Ryan Creighton makes sure to acknowledge precisely how average he is, but it's not a self-deprecating point. Creighton, the man behind Sissy's Magical Ponycorn Adventure
and dad of the designer, then 5-year-old Cassie, led a panel at GDC titled "Ponycorns: Catching Lightning in a Jar," which focused on tips for building a brand and marketing a product as an indie developer.
For an "average" developer, Creighton makes some exemplary points.
For example, build a game-specific blog or website and publish the story behind any game's development; personalize the process and make is easy for people to give you money, Creighton suggested and we completely agreed with.
Even though Creighton offered some wonderful tips for emerging developers, he also pointed out that there isn't a guarantee for success, at least not in the traditional sense.
Creighton's studio, Untold Entertainment, is in the hole at least $6,233, but it's raised more than $3,000 for Cassie's college fund, Creighton said. He didn't make Ponycorn
to get rich -- luckily -- but had clear reasons: Creighton believes kids should learn to code, that there should be more women in the games industry, and he wanted to spend more time with his children by involving them in the family business. In these areas, it appears he succeeded.
Creighton works on Untold contract projects and develops games for under-funded, lackluster Canadian television spin-offs to support his family, he told Joystiq after his presentation. Creighton had hoped to develop original titles for Untold full-time, but "it's been a rough three years," he said. He then turned to a circle of developers waiting to ask him questions and offered another piece of advice: "Here's a hot tip, fellas. Don't start your own company in the middle of a global economic collapse."
Creighton is currently developing Spellirium
, a "trashpunk" graphic-adventure, world-puzzle title for Mac, PC and mobile devices, which he is, of course, blogging about