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Author Topic: Game Close to Completion: Sales and distribution question.  (Read 817 times)
Glenn Vandre
Member

Posts: 11


« on: February 03, 2012, 05:46:39 PM »

Don't now what area to post in.  Don't know if there is even a "place" within this forum to post. 

My game is still in development (I Guess), but it it is also at the stage of editing.  Yes, I go thru and tweak, add, or take away stuff several times a week (cuz I'm anal I guess).  In terms of editing, I mean that a friend of mine, who is a published author, is actually editing my "game book", in terms of grammer and such, as well as looking for inconsistencies within the text from section to section.  As my "creation" is nearly complete (I might add more stuff), I'm also in the process of copyrighting my game (book).  US law says that if you create it, you own it, yet have no legal recourse.  An actual government copyright gives said legal recourse.  Once editing is complete, I will pay the fees for copyright. 

Unfortunately, this forum, in pertinent areas, dictates that if you have game development or publishing questions, you must include a link (or access) to your material.  I do understand the reasons why (can't give feedback without reference), but you're all smokin' crack if you think I'm gonna "display" my hard work for perusal without protection.  So because I ask questions and seek guidance about publishing aspects (not in reference to material), I have to "allow" others to view, rape, steal, or otherwise from my creation?  Not gonna happen.  I'm not 10% serious about creating an RPG.  I've already created one.  It's been play tested (and in the process of more play testing).  After editing and copyright, its basically ready for release. 

My concerns pertain to the release of the material.  I have a company name.  I'm in the process of retaining an LLC and business license.  I have the internet domain name secured.  I'm not going to print the book (with the exception of a few hard copies for myself and the playtesters- $1000).  I'm going to have a website, and those who want the game can download it  (PDF) for a nominal fee via paypal.  I don't want "overhead" at all.  Those interested can pay to download it and either print it (at their own expense) or not.  I'm not rich and have no capital.  I might even be a dick and release the game for free (at least in the beginning).  I like the internet based distribution method because I can also release updates (if necessary) and have my own Q and A forum about rules.  This way, once somebody has paid for the download of the the game, they also get full product support.  My distribution concept is that of:  Distributors are not necessary.  Print to order companies are not necessary.  The money goes to me, and no one else.  I would like feedback pertaining to the above distribution/sales model.  I didn't create an RPG to get rich.  I did it because everything out their sucks or is flawed (IMHO) and I felt I could do better and for less money.  If even ten people thought my game was good, I'd consider that a success.  Everything beyond that would be icing on the cake. 

I am willing to post segments of the book (I do have a Word Press account), but not until copyright is finalized.  Ron, if you send my post into oblivion because I refuse to let others see what I've done, then you've also relegated this site as entirely useless to those that are actually in the process of releasing an RPG.  My opinion, but truth nonetheless.  If so, where can I get useful feedback on web distribution practices? 

Thx for the time,

G. 





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Thriff
Member

Posts: 68


« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2012, 09:18:24 PM »

Hey GV,

I don't have a direct answer to your question but I can offer my experience on your question of "will I hurt my own interests by revealing my creation?"

Simply put: no. No you won't.

You seem to have done a lot of work on your project and I respect that. Sincerely, congrats to you. But notice this... you've done all that work to create the game that you believe is the game. The game that is better than anything else on the market. But so have I. And that other guy. And the hundreds of guys and gals that have been posting/reading on the Forge over the last few weeks, months, and years. Oh, and lets not forget the thousands that do so on other sites all over the web.

So. Why would I, or anyone else, spend the $20, $5, or $0.50 on your game when I can find literally hundreds of games to read, be inspired by, and play... all for free?

Honest answer? I won't. Unless you market your game as "exactly everything Thriff wants in a game" and I believe that is exactly what your game is.

But that's a tall order and, let's be honest, nearly a mathematical impossibility without us ever having spoken before. And even if you achieved that you'd still not have convinced him, her, or anyone else that your game is worth buying (let alone "the best"). Of course you'll get those in your nuclear communities to support your game financially (family, close friends, hobbyist buddies) but I doubt that's your end goal.

Perhaps I'm being roundabout, so allow me to shift gears to the more succinct: (1) I have no intention of buying anyone's game until I have faith that they make good games. (2) I can't imagine my buying practices are wildly different from... well... anyone else's. So, importantly, (3) us indie designers (which I, maybe mistakenly, am assuming you to be as well) are unknowns that will stay unknowns until we share our ideas--for free and with eagerness until the larger community respects us as quality creators.

