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Self-publishing lessons learned from Daniel Jones (aka Deejay) of Binary Tweed

By on July 29, 2010
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Welcome to the tenth in a series of 12 posts from games developers who have taken the brave step into self-publishing. They have all contributed to How to Publish a Game, and you can get the first two chapters absolutely free here.

Daniel Jones, better known as DeeJay, is the Managing Director of Binary Tweed, which makes “New games that are a bit like old games, but better.”

He started life as a web developer at a finance company (Head Of Web Development at a multinational online derivatives trading company, no less), but in 2008 he founded his own indie development company.

His first title is Clover, an adventure platform puzzle game.

What’s been the best thing about self-publishing your game?

Publishing through XBLIG gives up-to-date stats, and whilst the peer review process can be unpredictable, it’s much less hassle than XBLA/PSN certification. It’s also great only having to work with people I choose to, and being able to make creative choices freely.

What’s been the worst thing?

Lack of marketing spend really hurts. Luckily XBLIG has a core of devoted fan sites, but the PC release of Clover: A Curious Tale really suffered from low visibility. If the game had a publisher there would have been marketing funds, and existing relationships with key players.

What would you do differently if you did it again?

A 9-month development cycle was far too long for my initial title. Really I would have been much better off making something very simple with wide appeal, to get a better grasp of the technology and market. I’d also not take the word of ‘experts’ – a few times I did things someone else’s way because I believed that they were more experienced, and lived to regret it. I’d much rather make my own mistakes than have someone else’s affect me.

What advice would you give someone thinking about self-publishing for the first time?

XBLIG is a great easy-access route to market; you might think self-distribution on PC would be even easier, but it’s really hard to sell anything if you’re not on Steam. Start small, and be prepared to make games you don’t find particularly creatively satisfying in order to pay the bills.

You can find DeeJay at www.binarytweed.com.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com