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Self-publishing lessons learned from Dene Carter of Fluttermind

By on August 5, 2010

Welcome to the eleventh 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.

Dene Carter is a games industry veteran of 25 years, and co-founder of Big Blue Box Studios, creators of the Fable franchise for the XBox. Over his long career Dene has worked as programmer and creative director on numerous games, including such #1 hits as Dungeon Keeper, Fable  and Fable 2.

He is now an independent developer at Fluttermind. His first game was Flaboo for the iPhone.


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

The best thing has been my ability to retain total control over every aspect of the game. As a massive dilettante, I’ve been a bit frustrated over the last few years as my position within a large company became increasingly removed from the actual physical craft of making a game.

What’s been the worst thing?

The worst thing about the whole process has been the backfiring of the ‘release early and update often’ ideal. In my case, I launched early with no leaderboards to get the buzz going. Despite my advertising that these were imminent (and now present in the version uploaded to Apple) this lack was taken as a serious omission in several reviews. Grrr…

What would you do differently if you did it again?

Ideally, I’d not have launched until leaderboards were in, despite various advice to the contrary.

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

Be warned: you’ll have to spend more time marketing your game than you did making it. Also, ensure that the version you release is as perfect as you can make it. You’ll be judged on it, regardless of future updates.

You can find out more about Dene at

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: