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September 18, 2020
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Jeff Vogel's Blog   Expert Blogs


Jeff Vogel founded tiny, adorable indie game company Spiderweb Software in 1994. Since then, he has written many fantasy RPGs, including the Exile, Geneforge, Avadon, and Avernum series and Nethergate: Resurrection. Has also done much writing, including the Grumpy Gamer series for Computer Games Magazine, the View From the Bottom series for IGN, and the book The Poo Bomb: True Tales of Parental Terror. He is currently a long-winded blowhard at the Bottom Feeder blog and a terse blowhard on Twitter.


Expert Blogs

Posted by Jeff Vogel on Thu, 27 Feb 2020 10:06:00 EST in Business/Marketing, Indie
Being an indie developer is, for most of us, a gruesome march to economic oblivion. Unless, of course, you can find a way to make a living from sources besides mere sales. Let's poke at some of the ways to get patrons to support us online!

Posted by Jeff Vogel on Thu, 05 Sep 2019 10:30:00 EDT in Design, Programming, Art, Console/PC, Indie
For 25 years, we have sold ultra-low-budget retro indie RPGs. Our graphics are lousy, and they will stay lousy. In this indie biz deep dive, we share a bunch of budget and sales numbers to show how accepting our limitations helps our business succeed.

Posted by Jeff Vogel on Mon, 26 Aug 2019 06:03:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Design, Art, Indie
For 25 years, we've sold games with super low-budget graphics. In the view of many, our graphics look TERRIBLE. This article is about the financial reasons why we don't fix the problem, and how it's possible to make a living focusing on your strengths.

Video games have a quality unique in popular entertainment: They simulate actual achievement, which results in the release of powerful pleasure chemicals in the player's mind. Let's explore this powerful addictive effect that keeps us all in business!

Posted by Jeff Vogel on Wed, 31 Jan 2018 09:09:00 EST in Design, Console/PC, Indie
A breakdown of the many different ways Cuphead uses randomness to create unpredictable exciting fights. This and other example show how randomness, unpredictability, and unfairness can make a game very tempting to a certain (large) class of gamer.

Posted by Jeff Vogel on Fri, 17 Nov 2017 10:30:00 EST in Business/Marketing, Console/PC, Indie, Social/Online
In this article, I settle all debates regarding game reviews: How good should a reviewer be at a game? What topics are a reviewer allowed to bring up when doing a review? Are review scores and review aggregators good? Does anyone still care about them?

Jeff Vogel's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 09/05/2019 - 10:30]

Once upon a time, I ...

Once upon a time, I wrote games that were fully moddable and people could write and share scenarios for them. r n r nHowever, we found this was an enormous amount of work and that doing this well isn 't really in my skillset so we stopped. r n r ...

Comment In: [Blog - 08/26/2019 - 06:03]

So I originally posted this ...

So I originally posted this on my Bottom Feeder blog, and it sent kind of viral. It 's gotten about 200000 hits in the last 5 days, along with a LOT of responses. These tended to fall into 2 categories: r n r n1. Yeah, your art is BAD, but ...

Comment In: [Blog - 08/26/2019 - 10:52]

This is one of the ...

This is one of the best articles I 've ever read on this site. I think it 's a treasure trove of inspiration for anyone writing a game set in war who aspires to make anything more complicated that a AAA shooty-shoot game.

Comment In: [Blog - 08/02/2019 - 11:08]

Addiction and addictive mechanics are ...

Addiction and addictive mechanics are ok, as long as they are used moderately r n r nSure. This is society 's attitude towards most things that are usually fun but potentially addictive, from videos games to beer. Alcohol can definitely cause great harm, but that won 't prevent me from ...

Comment In: [News - 03/09/2018 - 03:42]

I 've been selling indie ...

I 've been selling indie games since 1995. There was a pre-Steam time when I had to do all the hard stuff Steam makes frictionless file hosting, web page, forums, credit card processing, secure online store . I had to hire full time employees for that stuff. I know how ...

Comment In: [Blog - 01/31/2018 - 09:09]

Exactly. Poker is really random, ...

Exactly. Poker is really random, but you still need to learn how to play. What I liked about Darkest Dungeon is understanding that even the best plan can go south and figuring out how to tell when things have gone wrong so you can escape. r n r nCuphead frequently ...