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  Can independent Java game developers make a buck (or two)?  (Read 30550 times)
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Offline princec

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Medals: 362
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #30 - Posted 2009-01-14 10:37:57 »

Financial crisis in 2008 doesn't seem to have affected indie game sales at all. We're still doing crappily of course. We made about $10k last year in total. We have a couple of half-finished games in the pipeline but once again we return to contracting to make some money to live on.

Cas Smiley

Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 50
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #31 - Posted 2009-01-14 11:51:04 »

Financial crisis in 2008 doesn't seem to have affected indie game sales at all. We're still doing crappily of course. We made about $10k last year in total. We have a couple of half-finished games in the pipeline but once again we return to contracting to make some money to live on.

Cas Smiley

Thank you.

Another question:

From what I've seen you release your games as installables. I assume this is some business-model you decided on, but what are your reasons for this? Do you believe there is more demand for download+install games than there are, for example, in-browser games? Why not Applet? Is it because of Javannoyance-dialogs?

Check out the 4K competition @ www.java4k.com
Check out GAMADU (my own site) @ http://gamadu.com/
Offline princec

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« Reply #32 - Posted 2009-01-14 11:53:34 »

Mostly because of the extremely poor applet experience prior to Java 6 Update 10. We are going to start work on applets shortly though.

Cas Smiley

Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline ChrisM

JGO Coder


Medals: 1
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END OF LINE.


« Reply #33 - Posted 2009-01-14 14:56:14 »

prince, it would be interesting to know how the financial crisis in the world has affected sales of indy games, in late 2008.

I know it was asked of Cas, but I'll chime in here as well.

I was having a lengthy discussion with one of my closest friends, who is also a very well known and highly respected person in the games industry globally, about the state of games today.  His comment to me about game pricing was, and I am paraphrasing, "More and more, I find it harder to spend $60 on a game when I can knock off a couple of hours playing some cool casual games from Kongregate and other game portals, for free.  I mean, even if I have to spend $10 or so, I can get 6 good games that are satisfying.  A $60 game has to really offer something special."

I don't know about everyone here, but I am kind of in the same camp.  The economic downturn has only strengthened this sense.  The last full price game I purchased was LittleBigPlanet, because it was worth every penny.  Since we got it on release day, my kids and I have played it, literally, almost every single day.  Christmas break was brutal because I would have to chase them off the PS3 after 5-7 hours....consistently!

Point is, the mass market has turned "casual", which is a misnomer. There is nothing casual about a gamer who plays on casual portals for 1-2 hours a day.  The ubiquity of web access across a variety of platforms has the same result on games that it had on static content and people are dividing their game time up across more devices than ever before.  While the opportunity is there in casual, so is the competition.  Apple just stated this interesting bit of info about iPhone games:

The App Store has gone really well. In 100 days, we’ve had over 6,000 apps on the Store: mind-boggling. In the same period we’ve had over 200 million customer downloads. It’s just amazing. And it’s games that turn out to be the biggest category of all, with over 1,500 different games already available. To put that in context, that’s more games than the Nintendo DS and the PSP put together, and this is 100 days in.

Again, a ton of competition, but also an opportunity.  Small teams can produce have the chance at a large distribution pipe through Steam, iTunes, portals, etc.  You may have to "play ball" with some of them to adhere to their rules but, as with most things in life, sometimes you have to do the things you need to, to do the things you want to.  I think that, for the first time in a long time, independent developers have a good shot at being successful.

Offline appel

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Medals: 50
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I always win!


« Reply #34 - Posted 2009-01-14 15:37:55 »

Encouraging Chris!

Check out the 4K competition @ www.java4k.com
Check out GAMADU (my own site) @ http://gamadu.com/
Offline ryanm

Senior Member


Projects: 1
Exp: 15 years


Used to be bleb


« Reply #35 - Posted 2009-01-14 22:16:19 »

Zounds! A fairly ropey-looking Tank Wars style game is currently pulling in $21000 per day on the iPhone.
Fancy learning objective-C cas? You could knock out any old retro clone, apply the puppygames polish, and you'd be beating the competition like red-headed stepchildren in no time.
Offline princec

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Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #36 - Posted 2009-01-14 22:55:04 »

It's just so utterly fecking annoying that I can't just plonk my Java game straight onto iPhone. I think I won't do it just on principle.

Cas Smiley

Offline Addictman

Senior Member


Medals: 3
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Java games rock!


