Train2Game News: Frozen Synapse dev blogs about ‘How to Be an Indie Game Developer’

Frozen Synapse by Mode 7 Games is published through Steam

‘How do I become an indie game developer?’ is a question that’s often asked to industry professionals, so Mode 7’s Paul Taylor has attempted to answer that very query in a in a lengthy, but very interesting blog post.

Mode 7 Games is the Oxford indie game development studio behind PC tactical strategy title Frozen Synapse.

The ‘How to be an indie game developer’ blog post should make fascinating reading for any Train2Game student, as it discusses almost all areas of development and marketing. Subjects covered by Taylor include game design, concept, code, art and animation, music and audio, writing, business and marketing, free-to-play vs. pay once and even using videos.  Be sure to give it a read.

Taylor has previously written about what he thinks made Frozen Synapse a success, and there’s more about the indie title here on The Train2Game Blog.

Be sure to keep reading for advice from games industry professionals on how you can break into development.

What are your thoughts on the blog post from Mode 7? Do you have aspirations to be an indie developer and if so, what steps have you made towards it?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game news: Mode 7 Games on Steam, indie development and free-to-play

Frozen Synapse by Mode 7 Games is published through SteamTrain2Game students should find this Gamesbrief guest post by Frozen Synapse developer Mode 7 Games very interesting.

The bulk of the post sees developer Paul Taylor take a look back at how both business and design influenced the design and marketing of their turn based tactical title.

As previously reported by the Train2Game blog, Mode 7 Games have argued that getting onto Steam is essential for an indie PC game developer. Taylor reiterates that this was vital to the success of Frozen Synapse.

“Steam’s position in terms of digital distribution right now is well documented; having seen the results, there is no doubt in my mind that aiming to create a game which would stand up against other titles on there was the right thing for us to do in this instance.” he said in the Gamesbrief post.

Taylor also suggests that release timing was an element in the success of Frozen Synapse, with Mode 7 Games releasing it in a quiet time for PC releases. His advice to indie developers is to avoid releasing titles during busy periods, such as the run up to Christmas.

“The end of May turned out to be a fairly quiet time and a good time to launch for us: I’d just suggest that indie devs focus on avoiding busy periods (e.g. Christmas and late June to early August) when they’re shaping up for launch.” wrote Taylor.

The Frozen Synapse developer also discusses the growth of Free-to-play, but insists that the ‘pay-once’ model was right for their game.

“Pay-once is the most maligned business model out there right now:I would suggest that even the most hardcore entrenched old-school developers have been won round by the raw data that free-to-play games have generated, so pay-once is in decline.” said Taylor.

“I’m yet to hear a sane scheme for an F2P Frozen Synapse – I don’t think that a free-to-play game along similar lines would be impossible; however I have not heard any viable suggestions for how we could have done it with this game, the game we cared so much about making.” he added.

The Gamesbrief post certainly makes interesting reading for Train2Game students and it can be read here.

Gamesbrief examines the business of games, and Train2Game students can watch an insightful interview with website founder Nicholas Lovell here on the Train2Game blog.

Lovell also spoke in-depth to the Train2Game blog last year, providing useful advice about indie and social game development.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Mode 7’s post-mortem of Frozen Synapse? Will you take the advice on board?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Gamesbrief]

Train2Game news: Steam ‘essential’ for indie devs say Mode 7 Games

Frozen Synapse by Mode 7 Games is published through Steam

Train2Game students with plans to develop PC games will almost certainly be familiar with Steam, the digital distribution service from Half-Life, Portal and Team Fortress 2 developer, Valve.

Now, Mode 7 Games, the team behind indie title Frozen Synapse, have praised Valve and the way they go about promoting indie games, while keeping a hands off approach.

“That’s one of the best things about Valve, they won’t say ‘you are doing this’ – which they could do very easily – they’ll say ‘this is the kind of thing we want to do, this is why, how do you want to go about it?’ It’s great, it lets you try stuff.” Mode 7 Games co-founder Paul Taylor told

“We’re doing some stuff on Steam that people don’t normally do, like the free key for a friend thing, or offering the soundtrack as a separate thing you can upgrade to.”

“They’re quite different, and Valve had to do some actual system-related stuff to allow us to do that. For an indie game that doesn’t have a lot of clout, they’re surprisingly flexible and that’s great.” He continued.

“When you’re a company with that much power and that size, you have to strike a balance between doing things that benefit you and things that create a good eco-system for everyone,”.

“I think they’re pretty good at that, and they think very seriously about it. It is astonishing just how important they are in terms of the PC. Steam is really essential for indie games at the moment.”

The recent Steam Sales will probably have helped many smaller studios sell their games too.

Of course this isn’t the first time the supportive nature of Valve has been mentioned on the Train2Game blog, regular readers will know that community developers receive revenue from in-game items they’ve produced for Team Fortress 2.

So Train2Game, do you agree that Steam is ‘essential’ for indie PC developers? Would you attempt to get a game on Valve’s distribution system?

As usual, leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.