We’re the Reality Council. There’s two of us. We make games.
Tell us a bit about your games?
So far we’ve released a couple of web-based distractions: Obtain Hats for Glory! tinyurl.com/obtainhats and Stop! Engage Muffin Contraption! tinyurl.com/muffincontraption. Our main project right now is Dragonfly, a first-person adventure-RPG for Android devices.
How did you get into independent video games?
I’m not sure it’s something you need to ‘get into’, really: literally anyone can make video games. You could be making a video game, right now! Our intention behind starting a studio was to move up from hobbyist development to creating real, viable products, while simultaneously evading the clutches of a real job.
Why do you think that indie developers find it such a struggle? Is it possible to make a profit, or is it just an element of luck?
It’s definitely possible to make a profit – just look at Mojang or Rovio – but there are so many factors to take into account that it can look like sheer luck sometimes. There’s been an explosion of new people coming into the scene in the past couple of years, so it’s very competitive at the moment. Standing out can be hard, especially if your game is part of an established genre (although ‘niche’ genres can be profitable if handled carefully). And I think a lot of indies underestimate how much work it takes to promote their stuff, and tend to under-think the boring fiddly realities of QA and distribution.
What do you think is needed to make indie games a success? What works, and what doesn’t?
The big strength of being independent is that you can have a direct connection with your audience, in a way that you maybe can’t when there’s a publisher or a PR guy standing in the way. Use that connection. Talk to the people who are playing your game: find out what they like, what they don’t like, what’s annoying or confusing or dull, and what stuff really excites or intrigues them. Understand how your audience sees your game, and use that understanding to improve it.
Of course, to get that audience in the first place, you need to make yourself visible. Get on Twitter and Facebook and Reddit and talk about your game – you’ll find the people who are excited about it. Oh, and you need to exploit the press whenever possible.