Indie Development Toolkit

Following on from my ‘Kit List‘, here are a few other tools and resources that are a big help for promoting indie games, and assisting with the day-to-day development process:

Screenshot Saturday

Screenshot Saturday is a great way to get screenshots of your game out there throughout the development phase. You just tweet a screenshot with the #screenshotsaturday hashtag and it will be automatically posted on ScreenshotSaturday.com. Indie Game Mag also post digests of Screenshot Saturday content, which can also help to increase interest in your game.

presskit()

A great tool you can use to put a Press Kit together. Free for everyone, open and easy-to-use for both developers & press. Developers only have to spend an hour or so creating well-laid out press pages with everything the press needs.

distribute()

distribute() is an easy way for developers to manage their press lists and build distribution. Simply send out a distribute() link for your game to your press contacts, and distribute() will organise all required information into a neatly organised list the system manages and maintains for you.

Promoter

Promoter helps you keep track of any and all press mentions. It also has a fair few other tricks up its sleeve, including:

  • Automatically track new press mentions of your games and apps
  • Browse a list of 800+ gaming and tech websites grouped by platform, sorted by Twitter followers
  • See at a glance who you contacted and if they wrote a review
  • See how many Steam Keys or promo codes you have left and when they expire
  • Get reminders for festival deadlines – never miss IGF, IndieCade or PAX 10 again

Promoter is well regarded by many indie studios, and it makes the job of tracking reviews much easier. Integrates with presskit() for optimal ease of use.

Contract()

contract( ) (pronounced ‘do contract‘) generates free, plain English agreements for and between game developers. Fill in the data below, talk it over with your collaborator, and sign it.

Google Alert

A free service that will send you an email notification when your game is mentioned on the Internet. You enter and save a Google search and it will let you know when new items match your search criteria.

IndieDB

IndieDB can be a good way to reach out and build pre-release interest in your game. It is really easy to get started; you just need to add your company details and logos, and then a listing for each game. They are also closely linked to Desura, so ultimately you can publish your game via these pages.

Make sure you keep your game pages updated frequently as this will increase the chances of a news item being featured on the front page. If one of your updates does get featured on the front page, you can expend a big increase in your ranking on the site, and a whole lot more visibility for a few days.

RSS Feeds

RSS feeds are a great way to allow site visitors to easily keep track of your studio news and updates.

Google’s FeedBurner service (www.feedburner.com) is a great tool to use to expand your RSS functionality. Services include traffic analysis and automatic social media links within your feed. RSS subscribers can then share individual posts on Digg, Delicious, Facebook and more.

Slidely

Every game developer has a ton of screenshots. Its what we do – the quickest and easiest way to show off a game. But instead of just sticking them on a web page, how about showing them a little love; add a cool music track and some nice transitions, and then share them. This is where Slidely comes in.

With Slidely you can create beautiful photo galleries, add music and share on the web and mobile. You can also create video galleries, presented as a slideshow.

MailChimp

A bulk email and newsletter management program. You can use MailChimp to create, send, and track email newsletters.

Create signup forms that match your brand/site’s look and feel, and send your subscribers product updates, event invitations, announcements, or editorial content. Analytics are included so you can generate reports to improve your campaigns and learn more about your subscribers.

Sendy

Sendy is a self-hosted email newsletter application that lets you send trackable emails via Amazon Simple Email Service (SES).

Sendy is another bulk mail option, which can work out much cheaper than other services when dealing with large volumes of email.

YMLP 

YMLP is another popular newsletter management program. Includes a built-in email newsletter builder, with 30 sample templates. No CC, no BCC, no “undisclosed recipients” – everyone gets their own copy, and can’t see who else is receiving the same e-mail.