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How we started an indie game studio on reddit and what we are doing to get ready to release our first game!

THE BEGINNING

 

It all started on what seemed a very ordinary Monday morning. I was sipping on my morning coffee, I take it black and with two ice cubes (in case you were wondering). Sipping and scrolling through reddit when a very detailed post from an experienced DM on r/RPG caught my eye. At this point I had been working on multiplayer code for an ARPG like combat system for what seemed like years. I wanted to make a role playing game but any story I ever wrote lacked the depth necessary for someone to fall in love with it. Judging from how much love this gentleman had put into the words in the post, I knew that someone like him could be the story telling partner that my math brain needed to make a great game. So I did something that I thought was silly, and boy am I glad that I did: I made a post on r/RPG asking if anyone would be interested in working on a story for my game.

 

 

Faster than the mods could remove the post for breaking the rules someone had replied, we exchanged a few messages, we made a discord server and a beautiful partnership began to flourish. Over the next few days a script was coming together. After a few failed attempts at creating the introductory scenes I reverted back to implementing Epic’s Gameplay Abilities System. While I spent the next 6 months properly learning to use C++ and creating a wide system of rpg combat mechanics (inventories, resistances, gear, character customization, enemies, loot, etc…) my new comrade created an entire world. He had crafted a carefully woven web of characters and locations that kept me wanting more after each chapter. Some more time passed and we kept working slowly. Some weeks would see amazing progress while others saw no progress at all. Life has a funny way of getting in the way of passion projects(projects where your bank account somehow seems to keep getting emptier). We both got married, one of us had a baby on the way, and all the while, we still kept at it, one piece at a time. 

“ We both got married, one of us had a baby on the way, and all the while, we still kept at it, one piece at a time“.

After 39 builds, the game is nearing the alpha stage. We have 20+ abilities, 7 different map zone, 6 Enemy types and 3 Bosses. There is a loot system, combat system, dialogue system and story manager which stores how your decisions affect the world. We feel that at this pace we may have a release somewhere with the next 3-5 years, but that seems like way too long, so we made a plan.

 

THE PLAN

 

We estimated that by adding 1 full-time level designer and 1 part-time designer we can finish in a much shorter amount of time, ready for an early access public alpha in 6 months and ready for a full release within a year after. Lacking the means to fully fund the project from either of our ends, we are looking to alternatives for funding. Our fist round of funding is coming directly from the saving’s accounts. Kickstarter will be our second round, followed by Steam Early Access . We are confident that these efforts will raise the funds necessary to take our game to the finish line before 2023 and have also accepted the fact.. If our plan goes completely off the rails and doesn’t get funded, we will find a way to finish it.

“If our plan goes completely off the rails and doesn't get funded, we will find a way to finish it“.

 

BOOTSTRAPPING

 

From the start of the project, we knew that there would be some expenses that we would have to cover. Up to today all expenses whether for marketplace assets or commissioned work (music, design, 3D) or website themes have been funded by our piggy banks. I know that we both hoped but didn’t think that almost 2 years later we would still be here working towards our dreams. Who would have thought that dreams could cost as much as they have. Between what we previous mentioned along with software for character design, level design, animation and much more; our savings are starting to run dry. This is our main motivating factor in seeking means outside of ourselves to fund the development of Void Arena.

 

“Up to today all expenses whether for marketplace assets or commissioned work (music, design, 3d) or website themes have been funded by our piggy banks“.

 

KICKSTARTER

 

In an ideal world, we would have the capability of completely bootstrapping the project ourselves without any need for outside help. Unfortunately, neither of us stands in a position where we could easily make that happen (or even begin to convince our wives to go along with it). Fortunately, we live in a world where we can turn to the future players of Void Arena and ask for their help. In return we will create the game that we all want to play. If our execution comes anywhere near our vision, it will be an amazing experience that will be enjoyed for years to come.

 

 

Setting up a Kickstarter campaign seemed like it would be simple but after 2 months of working on one almost every day, I can assure you that it is not. This sentiment also takes into account that fact that we were using other already successful Kickstarter campaigns as a template. If it were not for the hard work of many a designer that came before us, this process could have easily taken 6 months, if it actually ever got finished in the first place (more likely it would have been done in 30 minutes and been quite below standard).

“Setting up a Kickstarter campaign seemed like it would be simple but after 2 months of working on one almost every day, I can assure you that it is not“.

Nevertheless after a couple of months of writing easily digestible bits to explain our game, capturing gameplay footage for making GIFs and getting all of our viable concept art together the campaign is ready and will be launching very soon, has already launched or has already ended, depending on when in time you’re reading this. To be honest, it would be a miracle if anyone actually reads this in the first place, but in case you care, here is a link to our prelaunch page for our Kickstarter Campaign. Give us a follow if you’re feeling generous!  

 

 

STEAM

 

Steam early access is the perfect ecosystem for later stage development of Void Arena to thrive. Players who didn’t get the chance to support us previously will now have the option of participating directly in the development process. During this time and with amazing user feedback we will squash bugs, improve performance, create new features and adjust existing ones. It gives us and the future players of the game the opportunity to make something together that is richer, smoother,  and all around better, more enjoyable for everyone. 

 

 

The first step was getting our game approved on steam. Once we paid our $100 fee, the setup was pretty straight forward. Name, description, story, screen shots and the we set it ready for review. After a few back and forth’s with a nice set of steam reviewers (mainly because I am not very good at photoshop) our steam page was approved. 

 

We are currently (as of Nov. 2020)  offering a free open alpha/prealpha via our discord channel in exchange for feedback and hugs!  

 

“We are currently offering a free open alpha via our discord channel in exchange for feedback and hugs“.

 

ROADMAP

 

We couldn’t officially sign off our first official blog post without sharing our plans moving forward along with the scheduled release of all the important features.

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

Wrapping this whole thing up, if you are a techy guy with a dream and a vision, and that vision is to develop the game that you always wanted to play as a kid.. Well then you might be me and that might be pretty appropriate because it would really take a miracle for anyone other than myself to get this far down the page. I hope that you enjoyed whatever it is that this was and may you and your family be blessed with health and prosperity for eons upon eons.   

 

CHEERS!!!

And thank you for reading!

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1 Comment

  • Paul
    March 17, 2021 at 8:26 am

    that’s a nice story to read

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