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Johnson Harald

Very timely couple of posts here, Tadhg. I was going to comment on "Facebook is Over" but this is even better. Here goes...

First, I am relatively new to gaming, run a 2-person indie game-publishing shop (farm out all programming), and am not even close to being in the league that most of you apparently are; more like 19th-Tier! But I have a plan for building and extending my brand across multiple platforms, and I'm hard at work on it.

One of my latest experiments is with my new Facebook App game/contest ("Alphabetography Photo Challenge") that is growing 500% GOG (game-over-game). It's a unique seasonal game (4 games annually), and I've recently started my third "Summer" game. If you're interested, I'll put the FB link at bottom.

Other than the 'don't start a new game on Facebook' thoughts with which I disagree, I agree with a lot of this commentary. Especially when Tadhg says: "...your first and most important job is to make a game that will resonate with the audience..." and "They want to have fun, and means doing strange and interesting things compared to that which they already know..."

For me, that means: understanding very well who my audience is and what they are already used to seeing/doing/knowing, and then "getting a bit crazy" and offering them something different. In my case, the audience is photo enthusiasts, and I'm offering via the Alphabetography Photo Challenge on Facebook something with which they are familiar (photo contests) but adding concepts and game mechanisms that they have never seen. I believe that I have created a game (I call it a "Challenge") that is unique in the world (and if you can find contrary evidence, please tell me) but that is, at the same time, firmly based on existing and proven concepts. I've just taken the risk (financial and otherwise) to step out more and take a few more chances. I'm servicing my niche (photography) in a unique way and on a platform (Facebook) that brings to bear all the social hooks and power that I think only Facebook can offer me at this early stage. And while this is not Cityville, the response and engagement is gratifying to see.

So like Tadhg suggests, I'm changing the world in my small way. I'm not monetized with Alphabetography yet, but that's another story for another time ;-)


P.S. If you're interested, here's the link:
(you need a FB account and click on "Allow" permissions to see it)
Submit some photos... you might win a prize! :)

Laura Bularca

Hi Tadhg,

I have a problem with your articles: I don't know which one I like best. So far, my vote went to "Minecraft and the question of luck", but this one is better and more inspiring for me.

I currently have a passion project that I am working on together with some friends. We're going through the exact same problem you are describing and I am trying to convince them that we must complete our game because of our love and passion, not because we want to earn cash. Ultimately, it is the passion that we all share that holds the best chances of success, but I personally quantify this success as my ability to feel proud of what we did, that we told the world what we wanted to tell and that my soul is satisfied with that.

It's a hard vision to promote, though, especially when almost everything in our life is governed by money and when everybody in our team is a grown-up with families to feed and a gazzilion of problems on our heads. I think people like us need as many examples as possible, to go ahead hoping and knowing that, if you provide something of value, people will pay you for it. Minecraft, WoG, Braid, Limbo - now there are many examples that can help us, but compared to the number of indie games that are launched, I think the percentage of success is low.

So I think we may need more help from you: how can we learn to acknowledge and handle the idea that we can fail, that, in truth, there is no such thing as safe risk? I am thinking that somehow, we simply need to develop our first game for some reasons other than commercial success. I honestly don't think about money and success at all, but perhaps my attitude is a bit too idealistic and not recommended. What can I do?

I am pretty sure you have more advice, and way better one than I can ever find. I hope you'll find the time to answer me, perhaps even through another article.


Hi Laura,

Thanks for the fantastic praise. I think it's a lesson only really learned by doing. I know several successful indie developers who have pushed through the pain, and really it just comes down to resilience and dedication.

If you want something to read for your team, I suggest picking up a copy of 'The Dip' by Seth Godin, which talks about both learning to fail fast but also learning how to stay in when all around seems desperate.

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