Yesterday, I spent 14 hours implementing two new features in my iPhone game, Nebula Rescue. One is a statistics screen, where you can track your averages and totals, and secondly a series of 20 achievements that can be unlocked while playing the game.
This is the first update to Nebula Rescue since its launch back in spring, and though I’m very excited about it, I’m not expecting a bump in sales for my efforts.
Designing games has taught me many things, among them that competition is insane in the marketplace – my other apps far outsell the game, in spite of being much simpler in nature.
Without proper marketing and a good deal of luck, indie games from an unknown developer such as myself are bound to drown in the constant flow of new apps. But this does not deter me. I make games because I love it. If just a handful of people like playing it, it was worth building.
The new update contains features (and a couple of bug fixes) that I’ve wanted to add since I first launched the game. As with any software project, there were things I deliberately put off until the update, just to get the game out and see how the reactions were. And though reactions have been nothing but positive, it still felt unfinished to me.
Finally, late last night Nebula Rescue 1.1 was submitted to the App Store for review, and I feel better.
I don’t think, as a solo game developer, you should ever design games with the primary goal of making money. Do it for the love of the genre, to have fun and for those fans who will share in your joy of the finished product (I’m super thankful for every person who tells me they’ve played it and had a good time). The same could be said for any other creative endeavor, whether you’re a musician, an actor or an artist.
We do it because we can’t not do it, and never mind the consequences.