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How to earn £12,000 in one year from game development?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Arowx, Sep 10, 2011.

?

How much do you earn from games development

  1. $10,000 or Less - Just for Fun

    122 vote(s)
    63.9%
  2. $30,000 or Less it's still a hobby

    8 vote(s)
    4.2%
  3. $30,000 or More making a living from it

    61 vote(s)
    31.9%
  1. ghreef

    ghreef

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    I've read a lot about Kongregate on this thread. I have to admit - I don't get it. Yes, ad revenue may not be THE way to go, but if it's your chosen path for now, why put all your eggs in one basket? Good wall street investors don't invest in only one company, large brand names aren't sold in only one store, Unity isn't made for only one platform....

    There are other web game providers out there. They may not be as large, they may not pay out the same percentage, but put your games out to anyone and everyone. Something that may not be a hit on kongregate may rake in huge on shockwave3d. Even if you only get 2.25 per site per month, doing it at 5 sites gets you 11.25 per month with not that much extra work. Do that for 3 games, you are up to 33.75 a month - and this is all averages (which I've already commented on).

    But really, it gets the game out there - your name out there, tie it all back to a simple website with a support forum and you've creating a marketing vehicle. My simple blog, with 4 posts, and ok marketing already has 13k+ registered users in less than a year. Granted, a good percentage are most likely bots - but it's still a good vehicle to market with when I want. Diversify - it's marketing 101.

    (just my 2 cents - hope it helps someone)
     
  2. janpec

    janpec

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    Noone said that Kongregate is bad for use or should not be used at all, it is just bad for some serious profit. Since this thread is how to earn that ammount money as soon as possible, kongregate is not the best way. You may get some nice ammount of money with 5 games on kongregate, but you could get maybe twice as much with three IOS games or one polished PC game. And to include that into your reply, the ammount of expousure that you get with IOS games or PC games is much bigger than Kongregate games.
     
  3. rstehwien

    rstehwien

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    Great advice on this thread ... especially from JustinLloyd and Hippocoder.


    This is so true... us programmers are an easy lot to please. We often look for technical challenges more than monetary reward (well I've got an MBA too so I learned that money is nice... but it took a while to learn that lesson). I've been a software engineer for 15+ years mainly enterprise development. Enterprise development is code for "business apps that are mind-numbingly boring to tell your spouse about but it pays really well". I've done ssh client/servers, data visualization, cloud admin, etc and it has entertained me because of the technical challenges but the actual problem domains (like insurance data) hardly ever interest me.

    I've picked up unity recently to have something my newly born daughter might be able to relate to one day. The programming part of Unity is easy (for me); just a matter of learning the api and best practices for the work domain. Hard part has been getting used to working inside what is essentially a 3d modeling program designed to facilitate incorporation of assets. Coding for me is emacs or an ide. Forget creating art.

    I'm fortunate to have a friend to does 2d and 3d art along with music composition and a wife that does 2d art. So I'm learning to make some simple games using a prototype pack and eventually collaborate using real art to put it up for sale. I'd love to put the suggestions here to practice and make a real income. If that doesn't come to pass I'm still learning, having fun, and might be able to leverage the experience into a job one day.

    Oh... the asset server is missing key features that would allow itself to be called a version control system. No branches!!! The asset server offends me on so many levels... but then I get passionate about source code control.
     
  4. justinlloyd

    justinlloyd

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    Realise that Unity3D is still an immature production platform. There are many rough edges in amongst all the glitter and sparkle. Unity3D will get better, but it will take time, and when you come from other packages and platforms, with expected best practises and robust, mature tools, even if those tools do not shine as brightly as Unity3D, the experience can be quite jarring and drags us, the user, kicking and screaming away from our programmer equivalent of willing suspension of disbelief.

    Also, I talk in riddles. Allegedly. Do not be the student that approached me at the end of a talk some years ago to ask "So do I really have to put my hand in the air for one hour a day or were you just f****** with us?"
     
  5. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Write a book before you get too old :)
     
  6. rstehwien

    rstehwien

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    It is a little jarring coming to Unity from being a coder. The main jarring experience for me was the UI being more geared toward 3d art than coding IDE. Jarring enough that although I had purchased Unity 2.0 I dropped after a few aborted attempts... finally came back in 3.3 and I'm doing much better in the UI now.

    What gets my goat is that the non-pro version doesn't support source code control and the asset server isn't really source code control. There are good tools they could use like svn and git that are free... works fine for the asset heavy applications I've been working on lately. Unless there is something totally cool about the asset server I just don't understand they should just kill it and support svn/git/etc.

