Thursday, May 23, 2013

Creating a multi-language, multi-platform game - the outline

So our first game is a multi-language, multi-platform product. How do you pull that off with close to zero resources and a full-time day job? The list below outlines the most important steps that we've discovered during the last year. You may notice that marketing is missing and that's because we haven't got that far yet. All our users are basically by referal. We also belieive in a rock solid experience before we use the big drums.

Here we go!

  • Find a creative partner - we paired up with Microsoft and took advantage of their BizSpark program. Also their technical evangelists do a hell of a job to inspire us by providing technical excellence. This is the most important step I would say! Especially thanks to Tess Ferrandez (@TessFerrandez) and Peter Bryntesson (@petbry57) who was our first contact with Microsoft! Also there is a lot of other great people helping at Microsoft helping us out.
  • Get local help - to enable multi-language support we started our ambassador program. That means that you as an ambassador can adopt a language and get 10% of revenue generated from that language. We are based in Sweden, we have no concept of what word lists that we can use in Spain. You need someone with a local connection. We manage our contacts with our ambassadors through a private facebook group. Doesn't have to be fancy. Give regular feedback.
  • Don't be alone - start the company with someone else. This will get you motivational support. It's a great feeling to see checkins from other people and to know that the product is moving forward even when you're not in front of the computer.
  • Statistics - Create tracking system or use one of the free available ones, such as PlayHaven. It is absolutly critical that you have a grasp of what your players are doing in your game. This topic is a book on it self.
  • Prepare for a large number of users - if your game is dependent upon a backend then you must design it to be able to scale up to 100 000 daily users. If you don't your pretty much doomed from the beginning. We use a load balanced Azure farm to take care of our gamers.
  • BETA TEST - Always beta test. Even if you're 100% sure that this is the best thing since sliced bread. Force your friends to play it and hang out on forums to drag total strangers into your beta process. The strangers are usually the best critics since they have no connection to you what so ever. Remember to listen to everyone, but you always have the last say yourself.
  • Documentation - Fire up a wiki to share info among developers and make sure to document as you go along. We used a simple prepackaged azure website and incentive. Free for up to three users.
  • Blog - Write about your experiences to get a distance to what you are doing.
I'm sure I've forgotten something, but hey, I can always add it later on.

If you're an indie developer yourself I would love to here your comments on this!

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