How To Go Virtual For Gamers
While most social activities have become restricted in scope, gaming has witnessed an explosive level of engagement. This has created incredible momentum for the release of indie games, but development can be challenging. Luckily, there are some concrete strategies developers can take to fluidly transition to remote creation.
Collaborative teams have begun to host virtual discussions once or twice a day. Organized and scheduled daily calls can restore a vital part of the game design process, from finding inspiration in the work of others to bouncing ideas back and forth. Bring some motivation to the start of a work day by hosting a morning meeting to set goals and to go over yesterday’s accomplishments. Holding a Zoom lunch break between collaborators can increase interpersonal connection and innovation. In addition, keep the creative, collaborative culture of the team strong during quarantine by having informal, non-mandatory daily timeframes for designers to jump onto a call if they want to take a break from solo work.
This period of isolation is a great time to start showing off the work you have put into your game development thus far! Numerous indie developers are taking advantage of streaming platforms to preview their games to wider audiences. Whether it be teasing the work in progress or showing off completed features and gameplay, indie developers are taking advantage of the recent increase in traffic to online services like Twitch. Providing players with a vision of what is to come is a great way to generate public interest and build connections in the industry. Take advantage of this free beta testing opportunity, and solicit feedback on how to improve your project. Streaming can be done either individually or as part of a larger virtual event (such as a Playcrafting event).
Another helpful strategy useful to generate interest in your game-in-development is to release a demo of the game for players to try out. Demo’s are a great way to hook potential players and hold their interest for when the completed game is released. In addition, you can gain a valuable source of testing by allowing players to interact with a demo of your project. This audience feedback might highlight areas for improvement or provide entirely new ideas for future development. Hook players early to your well-crafted gameplay elements in order to spread public excitement for your big release.
We also suggest utilizing this time to grow your social media following. A significant network on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter can help you connect with others who are interested in your game aesthetic or niche corner of the industry. On these platforms, you can search for organizations similar to yours and connect with their followers. You can collaborate with other organizations to mutually support each other and potentially share each other’s games and events. Also, look out for Instagram profiles of popular “game reviewers” who are spreading the word on the newest games. Try reaching out to these influencers to see if they will test or talk about your game to increase knowledge and excitement.
Best Practices for Going Virtual
Whether you release a demo or schedule a live stream event, don’t forget that The Arts Oasis can be used to popularize your work. Developers can submit their events through our create a free listing page. You may also create events after signing up for an account on Oasis. With an account you can also create an artist profile and update it regularly with new events and links to your personal websites. Please let us know if you launch a demo and we will try and review it for our blog, Artsfeed.
Announcing games, showing gameplay, and showing game trailers are all important marketing tools that used to happen at in-person conferences, and now they are happening online. Sharing game updates on social media and doing live streams on platforms such as Youtube Live and/or Twitch can allow you to reach your target audience and build excitement for your new game.
There are many communities of indie game designers or designers with similar missions that you can find online. One of those communities is Games for Change, a nonprofit that, in their own words “ empowers game creators and social innovators to drive real-world impact through games and immersive media.” This is a great community to be a part of, and they have conferences and resources that are now virtual. They host the Games for Change Festival every summer, and throughout the year they have initiatives for young game developers and STEAM collaborators. They have tons of games on their website geared towards bringing social change, as well as games where you might find fun and inspiration. Gamasutra is another gamer community that has daily news, interviews, developer blogs, and a community of game developers who focus on the art and business of making games.
The International Game Developers Association (IDGA) is another nonprofit that connects people who make games. Their powerful mission statement promises to “bring together developers at key industry conferences and in over 150 chapters and special interest groups (SIGs) to improve their lives and their craft.” This organization connects people from all over the world who make every type of game at all levels of game design and adapted for any device. Right now, they have a COVID-19 resource list that includes links to mental health support, financial support, community support, professional, indie design advice, and more. Remember, stay safe and play safe.
Playcrafting connects brands, developers, and fans nationwide through one of the largest gaming communities in the world. They are hosting regular virtual events and classes with opportunities to launch demos.
They host the annual Games for Change Festival, inspire youth to explore civic issues and STEAM skills through their Student Challenge, and showcase leading impact-focused games and immersive experiences through live Arcades for the public.
Community of game developers
The International Game Developers Association
AR and VR platform that encourages companies to collaborate like never before in a virtual space. All fees have been waived for membership due to the COVID-19 pandemic