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The Indie Game Developer Handbook

Book Description

The indie game developer’s complete guide to running a studio.

The climate for the games industry has never been hotter, and this is only set to continue as the marketplace for tablets, consoles and phones grow. Seemingly every day there is a story of how a successful app or game has earned thousands of downloads and revenue. As the market size increases, so does the number of people developing and looking to develop their own app or game to publish. The Indie Game Developer Handbook covers every aspect of running a game development studio—from the initial creation of the game through to completion, release and beyond.

    • Accessible and complete guide to many aspects of running a game development studio from funding and development through QA, publishing, marketing, and more.
    • Provides a useful knowledge base and help to support the learning process of running an indie development studio in an honest, approachable and easy to understand way.
    • Case studies, interviews from other studies and industry professionals grant an first-hand look into the world of indie game development

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. Contents
  5. Indie Game Development
    1. The Best Job in the World!
  6. 1 Development Tools and Resources
    1. Game Development Systems
      1. Unity
      2. GameMaker Studio
      3. Unreal Engine 4
      4. Construct 2
      5. Clickteam Fusion
      6. Game Salad
      7. App Game Kit
      8. Marmalade
      9. Cocos2d-x
      10. Corona
      11. Flash
    2. Art and Design Resources
    3. Audio Resources
    4. Outsourcing
      1. Outsourcing Agreements
      2. Outsourcing Notes From a Freelancer Perspective
    5. Development Tools and Resources
      1. Microsoft BizSpark
      2. Adobe Creative Cloud
    6. My Software Kit List
    7. Image Compression Tools
    8. Case Study—Creating a Prototype in Unity
      1. Development Diary—Part One
      2. Development Diary—Part Two
    9. Developing Our First Unity Game
  7. 2 Self-Publishing
    1. Base Game Projects
    2. Publishing on PC
      1. Playable Free Alpha Demo
      2. Early Access Release
      3. Installers
      4. DRM
      5. Selling a PC Game
      6. Direct Sales
      7. Bundles
    3. Publishing on Game Portals
      1. Key Portals
      2. Other Portals to Consider
      3. Publishing on Steam
    4. Publishing on the PlayStation Network
      1. Concept Approval
      2. Development Kits
      3. Age Ratings
      4. Translations
      5. QA Submission
      6. Product Codes
      7. Financials
      8. Pricing and Promotions
    5. Publishing on Nintendo
      1. Concept Approval
      2. Development Kits
      3. Age Ratings
      4. Translations
      5. QA Submission
      6. Product Codes
      7. Financials
      8. Pricing and Promotions
    6. Publishing on Xbox
      1. ID@Xbox
    7. Publishing on Apple
      1. iOS Development
      2. Mac Development
      3. Mac App Store
    8. Publishing on Android
      1. Google Play
      2. Amazon App Store
      3. SlideME
      4. Amazon Fire
      5. OUYA
      6. GameStick
      7. Nook
    9. Partnering With Games Publishers
      1. Devolver Digital
      2. Midnight City
      3. Thumbstar
      4. Ripstone
      5. Chillingo
      6. DotEmu
    10. Points to Consider When Approaching a Publisher
      1. Revenue Split
      2. Payment Terms
      3. Intellectual Property Rights (IP)
      4. Ports to Other Devices
      5. What Will They Do?
      6. One Final Thing
    11. Post-Mortems
      1. Life of Pixel—Our First PC and Mac Launch
      2. Our Android Console Experiences So Far
      3. The Indoor Pub Games Sports World PlayStation®Vita Post-Mortem
      4. A PSP Minis Adventure
  8. 3 QA, Localisations and Age Ratings
    1. QA Bug Tracking
      1. Bug Tracking Software
      2. Working With External QA
      3. Language Translations
      4. Age Ratings
  9. 4 PR and Reaching Out to the Press
    1. Game Icon
    2. Tagline—A One-Sentence Description of the Game
