This week's episode of IndieGameBusiness™ features long time industry veteran Damon Slye from Mad Otter Studios and Dynamix to talk to us about game development and what it is like running a game studio.
The first part of the podcast truly focuses on Damon’s experience in the industry and how developing games has changed since the 1980’s when he was graduating high school. They go on to discuss that even outside of MMO’s catering to your community in any sort of live service game is extremely important. He goes on to mention that community is an essential part of the process for any developer, especially indie developers. Damon suggests using social media, live streams, etc. to build momentum for your release. He says that if you take care of your community they will spread the word of your game themselves, even suggesting that you should let publishers come to you after some success rather than trying to find a publisher to guarantee success and marketing.
When asked about general advice about game development Damon suggests that as a studio you should not be overly ambitious. Not in the sense that you cannot have dream projects that push boundaries, but more so understand your team and the limits you currently have instead of over scoping the project. He says that you should focus on the features that will make your game a worthwhile project as you can always remove bad features but never get the time back you spent developing them. This goes hand and hand with his advice to make sure that you have time to playtest your game to make sure the features you are adding are actually fun for the player rather than just adding features for the sake of having them.
While this part was short Damon does talk about the writing process and how whoever is a part of the writing process needs to understand the world you are writing for and making sure everything fits into the established writing. Lastly, when asked about the best way to nurture a healthy working environment Damon stated that while it is at the mercy of the personalities in the room it can also be important to encourage collaboration at all times. He also mentions that it is important to have team members who are able to take constructive criticism but that you should also be criticizing the idea not the actual person to avoid conflict.
Community is an integral part of the game development process regardless of the type of game you are trying to create.
If you have a strong community that you take care of and nurture, they will do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to attracting new players simply because you rewarded their loyalty.
When developing a game do not go into development with all these grand ideas, reel in your expectations and understand what you and your team are capable of creating and go from there.
Make sure the game is fun! While more content is great for games today no one is going to be happy if the content you develop is not fun to interact with.
Be open to criticism and promote community in the office as well as with your community. You are all working on a collaborative project together so make it as pleasant as possible while also being productive.
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