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One developer and two months: avoiding Kickstarter by creating and selling a smaller game

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Orangepixel has been a full-time one-man indie-developer since 2004, creating games that range between the 4 month and 9 month development cycles. Creating games for a niche, and loyal, group has allowed Orangepixel to “survive” all the indie-pocalypse events that people have been crying about for close to 13 years.  All that without any real “hit” titles but good business sense, budget control and probably some luck.

My next game was supposed to be AshWorld, a Mad Max inspired open-world-action-adventure-rogue-like, and it’s a big game for just one guy. Funny side note, it’s also in a genre I normally don’t enjoy as gamer or never created a game in.. Guess I wanted a challenge!

It’s currently nearing the 10th month development, and far from completed..  To get some extra funding I decided to ignore services like Kickstarter, and in all my foolishness, I instead created another game: on a very tight budget.

Why not Kickstart it?

Why I didn’t go for Kickstarter? Simply because it’s not an easy thing to do, running a kickstarter campaign requires a lot of weeks preparation, coming up with a lot of interesting rewards for backers, and then IF you manage to get funded, you need to invest more time (and some of your funded money) into fulfilling those rewards.  A lot of work for just one guy, and while running that campaign, I wouldn’t be working on the new game or create any revenue-streams (especially if the kickstarter would fail).

So I came up with a solution that plays to my strengths:  develop a game, available on multiple platforms, with the only goal: create enough funding to add a few more months of development to Ashworld.

The results will surprise you…!

Pardon my click-bait heading there, but the result just might surprise you. So for this to work, I had to create a game that had a very short development cycle, because the more hours put into the game the more money it burns and has to make back in return.  Meganoid is the game I created in close to two months time, if you don’t mind me comparing it to known titles, it would be the love child of Meatboy and Spelunky, made in space.

The game sells at a decent budget price for $4.99/£3.99 on Steam(Windows, Mac, Linux), iOS and Android.  It’s a challenging platformer with rogue-like elements, giving a lot of replay-value due to the procedurally generated environments resulting in a different gameplay every time you start. It provides multiple hours of gameplay, and has been entertaining early-access players for close to two weeks on daily sessions.. and they all have yet to unlock everything there is to unlock.

It’s not a small game, it’s just a game developed on a very tight-budget.


Meganoid was released today (March 30th – Press release available here), and it’s not yet certain if my gamble will pay-off.

Pre-orders and Android Early Access have so far generated about a 10th of the revenue-goal set, the first reviews are dripping in with 9/10 ratings, and player-feedback has so far been nothing but positive, so there is hope!

Perhaps I found a personal alternate answer for Kickstarter as funding? We’ll know in a few weeks time, and you can chat me up and ask about it if you want!

For now I’ll be back working on Ashworld.

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  • YankeeBlue000

    So does that Meganoid(2017) will be abandoned soon without any extra content or updates because all the proceeds to this game are going to the development of the other game. Sounds like a quick cash-grab hustle.lol. I guess that’s the nature of the beast. Btw I’m enjoying Meganoid(2017). I think it needs a lil work. Like some ares that are not visible on screen lead to death. Or being trapped in an area where the only way out is a bomb that leads to more death. I know you’re dedicated so I know you’ll work it out. Thank you. Meganoid Reloaded or Extreme or 3 or Forever or Hardcore might work instead’ve (2017)

    • I always push a couple of updates after I release a game, and then I move on to the next game. Nothing “money-grabbing” about that, you get what you pay for: a full game at a budget price, the game I had in mind and created.

      None of my games are “Services” because then I would go free2play with in-app-payments and need a lot of people to create a lot of content, that’s the only way those games can survive (that and millions of dollars in marketing).

      Kinda offended that you call a simple cash-grab or the nature of the beast, not sure who in the story is the beast.. me? game developers in general?

      If you want a huge game that keeps getting updates and content then you also pay $15 – $50 for the game, AND you get to pay for all the DLC added.

      As for the lil-work, I’m checking a bunch of forums, sites, reviews and comments and collect all the feedback. Based on that, there will be changes/fixes in coming updates.