    Still unity is pretty nice. Nice enough I paid for pro and ios pro. I certainly don't need the pro versions from a game standpoint yet but it does: invest me in the tool to goad me into actually writing something (thus far it is working and keeping my roaming eye from looking at other tools), give me source code control, and allow me to make smaller ios apps without splash screens so I can control the branding (I do have an MBA... figure I might as well toss around some business words ;) ).

    Unity is also going places. I'm not sure if there are other tools that can:
    • Deploy to PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Web, XBox, and Wii (and others?)
    • Dedicated support and development by a company.
    • Mass licensed by companies like EA (that shows they believe it has legs)
    • Still approachable by an indie.
     
  7. janpec

    janpec

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    Yes there are other tools that cover just as much as any of those features:p

    However i woudnt complain that much from programming standpoint on Unity, i think that this is actually one of the strongest points on this engine comparing to others, unless you are or you have been using custom built engines before.
     
  8. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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  9. janpec

    janpec

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    I am really curious what will version 3.5 bring on performance side. If they improve skinning performance like they said that should be already quite a lot. At the momment performance for dozens characters is terrible i really hope i will be able to develop game with Unity but if 3.5 doesnt bring whats necessary i will have to say goodbye either to engine or game. Holding fingers crossed.
     
  10. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    Absolutely wonderful quote. A bit long, but fundamentally speaks the truth. Here's the same idea, in fewer words:

    "Being a professional is doing what you love to do, on the days you don't feel like doing it" - Julius Irving.

    It's one of the keys to success. Hard work is > than natural talent and the reason most successful people become successful. I blogged about it here: On Being a Professional Game Developer. Good hunting to you all, now, I'm off to hold my hand in the air.... cause that's how I'm ensuring success.

    Gigiwoo
     
  11. BlueRadius

    BlueRadius

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    hard work is my middle name.

    my success is certain.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  12. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Well there's hard work then there's smart work.
     
  13. BlueRadius

    BlueRadius

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    i knew you would be one of the first to reply to that

    i rest my case,
     
  14. vdek

    vdek

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    That's exactly what I'm doing! However, I am putting my own unique spin on the genre.

    I don't have the resource to make a large beautiful game so I'm working with my constraints to make something that looks good with my skills/budget. It's hard to make a large game world with high detail, especially considering the state of the competition.
     
  15. CCS

    CCS

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    Did you do that art yourself? I love that cat, both the art and the animation! The "Wile E Coyote" style of falling down the abyss really makes it something more- I walked off the edge of the roof just to show that animation to my wife :)
     
  16. BlueRadius

    BlueRadius

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    my ps3 dev kit is on the way, unity pro is next

    with my programming and artistic skills i can make a ps3 game play and look amazing

    acquiring a team part time to help speed up development on Survival Horror

    work hard, then work smart

    :)
     
  17. dogzerx2

    dogzerx2

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    @BlueRadius: Haha! Or.. you can work hard and smart simultaneously! X) (is that even physically possible?)

    @CCS:Hey!! Thanks! I'm flattered! I'm really hoping the cat game catches the casual iphone gamer's fancy! I'm working hard (not so sure about smart) to make the game as cool as I can. If I can make good profit on this I'll keep making more games, and maybe before I know it I'll be doing it full time!
     
  18. BlueRadius

    BlueRadius

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    Hey dogzerx haha yea it's possible

    Good luck on your game btw
     
  19. BlazerRad

    BlazerRad

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    He's jelous of anyone with talent, ignore him.
     
  20. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    I was inspired by Hippo's idea and by a talk from Jonathan Blow called, 'How to Program Independent Games'. So, I wrote a blog called, 'Done Done, the Wisdom of an Engineer'. Enjoy.

    Gigiwoo.
     
  21. BlueRadius

    BlueRadius

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    ....
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  22. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    You guys are clever aren't you? I've spent the better half of this thread giving out advice I learned the hard way and you're feeling attacked. You won't get far with that attitude.

    Wow. You two just blew my mind with that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2011
  23. janpec

    janpec

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    This topic is really getting offtopic:D
     
  24. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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    It is. Can we please keep this thread to constructive advice and examples on how to monetize an indie developer's games, please?
     
  25. dogzerx2

    dogzerx2

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    Lol, I had this co-worker that used to do everything the hardest way possible, we were always put together in projects. He was working at that place longer me, in fact he was the one who recommended me for the job spot, plus I'm not a very good leader, in other words he called the shots.

    Not that I'm lazy, but I always suggested different ways of doings thing. While my methods would give slightly less quality results, they would have made our lives a lot easier (shorter render times, faster performance when working, etc). But he always refused. We sure got many headaches in our time.