« Reply #37 - Posted 2009-01-14 23:13:06 »

Have you looked at Android at all? I've wanted to (but putting it off, of course...) look at it. Java, OpenGL-ES, decent looking SDK. Could be a winner.
Offline OverKill

Junior Member




Java games rock!


« Reply #38 - Posted 2009-01-15 07:48:21 »

Zounds! A fairly ropey-looking Tank Wars style game is currently pulling in $21000 per day on the iPhone.
Fancy learning objective-C cas? You could knock out any old retro clone, apply the puppygames polish, and you'd be beating the competition like red-headed stepchildren in no time.
Be wary of this path. Same thing happened with J2ME and look where it is today.

The hype will pass. If you can cope with it, then go for it!
Offline ChrisM

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END OF LINE.


« Reply #39 - Posted 2009-01-15 13:48:58 »

Be wary of this path. Same thing happened with J2ME and look where it is today.

The hype will pass. If you can cope with it, then go for it!

Well, it's not the same thing really.

The problem with J2ME was that it was the tech platform as all game developers were just starting to come to grips with what a mobile phone game should be.  They made games that were wholly inappropriate for a mobile platform, on a tech foundation that was way to early (when I eventually write my book, I will go into detail about I was yelling for things like multi-keypress and sprite support in MIDP 1.0 but was told by the community that games won't be important on mobiles when developers could be writing business apps instead...).  Coupled with the fact that the manufacturers would change the way J2ME worked on their platform due to hardware differentiation, which is the REAL reason J2ME was claimed to be fractured, and you wound up with the market in it's current state.

iPhone game development is more like console development.  You are guaranteed that you game will work on 100% of the iPhone install base, all the time.  Games are being built within the restrictions of the device.  It is very different than the J2ME/BREW/Symbian world.

Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline princec

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Medals: 362
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Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #40 - Posted 2009-01-15 14:07:58 »

It'd be nice if there were a VM for the iPhone though eh?

Cas Smiley

Offline ChrisM

JGO Coder


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END OF LINE.


« Reply #41 - Posted 2009-01-15 15:55:12 »

It'd be nice if there were a VM for the iPhone though eh?

Cas Smiley

Talk to Apple.  No background applications.  It sucks Sad

Offline princec

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Medals: 362
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #42 - Posted 2009-01-15 16:12:22 »

An embeddable one would be fine.

Cas Smiley

Offline bienator

Senior Member




OutOfCoffeeException


« Reply #43 - Posted 2009-01-15 16:30:53 »

just for reference... java on the i{phone,pod touch} works perfectly you "only" have to jailbreak the device, in other words the reasons why there is no java (and flash) on the i* are rather of political or strategical nature than technical or because of limited resources.

Offline princec

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Medals: 362
Projects: 3
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Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #44 - Posted 2009-01-15 16:36:01 »

How do you get it to work without jailbreaking? I don't want a general purpose VM, I just want a binary that I can launch with a stub and run my games (like I do for my Windows deployments)

Cas Smiley

Offline ChrisM

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END OF LINE.


« Reply #45 - Posted 2009-01-15 18:11:29 »

just for reference... java on the i{phone,pod touch} works perfectly you "only" have to jailbreak the device, in other words the reasons why there is no java (and flash) on the i* are rather of political or strategical nature than technical or because of limited resources.

100% correct.  And this VM is full featured, OGL, etc. APPLE!  I'm looking at YOU!

Offline Eli Delventhal

JGO Kernel


Medals: 42
Projects: 11
Exp: 10 years


Game Engineer


« Reply #46 - Posted 2009-01-15 18:40:43 »

As an employee, co-founder, and shareholder of a new independent game development company, I figured I'd chime in here as well.

We've been around for only about 6 months, and as our team only consists of 5 people (at the most at one time, anyway), this isn't long enough for us to have created any AAA titles or even anything as complicated as World of Goo. However, we've been working hard on what we view as the next generation of gaming - a "hardcore casual" game. That is, with the easy pick-up-and play mechanics of modern casual games, but with the production values of bigger games. So like imagine the Spartans from 300 playing hopscotch. Smiley

Anyway, so we have a first playable version of our game for Mac/PC/WiiWare/XBLA, and we're looking for publishers. Because we're short of money and publisher crap takes a long time, we decided to try to make a quick buck on the iPhone.

We only started that this week, and at this point only two of us are working. I'm the programmer. I previously had absolutely no Objective-C experience and hadn't seriously programmed in C or C++ for years. I've already successfully ported about half of my own 2D game engine (sprites, animations, entities, etc.) to the iPhone, needing very little outside help. My one forum question was because I didn't realize I was using OpenGL ES.

