Sunday, November 10, 2013

Rebecca: Putting yourself out there

Yesterday, Ben and I attended iFest.  It is a conference where independent game developers may showcase their games.  The organizers also had a variety of speakers on topics ranging from raising money, handling legal issues, and defining happiness as an independent developer.  Although the conference is small (number of exhibitors, number of attendees), it had a huge impact on me.  I will probably have 2-3 posts related to iFest.

One of the most impressive things about iFest is the independent developers.  The largest development team that I met had 6 people.  Most of the games are designed, developed, and marketed by 1 person.  The person has poured his/her passion into a game that they hope will make some money.  Yes, they would love to make millions, but they are really just hoping that they make enough to "keep the lights on."

Like artists, these mostly young developers have put so much of their heart and their love into their games.  In return, they make themselves vulnerable to the masses.  As the saying goes, "you cannot make everyone happy, all the time."  Players or gamers (endusers) provide invaluable feedback about the playability of the game, about the graphics, and about the "fun" of the game.  But the criticism may also be harsh.  I am not a programmer, but I know so many of the design or programming choices are subjective or the result of necessity.  When you build anything from your heart, it is hard to hear that your creation is not perfect.  It is easy to criticize:  "screen movement is jerky, I do not like the background, the game is confusing, or I don't like how it plays."  We are entitled to like/dislike a game, but I appreciate the huge efforts and love that goes into all the games I saw.  I hope the developers take the feedback that is helpful, but ignore the more hurtful comments.  You cannot make everyone happy.  If I learned anything from Ben's app development for Zenerdgy, it is make games you are proud of.  Have a few individuals that believe in you, follow your heart, listen to helpful criticism, and keep developing.

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