My advice? The larger community (and all potential markets) will ignore you (and me!) until we've branded ourselves as "the guy/gal that made A, B, and C". And only then will anyone have the faith in you (me, any designer) to spend money on game D.

I don't think clamming up your ideas will help you.

Perhaps I'm wrong (which I sure do hope I am! because then I can just release perfect game after perfect game and swim in piles of money and critical acclaim while the world gushes over my brilliance!) and if so, sorry for my misleading advice.

But regardless, I do (very very sincerely) hope you the best in your endeavours.

Oh, don't forget to post a link to an external site with your work on it. ;) Or else Ron will shut this thread down with all the mercy of an unforgiving [appropriate metaphor]. (He'll do it, I swear! I've seen him do it!)

T
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stefoid
Member

Posts: 657


WWW
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2012, 11:19:45 PM »

This may be an ingenious way of fanning interest in your game: tempt people to shoot you down!!

You can Print On Demand via LuLu or CreateSpace for hardly anything up front. 

Out of curiosity: what makes you think anyone will be interested in your game?  Without going into specifics, in what areas have you made innovations that make it stand out from the crowd?

My advice is to forget about forking out money for copyright, company names, etc...  seriously, if you have been developing this in isolation from the online community, chances are you have one of these:   http://www.indie-rpgs.com/articles/9/

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David Berg
Member

Posts: 997


« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2012, 12:25:04 AM »

I would like feedback pertaining to the above distribution/sales model.

Independent Publishing is your forum, not Game Development.
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here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development
Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2775


WWW
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2012, 03:31:33 AM »

Seems like you have a solid plan going, Glen. I'm sure this thread'll be moved to the "Independent Publishing" section soon, and as far as I know there's no need for you to reveal your game text to anybody if you don't want to. That requirement only concerns the "Game Development" section, where I would think that it's pretty sensible as to why it's there: pretty difficult to help people with the particulars of their game design without seeing what they've got so far.

Concerning the specifics, I think that publishing only in digital format with conservative expectations about making money is spot on, and very sensible. You might well consider doing POD printing as well, as nowadays there are printers who'll print and even ship your game for you one copy at a time. As mentioned, Lulu is perhaps the foremost of these companies. The nutshell of it is that you pay considerably more per copy than in traditional printing, but don't need to commit capital into pre-printing and warehousing the books; makes good sense for anybody expecting to sell more than one or two copies but less than ~200 of their game.

Regarding your copyright worries - I'm not American, but I have published and sold my stuff in the USA, and my sincere understanding is that the importance of copyright registration is often overstated, especially from the viewpoint of grassroots publishers like us. You'd have to be making more money than an American lawsuit costs before it makes sense to even worry about legal remedies, right? People often have an inflated understanding of the importance of copyright and the dangers of others stealing their work, etc., probably because they're so excited about entering the world of publishing for the first time, and they're trying hard to be professional and smart about it. It doesn't help matters that there is a lot of scaremongering advice out there in the Internet, often published by predatorial concerns whose interest is mostly in gaining new customers for their legal services. (Of course a lot of honest advice, too - I imagine that copyright registration would be a matter of course for a culture industry operator a hundred times larger than a normal rpg publisher, say. That stuff just doesn't apply well when your business is as small as ours tends to be.)

But this whole matter is something that we hash out here several times a year. If you're interested in why I think that worrying about others stealing your game is a misplaced concern, let's find a couple of discussions we've had with others in similar situations as yours... ah, this one's not even very old, and I go through my stance in pretty good detail: Work in Progress Publication Question. I'd be glad to discuss the issues of guerrilla publishing and marketing in more detail, too, if you're interested. I find it one of the more useful functions of the Forge when we can tell people that hey, actually you're shooting yourself in the foot if you insist on hiding your game from the very audiences you'd like to attract. It's an uphill battle for you to get us interested in your project if you show us nothing, and it's going to be a hundred times more difficult with the average hobbyist who's not necessarily interested in new and innovative game design.

Remember: hiding content only makes sense if your strategy is to trick people into buying your stuff. If you're worried that the audience doesn't want to pay you after getting a good look, then your game has much bigger problems than Internet piracy or copyright infringement of work-in-progress manuscripts.
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