 karma

I'm assuming these are rhetorical questions, right?

WindyCityBull2 karma

Yeah sorry I just feel like I see this a lot, no offense meant lol.

GideonGriebenow1 karma

No worries. I also realise every second developer hopes for some exposure, likes his game to be seen and a lot of what we do is borderline, if not full blown spam. Sorry for sometimes putting you through that :)

bongstorm0 karma


GideonGriebenow4 karma

Not quite. I'm not allowed to make a Discworld game!

SecretStonerSquirrel-5 karma

Do you ever wonder how many working people you fucked over in your 20 years of working for banks? Credit is such a scam.

GideonGriebenow3 karma

I personally believe too many people are given credit by banks. They pay back for years and years for something they can't actually afford. To me there are two sad things at play here. First off that there are so many people who cannot afford a decent life to begin with and, secondly, that credit puts them in a worse situation a lot of the time. and a lot of the time they don't realise the real implications it has on them. I'm not the one giving them those loans though. I'm also not the one deciding on their behalf that they should take them.

On the other hand, are we to make decisions for people whether they should take credit or not? Wouldn't there be a huge outcry if "the regulator" prevents someone from deciding to spend a lot of their future money now to get something they want know? I wish more people could be "better educated" about what impact credit has on their lives. I wish fewer people used credit for things they realistically cannot afford (no, or in future). I really do wish people didn't even have to use credit for living expenses. I think it's criminal the amount of interest many types of loans charge people, but it's because they are such high risk, which has to be priced for (ignoring the loan sharks that charge excessive amounts, well above the risks, and again, that's not me). I don't like credit at all - I use it only for buying property over long term (for example, the house I stay in), and even then it's important to still buy a house your income can realistically cover, not buy more than that just because you can get the credit. I really wish I could have had a talk with each one of those people you reckon I "fucked over" before they got "fucked over" by credit.

I think it's good manners to first find out exactly what someone actually did / does, how they actually feel / think before telling them how they "fucked people over".

avidvaulter-32 karma


GideonGriebenow9 karma

Maybe a solo dev reaching 10K on his first game is not of interest to you, which is fine. I think many does find it interesting enough.

I know about many of these posts, but I've also been following "studies/posts" including many games, where a range of practical outcomes gives a much better indication of looking at posts about individual games.
Believe me, I know wishlists and sales aren't 1:1, but I do have a decent idea of the medians, high and lows associated with my figures. I just hope (and working towards) mine doesn't come out on the low end. I do have a community including many people who seem very positive and eager to buy, so I'm hoping for a reasonable outcome.