My Patrons have been such an incredible help to me over the past three years. Without them, I really don’t know that I’d have been able to continue doing what I’m doing. As I’ve written about recently, Escape the Omnochronom! was a fraught development experience, and an experimental design which, so far at least, hasn’t exactly “worked”. (Hopefully that proves that it really is experimental!)
I have two other projects which are a bit less experimental; one is a tabletop traitor card game and another is a primarily mobile tactics game called Chess Mix. I also just recently released a one-week game that I made with Happy Snake Games called Advance Plants, and I’m working on another game with them that should be available in the next few months.
I’ve been trying to sell videogames seriously now for a little over a dozen years, and I’m less and less happy with the retail, or premium model over time. Sure, you could say that this is because of “sour grapes”; maybe I wouldn’t be complaining about the model if my games consistently made over a million dollars (or frankly, even consistently made over $10,000).
But in general most indie games—and I mean actually-indie, not “huge budget games that are marketed as indie”—are working at extreme personal cost.
Probably the most financially successful game I ever worked on was 100 Rogues, which came out in the early days of iOS, and that game made well over $100k, if I recall correctly. But it was also developed by 3 or 4 developers, with a “publisher” of sorts (who took most of the profits), over the course of about three years, so even $100k is actually still pretty bad.
Others have written before about the difficulties of being an indie dev and how the numbers just don’t work out. But yeah, when you’re making weird experimental games that aren’t even always necessarily fun to play, and you have no marketing budget, the numbers really, really don’t work out.
For me specifically, and any game developers who are like me, something like Patreon is great. It allows me the flexibility to fail, to try weird things, to change course, to write articles, make videos, make podcasts, and generally explore game design in whatever ways make the most sense. I really, really appreciate it, and going forward the more Patrons I get, the more I’ll be able to do. To my current Patrons: thank you so much!
My new setup
Okay so now if you take a look at my Patreon page, I’ve given it a general once-over, but I’ve also there are now four tiers: $1, $5, $20, and $100. The big news here is that the $5 role (and above) now get all of my games for free going forward (unless if there’s some weird extenuating circumstance that I can’t predict right now). The $20 role now gets the Super-Patron Discord role which was previously only available at $50, and the ranks all have cute names. (Also, apologies if the Discord roles weren’t working properly before; they should be now.)
The really cool thing is that itch.io has awesome Patreon integration, and it was really easy to set up. Let me know if there are any troubles with that.
Now I want to say THANK YOU to my top patrons: Master Knight DH, Jean-Marc Nielly, Simon Williams, Vox, J.P. McDevitt, Rob Seater, Spencer Pitman, Pauline Schneider and James Crom, as well as all my other supporters. You guys are the coolest and if you have any suggestions as to how to make what I do better or more effective, just let me know. I’m pretty receptive!