Twitter Chat Recap: The Inside Scoop on Indie Devs

Seven representatives from Indie studios join us to offer industry insights and tips for indie fans and developers.

A Twitter Chat, or TweetChat, is a real-time Twitter event focused around a specific topic. It's a chance to learn from industry subject matter experts and interact with people with similar interests in an informal way. Co-hosted by Kickapoo Joy Juice, our Indie Dev Extravaganza Twitter Chat featured six indie studios. This article is a recap of our Twitter Chat and highlights the thoughts and expertise of those who participated.

The Participants

Salmi Games 

Based in Munich, Germany, Salmi Games recently released EllipsisYacine Salmi, one half of the two-man team, represented Salmi Games and gave us some great advice. The game is available for purchase for iOS and Android

Trouble Impact

Located in Austin, TX, Cat Musgrove and Issam Khalil are working on a release version of Color Thief. For more information, check out this interview with Trouble Impact.  

Fat Panda Games

Located in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, Fat Panda Games has created multiple titles including Flat Kingdom (available for purchase on Steam for Mac and PC) and Lobo with Shotguns. Gerardo Garcia, Director of Fat Panda Games, joined us to answer some questions. 

Clockwork Giant Games

Based in Madison, WI, Clockwork Giant Games is currently working on Vulpine. The game was successfully Greenlit by the Steam community and is now on Kickstarter

Fishing Cactus

Located in Mons, Belgium, the Fishing Cactus team has created multiple games and recently released Epistory: Typing Chronicles -- now available for purchase on Steam. Sophie Schiaratura, Fishing Cactus' PR manager, joined us to chat. 

Frogdice Studios

Based in Lexington, KY, Frogdice Studio has created multiple games, including Threshold RPG. They are currently working on Stash, a new spin on MMORPGs. Michael Hartman, CEO of Frogdice, joined us for his second Twitter Chat. 



The Inside Scoop 

...work together, but we still make an effort to go out and interact with people on a regular basis. We do indie meetups & work with other indies at coffee shops. Stay social or you will have issues, especially if you’re an introvert! (Personally, working alone so much gave me BIG problems with anxiety, so I know this one from experience.)

Indies' success story have a rose tinted glasses vision of how they succeeded ("Work hard")

...without noticing small technical details and trying to reverse engineer everything.

"Haha yeah Ruins a bit of the mystery when you notice the tricks of the trade. Still hasn't kept me from enjoying a game though :)" - Clockwork Giant 

Also don't forget the last 10% takes 90% of the effort :p

...of free game engines, and some of it don't even require that you know how to program. If you’re past that stage and want to go full time, have a plan for where your livelihood is going to come from because it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll make money from your first (maybe any???) of your games.

Learn how to do your own accounting/taxes, knowing the flow of your money is critically important. "Tax deductible" does not mean it's OK to spend the money. Learn how to program, either C++ or C#. It's hard to learn from scratch, but you need that basic knowledge. Learn how art/design work, what tools are used, what are the rules. Get knowledge to offer constructive criticism.

Don't do premium mobile games from the start, the amount of work to get noticed cost too much initially. Don't listen to indie success stories, look for indie's failure and try to learn things to avoid.

Take some time to polish up a prototype or two. It's great practice for becoming better at presentation and usability!

...to meet new people when you’re working at home. You can even start meeting other indies @ local events before you start.


...setback. Making sure they know why it happened and what we’re going to do about it for the future.

We do our best to make sure we're ok money-wise & we’re not sinking into debt as we take longer on the game. We also stay as as open as possible with our followers about what's going on.


...get tunnel-vision when you’re developing something for so long, and start to question everything. When you actually see people playing it, it’s a reminder of why you’re putting in so much time, & that people actually want to play it. My other answer is setting short term goals. Again, b/c we’ve been working on the game for so long, it can feel like this big, amorphous blob - but breaking it down into small parts makes it feel much more manageable.

Adding some polish to the game, like a better UI, helps a lot. It allow you to start visualizing the end.

...feedback. We try to foster community by giving them a place to share ideas, enthusiasm and fanart.

We work with Let's Player that are fans, giving them an early access and answering questions during their stream.

Since we’re in Austin, there are a lot of local events and we’ve started to recognize some players &build a relationship. All of our streamers so far have been people we’ve met at conventions! We also keep a dev blog that we update weekly. (Although the blog is a little hard to find unless you're looking for it - I'd like to make it easier to stumble upon.)

 That’s what the super secret newsletter is for. :D

But basically just try to be fair.

...can change. If you like the idea but the execution is a little lacking, consider giving the game another chance.

It's the same for a AAA game but for an indie game it will look a lot more rough. Try to preview the gameplay mechanic, the experience that the game is trying to offer. Is it something that will be new, that is worth the time to discover? When reviewing, keep in mind that indies game are not targeting the mass market, they are trying to offer a new experience that is currently not served by the AAA studios. In that way, focusing on the new experience should be what's important, versus things expected of AAA games.

This often makes them less featured than AAA games, but it allows them to be more unique.

...As well as inviting indie devs to give their perspective on current events.

As a developer, don´t just turn yourback on reviews, but learn to listen the ones that matter.

"This applies to Streamers and YouTubers with Press Kits as well. Even if it's just saying that a game is 'not your style' to show." - @ArkisVir

The single best thing you can do for an indie dev is make sure you always are open with them. Telling people lies, is basically false advertising the game. Indies don't have marketing budgets to counteract lies.

You don't have to sell it, but you can help other people know about a game they might like. Fan art!!! Emails/Tweets saying you like the game!! Seeying/reading that people like your work motivate us a lot!

We hoped you learned a lot from this week's Twitter Chat! Are you an indie developer or an indie fan with your own answers to these questions? Let us know what you think in the comments below! 

Published Aug. 29th 2016
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