    Why did he always did things the hard way? Because if it looks like what we do takes a lot of work, it justifies more pay.

    That's working smart! XD
     
  26. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    My advice: learn what you can from what you encounter. For instance, what can we learn from the intentionally aggressive comments of others? Well, as engineers and business leaders, we can re-evaluate why we are posting on these forums. Are we posting advice here to make us feel better or to help others learn? Are we putting our ideas out and seeing how others react to them so that we can refine our own thoughts and ideas? Or deep down, are we hoping for validation through internet popularity?

    So, their hurtful comments give us a learning opportunity. A useful thought exercise. And then, when you're done... go back to learning and working hard on your products and... well, you know how that will turn out :).

    Gigiwoo
     
  27. janpec

    janpec

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    Hm thats ok if you are payed hourly i guess. If you are payed per project, per asset or any other way that is not smart work anymore:D
    Only if his longer results give really better visual results then it still might stay in region of smart work, otherwise its really not the thing to do.
     
  28. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    I'm just helping because I might want help someday. You give to take. My areas of expertise are appstore, selling, general game development, art and my weaknesses are more technical issues like shaders and math. I don't see the harm in helping out, someone might remember one day and repay the favour. Internet popularity is for others. Thats offtopic and I'd like to respect Angel's request from this point :p
     
  29. dogzerx2

    dogzerx2

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    @janpec: No doubt! In our case (as indie gamedevs, and assuming the main goal is to maximize profit) we want to release our product as soon as we hit the 'sweet spot'.

    After the sweet spot, you gotta work x2...x3...x4 as long to increase the game's value $. Polishing effort is exponential!

    ^
    All couch potato's worth of advice X)
     
  30. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    There's nothing wrong with couch potato advice, it's just better for anyone to just make something and sell it, and find out themselves. The path of least resistance usually rears it's head early on for smart workers, but not hard workers.
     
  31. joshimoo

    joshimoo

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    So do you guys think it's worth it to take the current pro discount for somebody in "Arowx" position? (just starting out)

    Or would you recommend to wait till your product is ready for distribution?
    Also is there a neccessary for IOS Pro? (Asset Bundles / Build Stripping)


    Hopefully these questions get this thread back on track :)
     
  32. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    I think the discount is good because pro has profiler and other abilities which really do help fix problems quickly in terms of performance. If you can afford it, you lose nothing if you're planning to ship a title by the end of the year. I don't think 4.x is due until at least next summer.
     
  33. janpec

    janpec

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    All true for IOS developers, while for console or PC developers you have to release product with all those x2,x3, updates included. Maybe x4 could be left after the release. I know that you know that, i am just pointing it out for others, afterall its informational and learning thread.
     
  34. Gigiwoo

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    Lulz! Frustrating to work under that, but funny in hindsight hopefully. I've had lots of engineers work for me who thought that everything had to be coded as if it was going to be scrutinized by Bjarne Stroustrup himself. As if the original designers of C++ were going to fly across the world and slap our wrists if we didn't use proper templating or the absolutely most strict type definition. Thus my joy in watching Jonathan Blow's talk about being an independent game programmer and the reason for my article, 'Done-Done, the wisdom of an engineer'.

    Curtiss
     
  35. PrimeDerektive

    PrimeDerektive

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    iOS games don't require initial polish, and console/PC games never get patches? Where do you come up with this stuff?
     
  36. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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    Another tool to keep one on track (which occurred to me to share as I used mine) is a very simple time tracker.

    I have a simple filemaker database, but any spreadsheet or text file will do...

    While you are working, LOG EVERYTHING THAT YOU DO.

    Project, Start Time, End Time, (calculate total), Task (I have sub task as well) - That's it.

    Most data tracking packages (spreadsheets, databases) have an "Insert Current Time" button. Use it. Don't bother fixing or rounding time unless you are entering a forgotten entry. It's only for you to look at.

    Like architects or lawyers tracking billing for clients or projects.

    Don't be too anal about this, as it's not a game, race or thing to win.

    But when you swap focus, log it.

    Then you can look back at it at the end of the day or week and it will let you know how you've been doing, what's efficient, what's not...

    If you feel you've been working a one hundred hour week, look back at your log and see if it's really 20.

    If you feel you've been working hard, look at the tasks... did you really spend all day modeling? Or surfing youTube?

    More importantly, did that task that you thought would take you a few hours actually take you a few days? Or a week? Should you outsource this?

    It's a very good tool to peel the mental layer away and remove the psychological distortion.

    (And yes, this is being logged as surfing the forum...)
     
  37. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    The only logging I do is twice a day for a number two!
     
