This is why I am indie

Ahaha, enigmatic title, isn’t it? I’ll explain it shortly. But first, an update on TFTU: Lilith! Things are going smoothly, and I’m confident that the game will be out this fall, maybe even October. Mostly depends on the artists’ speed (but I don’t want to rush their work).

this of one of Evelyn’s flashback scenes
fans of feet stuff will have something for them in one of Odette’s flashback scenes

Screw socials!

Back to the topic of this post: as you know, recently I reduced my time in socials, and focused more on my “true fans”. It’s too early to draw conclusions on the financial side, but for sure on the personal side, it was one of the best choices I’ve made in last years.

Socials are becoming really terrible. Full of AI bots, providing zero exposure, and just being an annoyance more than a plus. Of course I know well that you can’t do entirely without them, and I still keep posting. But no way I’m spending a lot of time on those. I know, I’m going against all common advice, but keep in mind I’ve been around since 20 years, I have already a following, I do niche games, etc. So what works for me might be entirely wrong for someone else and vice versa.

The wishlists madness

I also think that Steam itself is turning into a kind of “social platform” in a negative way. Marketing gurus say you need 7k wishlists to make it big with new games. But now that the information is public, then what? Now there are millions of developers all hustling to get those wishlists, maybe not even focusing on actually making the game better. It’s turned into a mad rush, everyone pushing against each other in a super crowded space, with the age-old question: how do you stand out when there’s so much competition? With 30+ games launching every day, and seemingly everyone with a computer thinking, “Hey, why not make an indie game?” – it’s just not enjoyable for me anymore.

You might be thinking, “Now that things are tougher, you get out.” And you’re partly right. It’s clear that when a platform is overflowing with competition, it’s tough, and all your efforts seem to have less impact. So, I believe it’s smarter to focus on promoting my own website, Patreon, Discord, building my own community. When you pay for ads to direct people to your Steam page, there are countless “exit points” – links, buttons, thumbnails – where potential customers can click and end up buying another game (usually from the same handful of AAA titles or indie darlings that dominate promotion 99% of the time). But with my own site, even if they click on another game page, they’re still buying my games.

The real reason why I went indie

However, the financial side is just one reason why I chose the indie path. Honestly, if it were just about money, I’d probably quit right now. But I’m older, and while I know how to code, I’m not a pro, and I don’t possess any extraordinary skills. I’ve seen plenty of other indie devs call it quits and move on to lucrative jobs in banks or other big corporations, making ten times the money they did before. Good for them! Just not my thing.

The other (and more important) reason why I chose the indie path is the direct connection with fans and customers. I genuinely enjoy interacting with them (whenever I have the time, of course!), hearing what they like or dislike about my games, and considering their suggestions and critiques. Even have them directly involved in development through crowdfunding rewards like drawing characters outfits or naming places in my fantasy world. These are things that will forever remain in my games, and I think they really appreciate that level of engagement. This aspect is priceless to me and helps maintain the human element in game development.

the siblings idea of SOTW was suggested by fans in my forums

Otherwise, I might as well be a robot, endlessly churning out 500 social media posts a day in hopes of hitting the 7,000 wishlists mark for the Steam lottery. No thanks! As long as I can keep doing things the way I am now, I’ll stick with it. If there comes a time when even that’s not feasible anymore, I’ll just move on and do something else, maybe even something completely unrelated to computers!

Thank you for listening to my rant, and I hope you’re getting my games in the current Summer sales:

Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/pub/winterwolves

itchio: https://winter-wolves.itch.io/

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