Thinking of Making an Indie Game?


So, I’ve been making Indie games for years, with very little success, usually because I write obscure little games that don’t usually see much action. So I decided to write something that many gamers do love, an Idle Upgrade Cookie Clicker. I decided to go with the same format as the original by Orteil because IMO its the best and I much prefer the straight forward layout compared to modern idle games. I also decided to theme it around climate change as it’s something that I care about (hoping that it rubs off on a few others). I decided to make it free to play (because obtrusive ads are horrible and paid is DOA) with the option of video ads to generate coins for those that don’t want to spend any money on coins. I opted to integrate Facebook for backup / restore and the usual social features such as login, inviting friends, sharing, gifting, leaderboards.

So how does a cookie clicker perform these days? Lets take a look at some numbers since release a couple of months ago:

Note that the above mobile downloads required me to spend around $200 across Apple search ads and Google Adwords, so I’ve made quite a loss.

So the game wasn’t performing well, but was performing slightly better than most of my other games. With this I decided to put out a version on Kongregate and Newgrounds, (both great game portals with some pretty decent games) to boost the games visibility, which is ok as long as you can put up with the extremely toxic communities. Seriously some of the users (calling them gamers would be a serious stretch) on there were absolutely dropped on their heads at birth, if you are fine dealing with petulant kids then you can turn it into a pretty fun pass time.

Today I have:

After placing the game onto those portals I did see a nice jump in mobile installs, but it was very short lived (a couple of days), its just not an effective marketing tool, especially considering the toxicity of the community and the abuse that you will have to deal with. Also, take note, when you do place a game on a web portal, expect it to be lifted (without permission) and placed all over the place so that some blood sucker can earn ad revenue from your hard work (the word cunts springs to mind).

So in summary, paid ads do drive installs works, but you will need a LOT and I cannot stress this enough a HUGE AMOUNT of money to get your game noticed. Web portals like Kongregate and Newgrounds help the game initially but once the toxic community has done with you, your game will have 0 visibility, so any visibility gains will be short lived. Take a look at the ratings for my game:

  • iOS – 5 stars
  • Android – 4.5 stars
  • Facebook – 4.8 stars
  • Kongregate – 2.65 stars
  • Newgrounds – 2.68 stars

Indie game development for making money is dead, will I still continue to make indie games? It’s fun creating games, so maybe, do I expect to ever earn money from it? No, very unlikely.

If you are thinking of becoming an Indie game developer, I recommend only doing so if you get enjoyment from it, if you expect to earn a living then try something else.

Big List of Popular Flash, HTML5 and Unity 3D Web Gaming Portals

Big list of web game portals / sites that accept games mainly from Flash, HTML5 and Unity 3D developers:

Facebook Alexa rank 3
Y8 Alexa rank 761
Kongregate Alexa rank 1375
Miniclip Alexa rank 1750
Kizi Alexa rank 1816
Newgrounds Alexa rank 2624
Poki Alexa rank 2985
itch.io Alexa rank 3449
Armor Games Alexa rank 3472
A10 Alexa rank 4164
Pogo Alexa rank 4955
Big Fish Games Alexa rank 5113
AGame Alexa rank 6009
Addicting Games Alexa rank 6657
Paco Games Alexa rank 8024
Girls Go Games Alexa rank 9280
Zepak Alexa rank 9516
Ninja Kiwi Alexa rank 10681
io Games Space Alexa rank 11295
NotDoppler Alexa rank 14516
Games Games Alexa rank 15194
Yepi Games Alexa rank 21526
Nitrome Alexa rank 24779
KHBG Games Alexa rank 24690
Game House Alexa rank 28541
Free Online Games Alexa rank 28628
Games Freak Alexa rank 35802
MAD Alexa rank 36964
Box10 Alexa rank 43227
One More Level Alexa rank 48128
Mouse Breaker Alexa rank 52226
Games 2 Girls Alexa rank 54837
io-games Alexa rank 56104
Fun Brain Alexa rank 57127
Frip Alexa rank 60455
Puff Games Alexa rank 65496
Crazy Monkey Games Alexa rank 68705
Flash Games 247 Alexa rank 72799
Game Gape Alexa rank 76718
Mind Jolt Alexa rank 78550
Bubble Box Alexa rank 80294
Cool Games Alexa rank 90502
Zapak Alexa rank 95136
GameZ Hero Alexa rank 109726
Spil Games Alexa rank 152091
Game Garage Alexa rank 1295785

* Alexa rank accurate as of 2nd October 2017

Upgrading from Unity 5.4 to 5.6

Recently had the need to upgrade a couple of projects from Unity 5.4 to 5.6 and after much trial and error and scouring the net for solutions I finally managed it. My project uses two plugins which do not play well with Unity 5.6, these include:

  • TextMeshPro – Do not use the version that is currently on the asset store (Version: 1.0.55.0b11) or your project will explode, instead grab it from here. If you already have a version of TextMesh Pro installed into your project then delete it (backup fist!), then install the version this link
  • Chartboost – Update to version 6.6.4 as previous versions do not compile with Unity 5.6!
  • Facebook SDK – Deleted old Facebook SDK 7.8 including the Facebook related stuff in the Plugins folder, installed latest Facebook SDK from fresh!

By the way, if you see errors appear, shut Unity down and reopen the project them allow, most of the time the errors just disappear.

Facebook now host Games up to 500MB!

I’m usually so busy that I miss cool stuff sometimes, anyway, I’ve discovered today that Facebook will now host WebGL (including Unity) and HTML5 game content for you for free. So gone are the days of having to host your own and get a SSL certificate etc.. There are some limitations however such as 500MB max content size, 500 max files and no use of scripting languages such as PHP. Still for most uses its great.

You would not believe how m any times I had to retype that last paragraph! My son gave me a gaming keyboard and after years using tghe same keyboard, its proving very difficult getting used to one with bigger keys!

Ok, more details about this cool new Facebook feature here