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Xannax

I agree with almost every point in this article, and I find it very interesting.
I have only one gripe regarding your last piece of advice (the "simple todo's"). I am currently developing an indie game, and I was, expectedly, going for your "don't do this" scenario. I am convinced after reading your article that this might not be the right way to go; but I can't apply the todo list.
Here is why:

1) I am coding on my spare time, and it is scarce. I spend sleepless nights working on my game, but development still progresses very slowly. There is no way I can liberate the time and energy resources to maintain a blog, a forum, or an active website about it. Specially not if I have to "expect resistance" and keep at it. I have a strong suspicion that this might be the case for a lot of indie devs out there.

2) If the process you describe was to happen naturally, it would be okay. For example: Let's say I have a blog such as yours (unrelated: reading your posts in the morning with my coffee is one of my daily good moments), that discusses issues around videogaming, and I gathered a following, then decided to build a game around the ideas discussed in comments, that would be fine. But going the other way around, in other words *planning* the gathering of the community, I just can't do. It demands a level of cynicism that I just don't possess. I don't mean to say that doing it would be evil, just that I can't. On the (not-so-)long run, I would get tired of speaking with people with an ultimate goal in mind (as opposed as talking with people for the sake of talking).

I guess what I mean to say is I consider your todo list more like a lost of "how things would ideally happen" and not like a strategic plan, since it's a strategy that is flawed as soon as it is a "strategy" and not an "impulsive move" (as far as I am concerned).

I would like to see how your todo list translates in real-world with an example of a game, existing or not (I realize this might be very long to explain, so this is not a request).

Tadhg

Hi Xannax,

Have you considered setting up the blog and community instead of developing? I.e. take a break from working on the game and take the time to find out whether it seems to be going in the right direction or not?

On your second point, I don't think that community finding and building is cynical. It's passionate. Any community will sense if you're faking it just to build up buzz, so you actually have to be honest and build toward something you care about, whatever that may be.

You are right that my simple to-do list is pithy. The reality is that the exact order and steps is different for each project. Just as all tribes are different, so too all approaches are different.

There are many examples of companies that have used some or all of these ideas. Cliff Harris, for example, or Erepublik. Runescape or Introversion. Nobody's done it perfectly because 'perfect' doesn't exist in this context.

Thanks!

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