Many times when you do a submission to a publisher, reviewer, sales channel, or game contest, you never hear about what could be done better if you aren’t accepted. As we’ve just looked at 100+ submissions, we’d like to share some things we’ve learned about what made some submissions stand out and others blend in. Hopefully this extends to other submissions you’ll do in the future, not just for Indie Fund.
1) Videos that showed something interesting in the first 15 seconds created a strong positive impression and a desire to see and read more. Don’t show menu systems, help screens, or progress bars (unless you’re PopCap).
2) Sound really helps…don’t leave it out! Sound and Music make the game feel more alive and help communicate the mood you are trying to set with your game.
3) It’s really hard to read lots of text. Just a quick short description to explain what we should expect from the video is all thats really needed. This is one case where its better to do the minimum, not the maximum.
4) Follow directions. Incomplete submissions and games that don’t meet submission requirements create a negative first impression.
In hindsight, our free-form email submission process emphasized the writing part, and not the video part, which is the most expressive component of the submission and the one we look at first. It then became more difficult for us to get to the important stuff.
Live and learn. We changed our submission process and now use a web form instead of email. Less work for developers and less work for us.
If you’ve already submitted under the old system and haven’t heard back from us yet, you shouldn’t submit again…we’ll get to it soon.
Thanks again for all the submissions, and please keep them coming!