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I'm still cranking away on Super Chibi Knight. I got the alpha pretty polished up and am now adding more NEW content.
I've been sending tweets and emails around to various press type people to ask them to check out the game and help get the word out. I feel a little lame "begging" for exposure, but I don't know how to "go viral" unless I put myself out there. 100% of un-asked-for help never happens. Responses have been varied. I'll post a couple of the "less-productive" responses I've received for your enjoyment.
1. I tweeted Tommy from Team Meat to ask for some advice on making a successful indie game. His response: "Make a good game."
I guess I should be grateful that he responded at all, considering he's "hot stuff" now with the success of Super Meat Boy, but I hope someone kicks me in the rear if I ever get to the point where I think that's "good" advice. Of course I'm trying my best to make a "good game," it's kind of insulting to assume I hadn't thought of that. I guarantee that Super Meat Boy's success was not solely due to it being a "good" game. They hustled their butts off to make connections and even *gasp* relied on fellow indies and media people to help them out and give them good advice and exposure when they asked.
I know busy people don't have time to write out long-winded responses, but maybe point me to a useful website, or an indie-friendly blogger or review site. Take 2 seconds and look at my tweets and see how serious I am about what I'm doing. Maybe tell me "make a game in black and white!"
I'm promising myself now that, if I ever get some small modicum of success, I'll try to be respectful and helpful to people who reach out to me. You can be busy and still be nice.
2. I contacted someone at a popular indie games blog who actually seemed pretty nice about checking out SCK. I got him set up with a password to play the demo and assumed he was in and having fun. He later wrote me and said he couldn't get past the VERY FIRST EXTREMELY SIMPLE "puzzle" (I hesitate to even call it that because it's more of a tutorial than anything else) So he stopped after 10 seconds (he had to slash a pile of garbage into bits). I was so astounded I thought he was joking, but eventually helped him get through it (this is someone who reviews hundreds of games a year). He then said the over-world map was too laggy to be playable... mind you I have been running an alpha test with thousands of testers and NOT ONE has complained about the intro puzzle or main map lag... I asked him what kind of specs his machine has, and it's a super powerful gaming rig twice as fast as my test laptop... So, finally, he never ended up writing about it saying he doesn't usually write about games that don't have a public demo... (since then he's written about at least 3 games that aren't publicly available).
So, either I'm extremely unlucky and he had a perfect storm of problems, or I was getting trolled... I'm bummed about it because his blog has a lot of readers, but I have no clue what was going wrong with him that wasn't with all the other testers.
3. A couple small-time indie blogs have written articles, but I get the feeling they're using me for the views I've been sending them more than the other way around ha ha :-P
Overall I think the "indie" community is a tough one to break into. I guess if it were easy, there would be a lot more people doing it. However, I think those who have made it could be more helpful to those coming up and not make it feel like an exclusive clique. Let's not all turn into Phil Fish :-D
Development dilemma: I think I made a mistake in the size I chose for SCK. When playing fullscreen, the main character takes up a lot of the screen and the lack of real-estate is pretty limiting... BUT I've already drawn like 30+ backgrounds to fit that size so I'm kind of stuck. At this point, I'm just chalking it up to a lesson learned for my next game. Having the main char. so big makes it feel more cartoony and quirky, so maybe it works...
Cardinal Rule: TEST FULL SCREEN WHILE STILL PROTOTYPING!
Here are a couple pics showing changes I made to the alpha recently (some blockages to harder areas and highlighting quest destinations on the mini map).
Let me know what you think about all the venting I just did!