Like it or not, Reddit revolutionized social media with the “Ask Me Anything” form of online interview, better known as the AMA. There have been thousands of AMAs on Reddit that cover many topics – and we’ve even compiled our own list of the best AMAs of all time – but if you’re interested in game development, there are a few that you won’t want to miss.
To be clear, these AMAs won’t teach you how to create games. For that, you should take a moment and look over these free game development tools and game development websites for beginners. If you’d rather have an inside peek at the industry itself, these AMAs will be perfect for you.
Are you an aspiring game developer who still hasn’t decided on which university to attend? Then you’ll want to read this thread ASAP. The AMA was conducted by epreisz, a former course director for Full Sail University for 27 years. He also did game development at NASA and authored a book on making games.
Full Sail is a private university known for its focus on art, design, and computers. It has garnered mixed criticism over the years, which is discussed in one of the AMA threads. Most of the questions pertain specifically to the courses offered by Full Sail, but you’ll find a lot of good information in here that can be applied to the whole gamedev industry.
How do you feel a game-specific degree looks to a potential employer when compared to a traditional degree from another college, such as comp sci, animation, etc.
At the end of the day, I think the key to an entry level game position is being able to demonstrate a game and detail in specifics what “you” did to make that happen.
When demonstrating a game that you built, focus on the “we” part when talking about team dynamics. Focus on the “I” part when trying to use your demo to show that you are competent.
The mobile gaming realm has taken the entire world – both players and developers – by surprise. Who could’ve seen the story of Flappy Bird coming? We cover a lot of Android games and iOS games here and those numbers just keep rising. The mobile market won’t be closing any time soon.
How relevant, then, is an AMA by someone who has been developing iOS games since 2008 and managed to top the charts a few times? Extremely relevant, I’d say. Going by the name of AppStoreVeteran, this developer sheds light on the industry, on monetization tactics, on the future of mobile gaming, and how to break in as a new developer.
When you started out, were you alone or did you have a team? Did you do everything yourself (programming, art, music, etc.)? When you moved from hobby to business what steps did you take to make it successful? Other than that, what’s your best piece of advice for us aspiring game makers?
I started out with a friend, I did the art, he did the programming. We’ve since both moved onto larger companies doing app/game development. We moved from a hobby to business because, to be honest, we were lucky enough to release a few quality games back before the gold rush started.
The best advice I could give is don’t put all your eggs in one app. If you could make 1 awesome, huge game in 10 months, or 5 very polished smaller games in the same amount of time, the App Store rewards the 5 smaller quality apps than 1 larger quality app … I hate to say it, but the most reliable path to success on the app store is to throw s**t at the wall and see what sticks.
After the mobile game gold rush, Steam is situating itself to be the Next Big Thing™ for indie game developers. Though Steam Early Access has proven wildly successful, the Steam Greenlight program (and future iterations of it) will be the revolution that propels indie game development teams to success.
Take it from gambrinous who recently had his game, Guild of Dungeoneering, greenlit on Steam and talks about his process in his AMA. How did he promote his game? What would he do differently if he could start over? What kind of visitor statistics did he have? His answers are transparent and honest, which makes this quite an interesting read.
What advice do you have for others looking to do the same? What might we not know that you now know having undergone the process?
My main advice is this. Greenlight is just another channel for you to reach potential players of your game. It isn’t a magic I-Win button which will suddenly give you all the attention you hoped for. You need to build up awareness of your game with players and the press, and you should start that now.
Participate in #screenshotsaturday, Feedback Friday, start a devlog thread on TIGSource (and update it regularly), go to local gamedev meetups and ask for feedback. Talk about your game, but listen & give back too. All these things will not only help you on Greenlight, they will help you with every single part of making your game a success.
Marketing is just as important as having a great game.
Game developers – indies in particular – often gloss over the fact that there are many legalities that need to be addressed when producing games (commercial or not). At the very least, there are issues of copyright and trademark. What about starting your own company? Distributing revenue? Tax laws?
This is made worse by the fact that attorneys are expensive. Fortunately, we have VideoGameAttorney who regularly hosts AMAs on laws related to game production. This isn’t a traditional AMA in the sense of an interview, but you can technically ask him anything so it seems fitting. Plus, it’s extremely informative. Don’t skip this one.
What are the advantages of starting a company versus publishing a game under your own name? Can you change that later on? If so, what factors should influence that change?
There are a ton of different ways to form a company, but the most common method I recommend in NY is an LLC. That stands for a Limited Liability Company, and that’s the exact reason people do it… limited liability. This means if you form a contract with someone, instead of YOU being personally liable (i.e. they can take your house if they win a big enough case against you), they can only go after your CORPORATION. That is much safer and nicer.
Game development is not such a narrow field after all. These AMAs touch on a number of different facets – education, mobile games, indie publishing, and creative law – and that’s just the surface of it all. They’re interesting, though, and provide some unique angles that are more than just code, code, code.
Have you seen any other game development AMAs on Reddit? If you’re interested in general software development, you may want to check out these fascinating developer AMAs. Otherwise, share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
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