Some Thoughts about our Submission Process

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!

  • Mikekan13

    Thank god for the clarification. I already submitted our game when this first opened. We had no emphasis on the video. Our game has come a long way and I am considering resubmitting.

  • DougAndHarvey

    Gotcha. By the way, is there any submission “closing time”?

  • Mikryan90

    I just want to say as a student studying the left brain aspect of game design, this project gives me tremendous hope for the game industry as a whole.

  • Andrew Strauch

    I like the new submission process, very streamlined. With YouTube, it makes it super easy.

  • Submitted yesterday. Isn't it late? ) Will see what happens.

  • Mike

    So… did anything ever get funded?

  • I wish Indie Fund would make some exceptions regarding the playable demo. I've spent years creating the art assets for my (award winning) game, DreamCasters' Duel, but because it's a fairly complex 3d game (as opposed to “side-scroller with quirky retro graphics” which has quickly become synonymous with “indie”) the only way for me to be able to produce a full-featured demo is with funding. Oh well, I still appreciate the effort these guys are making for the scene.

    • Andrew Strauch

      How is your game “award winning” if you only have art assets? You can make a playable demo with cheap 3D engines like Garage Games Torque 3D, or the Unity Engine. And there's a reason most indie games are 2D: it is more realistic to develop.