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  • Hang Line: Production Data And Tools Used

    [05.21.20]
    - Ed Kay
  • When I was thinking of entering the terrifying world of indie game development, I read a crazy number of game dev articles. A lot of them told me now I was doomed and that the Indiepocalypse would spare no one. But there were some articles I found helpful - those that provided honest and thorough postmortems of exactly what the developer did and how it turned out, and what it cost in terms of time and resources. So I'm hoping to provide exactly that with this article.

    Before you start reading, to give context to the data below I highly recommend familiarising yourself with the game by watching the trailer:

    Hang Line Trailer

    And ideally trying out the game (it's free):

    Download on Apple App Store:
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hang-line-mountain-climber/id1372005090?mt=8

    Download on Google Play:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.yodo1.hanglinerescue&hl=en_US

    Development team

    This is the easy bit - it was just me!

    Well, more accurately it was just me up until soft launch, then afterward I partnered with a publisher called Yodo1. 

    Aside from that, I did rope a few friends in to help with sound and music.

    What experience I had when I started

    Before making Hang Line I was working on AAA console games mostly as a designer or lead for about 15 years. I had mainly worked on action adventure games like Bulletstorm, Timeshift, Wanted etc. At the point I decided I wanted to make my own game by myself, here's what my experience looked like:

    • Design: 15 years experience.
    • Programming: 1 year of experience from my very first job in video games.
    • Art: zero experience.
    • Production: who needs production experience when you're working by yourself!? Er...

    Before quitting my job and making Hang Line, I spent about 4 months learning Blender via tutorials, just a few hours per day. I also spent many evenings making a simple parking game prototype in Unity to improve my programming skills over a few months. This gave me the confidence I needed to get started on a full project by myself.

    Budget

    This is a very simple section but I'm including it as people often wonder about how expensive it is to make games. Basically the cost of me building Hang Line from start to soft launch was as follows:

    • My living costs for a year and a half
    • Cost of fixing my laptop when it decided to die (you should definitely have a spare computer to fall back on in emergencies)
    • Cost of a few Unity assets (you can see the prices below)
    • Cost of entering the Apple development program (99 USD per year)
    • Cost of entering Google Play development program (25 USD one time fee)

    Aside from a few other smaller expenses specific to my situation, that was about it. Unsurprisingly, as a solo developer, by far the most expensive thing is simply your living costs. The only thing to be aware of is that if your game makes over 100k USD per year then you will have to pay for a Unity license, but hey, that's a good problem to have!

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