    3. Descriptive Paragraph Describing the Game in Further Detail
    4. Closing Line ‘Call-to-Action’
    5. Bullet Point Feature List
      1. Bullet Point Basics
    6. Marketing Keywords
    7. Copywriting Tips
      1. Learn by Example
      2. Start Sentences With Action Verbs
      3. Use Active Voice
      4. Economize Your Words
      5. Limit Jargon
      6. Keep Sentences Short
    8. Press Releases
      1. A Good Press Release Needs a Good Headline
      2. First Paragraph
      3. Second Paragraph
      4. Last Paragraph Call-to-Action
      5. Important Points to Remember
    9. The Press Kit
      1. Company Bio
      2. Press Release
      3. Fact Sheet
      4. Logos
      5. Banner Art
      6. Screenshots
      7. Videos
    10. Press Distribution Services
      1. GamesPress
      2. GameRelease.net
      3. prMac
      4. SoftPress Release
      5. Games Press Release Distribution Service at Mitorah Games
    11. Tier One Services
      1. distribute()
    12. Who Should You Contact?
      1. Rock, Paper, Shotgun
      2. Indie Games
      3. TIGSource
      4. Indie Game Magazine
      5. Pixel Prospector
      6. The Indie Mine
    13. YouTubers Are the New Games Press
      1. Monetization Worries
      2. Let’s Play
      3. Twitch
    14. Reviews and Press Coverage
      1. Follow-up on Reviews and Online Articles
    15. Tools and Resources
      1. Promoter
      2. Google Alert
      3. MailChimp
      4. Sendy
      5. YMLP
  10. 5 Marketing
    1. Know Your Market
      1. What Are Your Unique Selling Points (USPs)
      2. Start Your Marketing Early
    2. Marketing Checklist
      1. Press Releases
      2. YouTube
      3. Twitter
      4. Facebook
      5. Tumblr
      6. Company Website
      7. Product Website
      8. User Ratings
      9. RSS Feeds
      10. ModDB/IndieDB
      11. Screenshot Saturday
      12. Slidely
      13. Digg
      14. Competitions and Free Giveaways
      15. Crowd Funding Increases Visibility
      16. Steam Greenlight
      17. Reddit
      18. Conferences, Festival Contests and Game Jams
    3. Analytics
      1. App Annie
      2. Flurry
      3. Swrve
      4. Apmetrix
    4. Marketing Tools
      1. Buffer
      2. Social Mention
      3. IceRocket
      4. CrowdBooster
      5. Marketing Grader
      6. Inbound Writer
      7. HootSuite
      8. Google Analytics
      9. Klout
      10. SurveyMonkey
  11. 6 Advertising
    1. Advertising Channels
      1. Reddit
      2. Project Wonderful
      3. BuySellAds
      4. iSocket
      5. Google Adwords
      6. Facebook
    2. Banner Sizes
    3. Mobile Advertising
    4. Ad Networks
      1. Google Admob Ads
      2. Apples’ iAd
      3. Applovin
      4. Chartboost
      5. RevMob
      6. Tapjoy
      7. Upsight (Formerly Playhaven)
  12. 7 Websites, Forums and Source Control
    1. Company Website
      1. WordPress Themes
      2. WordPress Optimization
      3. Web Caching Plugins
      4. Anti-Spam Plugins
    2. Landing Pages
    3. Discussion and Support Forums
    4. Source Control
  13. 8 Funding
    1. An Introduction to Funding
      1. Friends and Family
      2. Angel Investor
      3. Professional Investor
      4. Find a Mentor
      5. Attend Events and Meetings
    2. The Due Diligence Process
      1. Support Organizations
      2. Further Reading
    3. Sources of Funding
      1. Early Access/Alpha Funding
      2. Abertay University Prototype Fund
      3. Business Angels
      4. Venture Capital
      5. Digital Capital
      6. Game Incubators and Accelerators
      7. Crowdfunding
      8. Games Publishers
      9. Platform Holders
      10. Development Grants
      11. Regional Growth Funds
      12. Festivals and Contest Prizes
      13. Production Tax Credits
      14. Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credits
  14. 9 Tax, Legal and Other Odds and Ends
    1. Looking After Your IP
      1. Identifying Rights in Interactive Media Businesses
      2. IP Holding Companies
    2. Withholding Taxes
    3. Game Legal Text
      1. Registered Trademarks
    4. Business Consultancy and Agency Representation
      1. Arise, Games Consultancy Services!
  15. Index