Starting up our Indie Games Business

My partner and I have been developing games on and off for 8 years now. It taps on a huge passion of us, creating, and games are our favorite medium by miles. We have been postponing this idea of indie developing together for a long time. Day jobs, families and all that adult “stuff” we know and love were common excuses. Comes 2017, and we finally felt it was the right time to give it a try.

Rock Milk was born from the idea that we could have fun while doing our best to create a business and earn some extra dollars building games. And as most projects, it started with a huge brainstorming session. When the dust settled, we had our main pillars:

1. Be economically viable

We know that many believe we live in the Indiepocalipse age and making money with indie games is not viable anymore. We don’t believe it all that and want to prove it. We do have some guidelines though:

  • We will not quit our day jobs: We want to be financially healthy because mental sanity feels great. We also have families to support as I mentioned. It also makes our little free-time worth gold, keeping us focused in order to achieve our goals.
  • We are an Indie game BUSINESS: Being a ‘true indie’ is beautiful. But sustainability come first for us. Making awesome games is just not enough. We also have to do: Market research, Marketing Campaigns, Data crunching, Monetization Strategies and above all, experiment a lot.

2. Launch often

Such true

This is a bit hard for the creators on us but it is a must. In our experience , launching is the biggest learning opportunity when it comes to content creation, games included. Hearing from REAL players playing your REAL games and paying REAL dollars is were everything comes together.

It enables us to experiment more. Try different marketing strategies and platforms, mix and match business models and, of course, build more games.

Also, the gaming industry is a a real Hit driven market, meaning that you can make dozens of games with similar production value and have them performance totally different. Launching more fits perfectly.

3. Participate and build communities

We live in the social, YouTube, livestreamy era. Getting in touch with our players and participating in strong communities is as important as it ever was.

So, sharing learnings, contributing to open source, making tutorials and being as transparent as we can about our experiences will be a huge focus to us.

4. Games are software (and art)

And with that, all rules of good software development apply. Focus on Quality, Iterative development, Testing, Relying on robust tools and building our proprietary libraries are examples that might lead to huge improvements in our ability to deliver.

5. Focus on the fun

Don’t be an evil “Dungeon master” (Villain of Dungeonland, one of the games we made together)

Later but not least, Don’t be an evil bastart! As much as we want to make money with our creations, we do not believe that it should come at any cost. We all know that many monetization strategies and business models take a toll on the player, tapping on vices to enable revenue stream. We will avoid this at all cost.

Pillars defined it was time to write up some achievable challenging goals so we stay in check. This is were we settled (as of April 2017):

  1. Launch at least 3 games (Reakt is the first)
  2. Get to 10.000 downloads across the backlog (not even close)
  3. Earn $1000 (ashamed to talk about it)
  4. Create and share 12 pieces non game content (now, we have one)
Great game! You should try it…

Reakt, our first game, is the product of the first couple of months of development, using the Open Source Godot Engine. It is currently available for free on Android. At a later time we will get into more details about it, discussing ideation, development and launch.

If you read so far, thanks very much! To connect with us, please reach out on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Matheus Almeida, best half of Rock Milk.