      • YankeeBlue000

        Didn’t mean to offend you. It’s just how it sounds in the article. Put anything out. Take the profits invest in another game. It just seems like you’re going to turn you’re back on something that people might really like and have spent money on or that you’re going to bamboozle people into thinking you put you’re heart and soul into this game when you really didn’t care for it. That’s when the game suffers and the gamers and customers loose out. Never mind future content or dlc’s as long as I don’t get a broken game and future updates for at least bug fixes & maintenance to a certain extent. The beast is the business side of making games or the industry
        Anyway aside from a few Lil things here & there, I’m really enjoying the game. I like this better than the first, but I really did like the avatar from the first

        • James O’Neill

          You seem to have a very warped and self-entitled view of what video games, not just indie games, should be.

          You’re not entitled to a life-time of new content. You’re not even entitled to bug fixes, though I know orangepixel will fix anything they can.

          • YankeeBlue000

            Huh!? I’m not entitled to anything but a game that works and if it doesn’t a refund. I think everyone is entitled their money back for something that doesn’t work. That’s not the case here, it’s not about that or you

          • James O’Neill

            “Huh!? I’m not entitled to anything”

            Great, go tell that to “YankeeBlue000 • 5 hours ago”. They seem to think if a developer doesn’t release content updates to an already released game then it must be a “quick cash-grab hustle”.

          • YankeeBlue000

            What are to talking about?.😣. Lol. I wasn’t really talking about the content. It’s not the point Are you high? Read the rest of the thread. It’s more about a lot of dev’s these days, especially indie ones who are arogant and spoiled and who feel that they are entitled to people’s money, praise, adoration, attention, respect, and positive recognition of any and every piece of digital content they create without any negative feedback or backlash and now since you stepped into the conversation I’m reminded also of the “BLINDLY DEVOTED” fanboys who empower them to feel and act this way.

            So in my opinion being trapped in trapped in a area where the only way out is bomb that leads to more death being part of the game sounds ridiculous to me. There should be another option. Are the bombs unlimited?

            Anyway you seem bored and have nothing better to do than to argue, but you must feel that you’re being helpful to the Dev in some way that you feel that you’re entitled to jump into a conversation that you have no business getting involved in.

          • YankeeBlue000

            You have a wonderful life.

          • YankeeBlue000

            Just one more thing. I don’t get why you even bother with something so moot. I already apologized to the Dev and explained to him that it was a misunderstanding before you came galloping in to the rescue. Do you lurk around the net all day looking for something to troll? (Smh)

          • James O’Neill

            I was here reading the article, you simpleton.

          • YankeeBlue000

            Oooh, yea!? So keep reading jackass or am I interrupting you’re read by feeding addiction for argumentative trolling. Anyway I hope you’ve had your fix. I’m done. Have a nice life

        • I think the main problem is then probably the article :) One of my other articles on here, think posted last wednesday, actually talks about how I do everything with respect towards the players and I NEVER rushed out a game just for the money.

          Just that this game was made quickly, doesn’t mean it was made hastily or sloppy or as a quick cash-in.

          The whole idea that some players have (not saying it’s you, but in general) is that developers are in it for a quick cash-grab, and I don’t get that whole idea. For us it’s our income, our way of making money to support our families, there is not a single developer EVER who just was in it for a quick-cash grab.. in fact, it would be the wrong business to even try that in because it’s extremely hard to earn any money in game-development.

          There is just such a huge supply of games, that demand for it is low, and if I want a quick money-grab I would probably have much better results if I’d pray on game-developers rather than on gamers ;)

          As for Meganoid, I’m always open to great idea’s to implement/update, forums, twitter, email, etc.. I’m easy to contact!

  • I love it especially knew that this game was made with libgdx.
    I believe 2 months time is really short with respect to releasing on steam. As per developer perspective, I’d love to know how you manage time to finish it ranging from development to releasing on steam. Especially greenlight and marketing the game on platform. You’ve done great job there!

    Love the game, and keep it going 👍

    • any specifics you want to know? because manage time was basically : work for 2 months (no crunch, had weekends off!)

      marketing was done by posting GIF’s on twitter, video’s on facebook, screenshots, etc. And during the release week reach out to press and post on forums+reddit. (most of it mentioned in the article above).

      as for Greenlight, I didn’t have to go through that one, had a steam app-id I could use.

      • Thanks for prompt reply! I’m fairly new to steam platform. Could you elaborate more on having an app-id then you don’t need to go through greenlight? Is it like you’re a trust developer, so you can freely submit game on such platform? I’m fairly new to development on steam platform.

        • When your game goes through Greenlight, you get one steam app-id. You then use that app-id in the Steam backend to create a new game on steam.

          sometimes developers can get app-id’s directly from Valve/Steam, in which case you don’t need to greenlight your game