Tuesday, 7 July 2015

From dev to dev: tips for promoting indie games with 0 budget from Daniel Steer, developer of Terra Incognita

We had a little chat with Super-Developer Daniel Steer, creator of Terra Incognita. He was very nice and kind sharing with us a few trips and tricks about 0 budget marketing. So, pay attention, dear game makers.


1. So far, what is the game you are most proud of and why?

I'm proud of this game because it is actually my first solo commercial release. After years of working on other games, in small or larger teams and really not enjoying having to work towards other peoples ideas and goals. Terra is in mid beta and is getting great feedback. 0 Negative reviews on Steam and a nice little niche following. I've built a really deep, lengthy story line. I love writing and building an RPG on this scale allows me to write a giant story in a great big universe. I love it!


2. Can you tell us, for the developers out there, how did you promote it? Or give out your 3 best tips for promoting an indie game with 0 budget.

1. Make friends - Build a contact list!
Start building a contact list, don't just spam message game-media journalists. Actually try and build a good relationship with as many of these as you can. Keep in touch, don't spam. It's personally taken me years to get a contact list of around 140, I really try to keep in touch, maintain positive relationships and have become good friends with a few of these contacts. 'Be a nice guy' (or lady, of course) Don't be abrasive or get upset when people critique your game/s. Because it will happen.

2. Never underestimate the power of social media marketing!
Social media marketing is key for building a fan base around your game, Learn to use hash tags properly, target your audience, again don't just spam. Giveaways can give gamers and users an incentive to stick around and come back to your page again.

3. Work damn hard. Don't give up.
A friend and great game developer once said to me "Your game is cool, it's just cool, so stop being a pussy and worrying about what some people think and get back to work. Go and finish the damn game!" ​

Players, gamers, writers, bloggers, journalists and even friends WILL criticise your work eventually, thank them for their feedback, go into your room and scream into your pillow. Always try and keep in mind, you will never please everyone. A big part of being an indie developer for me personally, is making the type of game that I want to exist. The games I make are almost extensions of myself, the games I played growing up and nostalgia constantly inspire me. When I'm having a shit day, or someone says my game sucks, I push on. It makes me work harder.
If someone posts something that really gets you mad, that upsets or you strongly disagree with, remain polite, heck! Thank them for their feedback and move on. ​ If you don't love making games and enjoy it, you probably shouldn't be an indie developer. Passion and the love is what should fuel you, don't give in, don't give up! 

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