My impression of Objective-C? It's wonky. They use really strange sorts of notation to the end that it's pretty clear to me it was created half before C++ and half after. It's like someone who's got on foot in the water and the other one of the beach, and they can't decide whether they want to go in or not. Half the time it uses dot notation, half the time it uses this wacky bracket-based notation. Half the time it has garbage collection and half the time you've got to manage the memory yourself. Half the time you can use parenthetical notation in calling methods, and half the time you can't. Half the time you place variable declarations inside the class, and half the time they go outside. The list goes in.

Plus there are just some odd things, like when you make a constructor you've got to make two methods with identical parameters, except one is static and one isn't. Then the static one calls the instance one, and that's the one you call externally.

The debugging / error reporting in XCode is awful. Typically I can find the line of code that I got an error, but practically never does it say what the error is actually caused by. So you've got to do a lot of Google searching to see how a certain library function can "go wrong." Or you just experiment a lot until you've got it working.

But, despite all this, the fact that I feel like I understand the language right now and I've only been developing in it since Sunday means that it's really not bad. There are things I don't like, sure, but it helps to have a lot of Java code I can just adapt, because I know the logic is sound, I just have to get it to work elsewhere. That's a lot easier than straight up bug fixing right from scratch. Even so, I know that I practically never get syntax or logic errors in Java anymore because I'm so familiar with it, and fixing logic errors will be the same for Objective-C as they are for Java. So eventually I'll have little preference between Java and Objective-C.

By the way, Apple's docs are decent and their source examples are pretty good. XCode is a good IDE, but not as good as some (like Eclipse). In the end I'd recommend messing around with Objective-C if you've got a Mac and you've got time. Alternatively you can spend $600 and get Unity for the iPhone, and then just program in C# or Javascript. Those games typically make a decent amount of money because they're some of the few 3D games that are out there right now. Someone who had a crappy maze game sold it 11,000 times for 0.99, which after Apple gets its cut is about $6,500. I'll bet he made the game in 3 days, no BS; it totally sucks and the even so 11,000 people downloaded it. The market is ripe. Tap it, if you can.

See my work:
OTC Software
Offline Eli Delventhal

JGO Kernel


Medals: 42
Projects: 11
Exp: 10 years


Game Engineer


« Reply #47 - Posted 2009-01-15 22:46:15 »

It makes a difference if you know a way to get your app featured.  Smiley

Also I wasn't referring to a success when I mentioned that maze game above. The guy's game was rated very poorly and wasn't very good at all. Even so, he made himself a hefty chunk of money because people are willing to pay 0.99 and there are so many users.

For those of you who want to try out Objective-C, have a look at this. It's specifically a short Java-to-Objective-C reference card. Very useful.
http://www.mecodegoodsomeday.com/ObjectiveCRef.pdf

See my work:
OTC Software
Offline noblemaster

JGO Ninja


Medals: 20
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Age of Conquest makes your day!


« Reply #48 - Posted 2009-01-15 23:47:58 »

Making $10000 a day is probably rather the exception than the norm. Here some news: this guy created a "whack a mole" clone for the iPhone. He has 800 users but only about 25% of which (200) actually paid for the game... It's far off the 10000s of downloads the top games/applications receive...

http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/r/iPhone/Whack+%27em+All/news.asp?c=10928

Offline Eli Delventhal

JGO Kernel


Medals: 42
Projects: 11
Exp: 10 years


Game Engineer


« Reply #49 - Posted 2009-01-16 03:37:48 »

I'm planning on releasing two versions of the game, almost side-by-side. One is a free version (aka a trial) and the other is the full version. Free games are downloaded significantly more than games that cost (this goes without saying), so if you've got faith that your game is fun, then this is a good way to go.

See my work:
OTC Software
Offline OverKill

Junior Member




Java games rock!


« Reply #50 - Posted 2009-01-16 08:18:30 »

I'm planning on releasing two versions of the game, almost side-by-side. One is a free version (aka a trial) and the other is the full version. Free games are downloaded significantly more than games that cost (this goes without saying), so if you've got faith that your game is fun, then this is a good way to go.
I agree.
Best way to hook people is to give them a free game with little features with which they can build up something. (say a character f.i.)
And then when the time runs out or the features are not enough, they need to buy the full game.

People do not like to lose investments. Be it time or money. And people did invest into their chars.

