Full-Time Stencyler Journey (Original Post Not Updated)

ceosol

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I'm not sure if any other payments will come in during the next two days so here is March :)

$112 - Tutoring Stencyl
$50 - Initial down payment for a soccer game
$250 - Third milestone for a training game
$500 - Milestone for an arcade game

$912 for March
$2967 YTD

LIBERADO

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Great. I like to see honest people making money with Stencyl.
I'm spanish, excuse me for my bad English.
I'm not a private teacher. Please, post your questions in the public forum.

windstorm

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Great job!  That is really exciting and rewarding that you can make money from something that you created.  Hard work pays off!  It give me hope and motivation to keep chipping away at my game that I am making!

ceosol

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If you want to start out as an indie game dev, definitely think about all of the angles. I used to live near New York and my apartment was $1650 USD a month. When I decided to switch careers, I moved to a much cheaper location and now spend $450 a month on rent. Even then, I had multiple backup plans for when I failed - I did actually expect to fail :)  Being able to live my life through game dev is fantastic. I hope that I can continue inspiring others.

Eduqation

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It's really nice to get some insight in the life of an indie developer. I'm starting off game development classes starting this summer on a secondary school and I will be telling your story as an example. I do have a question, and sorry if it's already been asked but how did you learn using stencyl yourself? Did you use online courses? The book? Only stencylpedia?

Also, do you sketch out your games before creating them? Or do you just start in Stencyl?

Thanks!

ceosol

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It's really nice to get some insight in the life of an indie developer. I'm starting off game development classes starting this summer on a secondary school and I will be telling your story as an example. I do have a question, and sorry if it's already been asked but how did you learn using stencyl yourself? Did you use online courses? The book? Only stencylpedia?

Also, do you sketch out your games before creating them? Or do you just start in Stencyl?

Thanks!

Hi, thanks for the response. If your students have questions for me, feel free to send a list or post them here. I was a teacher before becoming a game developer. I would love to help them out :)  Good luck over the summer!

I did not use any of those for learning Stencyl. Back in version 2.x, while I was still teaching, I went through a quick tutorial about placing actors in a scene. I use stencylpedia for specific instances - such as ios certificates. Everything else, I have learned by playing around with the system. I usually have draw text blocks covering the entire screen. If I am not sure how an equation should be, I have multiple iterations displaying at the same time. This allows me to pick which one gives the correct output. Is this the right way to program? Probably not. Would anybody else be able to look at my program and understand what is going on? Also, probably not. However, I think this is one of my best advantages as a developer, I do not know or understand code so I am not limited by what it is "supposed to do".

Another good question. Most of my published games were made for contract clients. It would be nice if they all gave me drawn out sketches/mockups/ideas. However, they usually do not. In most cases, it begins with me spending 1-2 hours creating a prototype. You can see that my arcade is chock full of demos: http://www.stencyl.com/users/index/221939. That does not even display all of them. I have at least 25 more listed as WIP and not shown. I am a huge advocate of prototyping. It is a big accomplishment to publish a game, but I think that you can learn a lot by making a quick prototype of game mechanics. Each time I push myself to create a new mechanic, I have a chance of discovering a new technique.

When I first started as a game developer around 2 years ago (not including the actor placement tutorial a year prior), I was expecting to make these huge RPG's. I eventually figured out that you do not make money during development (unless you get lucky with a grant or kickstarter). I wasted almost a year trying to make big games while my bank account was slowly draining away. To make matters worse, I did not have a portfolio to show for it. Now I am happy making small games and building up a nice portfolio.

TheIndieStation

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reading all of this, and I am thinking, I must be doing something wrong :v

ceosol

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reading all of this, and I am thinking, I must be doing something wrong :v

Please do not feel that way. I am not keeping this record to make people feel bad. I generally send out 50-100 prototype/demos/contact messages a month and on average get 2 or 3 contracts. I work 7 days a week at this and will have to keep doing so until I catch a break.

In the past, I've worked at many different jobs in different fields (a couple were even as a consultant for start-up companies). Also, when I was scientist/professor, I had to write tons of grants and papers - giving me an edge when contacting clients. I feel the only reason I am surviving without prior game development knowledge is because of my extensive business knowledge.

TheIndieStation

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Im not feeling bad about it, this just makes me think I might want to reconsider my approach of surviving as an indie developer/teacher. The last 2 months I have only goten my hands on a €180 job and a €15 UI design.

I must say tho that probably my weak spot is contacting the right people, or the way I contact them.

iii

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@TheIndieStation, what you really need is doing it the old way.
Doing cold-calls, and later try to sell your service with your current folio, in person.

I've been doing freelancing since the late 90s, the biggest project I get is always in person.
Haven't had much luck getting a big freelance job through online,
unless I already work with the client before.
Try aiming for a less competitive area.

ceosol

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It has been a slow month, plagued with set backs (not on my end). The clients have all been having troubles with their artists, getting incorporated, school (or school activities), publishing... None of them are holding it against me, but I can't get my final delivery milestones if the games are never finished :P

I did still get enough to pay rent and eat. Just not enough to catch a breath.

Extra milestone payment - $200
Soccer game milestones 2 and 3 - $450
Tutoring Stencyl - $110
Helping out on other project - $20

Total for April: $780
YTD: $3747

TheIndieStation

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How long did it take you to have this amount of jobs btw?

ceosol

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Early last year, I got my first contract - found through the Stencyl forum actually. Like iii said, it is easier to work with clients you already know. I continued making games with the same client until October. I would not have has enough money to continue without him. It did give me a chance to start building up my portfolio taking incredibly cheap jobs. After about 8 months of cheap jobs, I built up enough of a portfolio to be competitive.

I think I have mentioned before that I used to contact ~100 potential clients a month. Now, I contact maybe 20. My goal is to get a kickstarter or a grant to fund my own games. Then, I could outsource client work and take a 10 or 20% management fee - for finding and dealing with the clients so the developers could just work on the projects.

TheIndieStation

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Then you are lucky with that one forum client. I have had about 5 of them so far, and halfway trough that project it turned out they would never pay...

Bhoopalan

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Then, I could outsource client work and take a 10 or 20% management fee - for finding and dealing with the clients so the developers could just work on the projects.

Ceosol, looking for those days and I won't let you down ;)
If I helped you at anytime, help me back build my twitter followers :)
https://twitter.com/imbhoopalan