Which Project Do You Choose Next?

In Another Indie Quandary: Short v. Long, Tim faces the problem a lot of indies face. Do you pick the shorter project in order to make some cash sooner, or do you pick the longer project, the one you really WANT to make, hoping not to go bust in the process?

The short project, if successful, means you are one step closer to being financially independent of employee-dom. Of course, shorter projects are probably short because they aren’t very hard to make, which means anyone could make it and probably has. How successful can the game be? If it becomes successful, how hard would it be for competitors to encroach on your turf?

The longer project would require funding to help keep you alive long enough to finish, which usually means working for The Man for a little while longer. And that’s assuming you finish. Longer projects are notorious for becoming nothing more than tech demos. Tech demos don’t sell, unless you are trying to find a better The Man, but it is probably not why you wanted to make the game in the first place. Still, this project will probably be more enjoyable and, if successful, much more rewarding.

Is it a question of suffering for your art? Being timid vs being bold? What do you do?

7 comments to Which Project Do You Choose Next?

  • Tom

    You .. could .. do both 🙂

    I am currently taking a break for one week from my long project to produce a quick fire arcade shooter – which will hopefully bring in a little money to keep me going on the long project.

    I guess the trick is to not get too involved in the little project – turning it into another long one! That could be a nasty downward spiral.

  • Just because something is a shorter project doesn’t make it trivial to complete. Even after completing the project it still is not done. Yes, I will say the devil word… Marketing!

  • Do the longets biggest most professional project you think you can do, while at the same time staying motivated for the whole dev process.
    I find that to be around 7 months, then I start to lsoe it. Your mileage may vary.
    Big, ambitious games dont make 20% more money, they make maybe 500% more money.

  • Billy: I’ll say. It’s almost a year, and I’m still working on my “one month” project. A three-hour tour….a three-hour tour…

    cliffski: That’s an interesting observation. While anyone could make a Pong clone, they aren’t exactly in demand no matter how well-polished. Ambitious projects do tend to become more remarkable than easier ones. After all, there are less of them because not everyone even tries to do them.

  • Hmmmm … 7 months is about my threshold too. Though my games always take longer than that. The last few months are pure willpower and pride, I guess.

  • Jay: Would you say that after those last few months you feel that your next project will be a bit less ambitious, or do you feel more confident in taking on a bigger project?

  • Yeah we’re still tossing around the options between the two. Who’s got an angel we can borrow? Anyone? 🙂