This is how IMHO the MMO's keep their players attached. The game might not be that great but the investment by the players and the 'community' keep them engaged.

DungeonRunners (NCSoft) does it this way.
Free version: add-driven + less features
Full version: no adds and all features
The cost/month is compared to other games, minimal. (I got 6 months (and a bling gnome) for like € 15)
Offline Eli Delventhal

JGO Kernel


Medals: 42
Projects: 11
Exp: 10 years


Game Engineer


« Reply #51 - Posted 2009-01-16 10:13:03 »

Yeah you lose the investment of your character unless you sell it for real money. :p

I sold my WoW character when I stopped playing for $150.

And I only played for about 4 months.

See my work:
OTC Software
Offline gouessej
« Reply #52 - Posted 2009-01-16 11:49:37 »

It's just so utterly fecking annoying that I can't just plonk my Java game straight onto iPhone. I think I won't do it just on principle.

Cas Smiley
What about XMLVM?  Grin

Offline ewjordan

Junior Member





« Reply #53 - Posted 2009-01-16 18:59:53 »

I agree.
Best way to hook people is to give them a free game with little features with which they can build up something. (say a character f.i.)
And then when the time runs out or the features are not enough, they need to buy the full game.

People do not like to lose investments. Be it time or money. And people did invest into their chars.
FWIW, I wouldn't base an iPhone business strategy on this idea, because Apple has been pretty clear that they won't allow crippled software in the store (if I'm remembering right, an early iPhysics version was rejected for this reason).  You can release free "Lite" versions with less content, but they can't be time limited or "demos" in the usual sense, they have to stand on their own as real applications.

The usual thing seem to be to offer, say, the first 6 levels of your game for free, and then suggest that people buy the full version to get 30 levels, multiplayer, more weapons, etc.  What a lot of people seem to be doing is building up from the lite version to get to the full one rather than trimming down to go the other way, and I think that's actually a bit better for the games, honestly.
Offline Eli Delventhal

JGO Kernel


Medals: 42
Projects: 11
Exp: 10 years


Game Engineer


« Reply #54 - Posted 2009-01-16 19:43:30 »

Yeah, that seems logical. We were planning on doing it based on levels, so that the lite version is just short enough that once you beat it then you find yourself wanting more.

See my work:
OTC Software
Offline ido

Junior Member





« Reply #55 - Posted 2009-04-01 09:06:14 »

Yeah you lose the investment of your character unless you sell it for real money. :p

I sold my WoW character when I stopped playing for $150.

And I only played for about 4 months.

$150 for 4 months (how many hours per week? Probably more than a couple) is a pretty bad ROI Wink

Offline zammbi

JGO Coder


Medals: 4



« Reply #56 - Posted 2009-04-01 10:16:03 »

There's always this to make some money: http://www.getacoder.com/projects/gaming_86.htm?t=java&b=0

Current project - Rename and Sort
Online Cero
« Reply #57 - Posted 2009-04-30 08:57:43 »

If you really want to make money with a game you wrote (indie)
target XBox Arcade, PSN and Nintendo DS

I mean I dont have to remind you of aaaaaaall the crappy flash games that are now availble on those platform. like N(N+), Line Rider and shit

Literally every single crappy successful Flash game comes to NDS eventually

so... try that I would say

Offline Eli Delventhal

JGO Kernel


Medals: 42
Projects: 11
Exp: 10 years


Game Engineer


« Reply #58 - Posted 2009-04-30 18:44:44 »

$150 for 4 months (how many hours per week? Probably more than a couple) is a pretty bad ROI Wink
Well that's assuming I didn't have fun with it. In the end I got to play WoW free for 4 months.

See my work:
OTC Software
Offline markmistry

Junior Member





« Reply #59 - Posted 2009-05-05 16:24:29 »

I hope an indie developer can make a buck or two but i would settle for pennies at a time.i will burn in hell before i put advertising into any of my games or sites.
I suppose the business model you want, how much money you want to pull in and who your targeting, will determine how much you can make.
I used to pay for pc games £40 a time but stopped when i realised that i only played them for a few weeks and got bored of them.
phones are for talking to ppl and sending texts PERIOD, not for games.
I cant believe ppl pay monthly fees to play games thats insane!
my model is simple i try and take money of my opponent and they try to take money of me the host takes a cut for providing a service and the bank takes a cut for finiancial transactions, and at 2 cents a go most ppl should be able to afford it.if you win you get to go again for free and still have the chance to win  Grin
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