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  • Launch Day Depression (And Why I'm Over It)

    [06.25.20]
    - Thomas Brush
  • After five years of solo-development, I launched my first commercial release Pinstripe on Steam in 2017. So much mental and emotional energy went into Pinstripe, and I've kind of blocked out the turmoil that went into it. You might think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. I'm trying to be more honest lately and that's me being honest. 

    For my next major release, Neversong, things feel a bit different. Actually, they feel a lot different. My hope in writing this is to give indie game devs perhaps a few pointers, and even some hope, that game development doesn't have to be a miserable nightmare. 

    From securing partnerships to more reasonable revenue expectations, I've matured into a level-headed indie game dev, just in time for Neversong's launch. By the time you're reading this, it's hit Steam, and hopefully you'll give it a shot and enjoy it (it's 15% off cough cough). As for me, I'm already working on my next project, drinking beer, listening to lofi, and grateful just to be making games, regardless of Neversong's performance. So, here are three reasons why I'm not a miserable mess this time around:

    This is me right now. Promise.

    Reliable Income Streams

    Most indie game devs out there are basically gambling. We spend our time throwing money (remember, time is money) at a project we think miiiiiggghhhhtt be successful, but for many of us, turns out to be a money pit. And it's addicting too, isn't it? Dreaming of becoming the next Edmund McMillen, Notch, or Jonathan Blow. In 2014, making and selling indie games was so much easier than it is now. With only 1,771 games released in 2014 on Steam, over 9,000 games were released in 2018. According to Kotaku, the average solo game dev in 2014 made about $11,812. Indie teams faired a bit better with $50,833. I can't imagine it's gotten any better 6 years later. In fact, I'm sure it's become exponentially worse considering the amount of competition.

    This is the sad reality.

    After Pinstripe's mediocre release, I knew I needed a reliable source of income, generated almost automatically, if I was to make it through Neversong's development without going absolutely crazy. I remember putting together a pie chart on my garage office white board, and crossing my fingers that it would work. It has, actually.

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