What did I learn from 8 years of being a game developer in a third world country? Here’s my perspective about the communities impact and platform dependency.
In this article, I will explain some points to continue the previous article. Here are the things that I’ve learned from my 8 years experience of working as an independent game developer in Indonesia:
What did I learn from 8 years of being a game developer in a third world country? Here's the perspective from Kris Antoni, CEO of Toge Productions.
Don’t Bet on the Government. Bet on Communities
It’s only recently that the Indonesian government took notice of its digital creative industry, games included. And so, their contribution to accelerating growth is still minimal and sometimes problematic as opposed to other countries in the region.
Indonesian game developers can only rely on each other to survive. This unique condition created communities with a strong sense of collaboration. The communities help each other by distributing knowledge, pushes collaboration and partnership, and creating opportunities. All playing a very important role in growing and accelerating Indonesia’s game developer ecosystem. Even more than the Indonesian government itself.
I owe a lot to GameDevID, an online forum that becomes the foundation of Indonesia’s national game developer community. I would not have landed my first game dev job or known other Indonesian game developers if GameDevID did not exist. GameDevID has also become the hub that unites Indonesia’s many regional communities, a crucial platform for sharing information and tracking activities across the country.
Events such as Game Developers Gathering (now known as Game Prime), IN.GAME, Global Game Jam, are all events initiated and organized by communities that made a huge impact on Indonesia’s game industry ecosystem.
Although having government support is great, we must not be dependent on it, or even worse, wait for it to come. Having a healthy, strong, and supportive community is more important than having any kind of government support. It is imperative that we are being active in both national and international communities. Because when your community grows, you’ll grow with it.
So don’t wait, start building your local community, contribute, and collaborate with others to build an even larger network of communities.
Don’t Bind Yourself to Just One Platform
What was impossible in the past, it is now possible for a single person to create and publish their games worldwide on consoles, desktops, and mobile. The games industry is more open today than ever before. Distribution platforms such as Steam, GOG, and mobile app stores have opened their doors to the masses.
Console platforms such as PlayStation and Xbox are actively supporting indie developers. And with tools such as Unity or GameMaker, developers can export their games to various platforms simultaneously with a touch of a button.
With all the opportunities presented, it would be a fool not to at least try and see where you fit in the market. The games you make may fail on the mobile market but it may be successful on Steam, and so does the other way around. If you are lucky, it may even become a hit on all platforms, thus generating more revenue from multiple streams. Your ability to adapt and quickly switch platforms can also mean life or death.
My studio, Toge Productions, started as a Flash game development studio. In 2011, the market conditions changed drastically as Steve Jobs sentenced Flash to death on mobile and Facebook took away all the advertising revenue on the web. Our ability to adapt and survive was tested as Flash game sponsorship dries up. We quickly turned to mobile and released our most popular Flash game, Infectonator, to iOS and Android.
It proved to be the right move as Infectonator reaches over 2 million downloads to date. However, our survival was again tested as the mobile market becomes more and more saturated and highly competitive. This time we turned to Steam and released Infectonator: Survivors, for PC and Mac. Again, it proved to be the right move. So, don’t bind yourself to just one platform, explore and look at other possibilities.
To be continued in Part 3…
Kris Antoni is the CEO of Toge Productions
Edited by Devi