  38. ghreef

    ghreef

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    How much time do you log for logging time? If you're a scatterbrain or can't stay focused, this item could be part of the problem. ;)
     
  39. exilekiller

    exilekiller

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    Hippo, great words throughout this thread. Motivation is key.

    Arowx- Are you aiming towards iOS and do you have to be licensed to sell them on the store? Id love to have someone compile a future game and see if it makes $400+ and then buy the iOS part for myself.
     
  40. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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    To create a game for iOS you need the iOS plugin from Unity:
    https://store.unity3d.com/shop/
    (minimum $400)

    To sell games on the app store you need an Apple Developer's License:
    http://developer.apple.com/devcenter/ios/index.action
    http://developer.apple.com/programs/register/
    (iirc this is still $99)

    TBH, if you have a game that successfully plays and has minimally successful artwork and polish, I feel strongly that you should be able to make this back within one year. This would mean selling between 1 2 apps per day.

    Making $18k, (£12k) will take a bit more concentration and effort.

    IF HOWEVER YOU ARE JUST GETTING STARTED >>>

    Wait on all the iOS felgercarb, learn Unity and make a game. The changes/porting from Unity free to iOS is simple. Get started first. Make a game. Lock it to iPhone resolution. Get feedback. Feel happy with it. Then prep it for iOS.
     
  41. Julz11

    Julz11

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    So true
     
  42. Arowx

    Arowx

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    I'm planning to give my games away as Freemium on iOS and Android, then allow people to buy hats in game! Would anyone like a $500 limited edition hat for their in game character?
     
  43. dogzerx2

    dogzerx2

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    @Arowx: Hey! How is your game going?
     
  44. Arowx

    Arowx

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    Slowly, hitting a few road bumps as I try and figure out a good look and simple controls!

    Is Pre-order a good choice for revenue support but will people want to buy hat's for an in game character before they can play the game? ;o)

    On the plus side it's getting deeper but fingers crossed this will make for a better game but probably make it harder to balance!
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
  45. TwiiK

    TwiiK

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    http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=no&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.adressa.no%2Fnyheter%2Fokonomi%2Farticle1697982.ece

    Ignore the title, I realize it didn't translate well. :D

    Here's the more interesting parts rewritten a bit where I felt it was needed:

    Perhaps this serves as a motivational boost or just as some insight into what apps sell, I don't know. Use it as you see fit. :)

    As for my insight into why this app sells, without having actually tried it that much myself, I would be inclined to believe it is because of the unique multiplayer. It enables anyone whether they are in class, on a bus, in a car, or anywhere in the world to play against other people, multiple at the same time if you want to.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
  46. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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    For interest's sake:
    6,500,000.00*NOK = 1,129,407.96*USD

    I'm in my iPhone, so I've not checked out any of the above information.
     
  47. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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    Ah, Wordfeud is Scrabble™ in another form.

    I think this falls into a different category than a complete "indie" game. "Scrabulous" did very well on FaceBook until they were shut down.

    I have not completely read the article, but the original scrabble is immensely popular, and tapping into that would make you lots of money... dubious as it may seem.
     
  48. TwiiK

    TwiiK

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    Yeah, I haven't followed this thread so I'm not sure what has been discussed, but a huge benefit of doing something like Scrabble is the huge audience it appeals to and nearly zero need for art assets (which is what takes up most of your time usually :p).

    There's surely a ton of other board games that could work in such a multiplayer setting as well. Or spin offs of board games.

    Just as a side note I was hooked after 10 minutes of trying Wordfeud. :p And I haven't even played something that wasn't a shooter in decades.

    I mean, a game that you can play while at work without anyone even noticing is a pretty brilliant thing. :)
     
  49. CharlieSamways

    CharlieSamways

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    I think I need to add myself into the less that 30k bracket if things keep going this way :D jus' sayin' haha
     
  50. invulse

    invulse

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    I'm going to respond to this thread based on the first post, as I plan to not read 15 pages of this.

    I recently with my new game have made just over $34k about 2 months after it was released, and I spent 6 months on the project. Some advice I can give is:

    1. Don't go at it alone!!!! My first game I created everything for the game, and although the game came out ok, it could have greatly benefited from a professional game artists touch, as opposed to my graphic art background and programming. Also I could have spent a significantly larger portion of my time creating better gameplay instead of having to do absolutely everything for the game. For my second game I spent the money to hire professional artists and it was the best decision I could have made. The art came to me completed and I spent the entire time working on gameplay and programming.

    2. Create a game for the iOS! I see so many people creating PC/browser games in here, but currently iOS is the easiest and quickest way to get your game to as many people as possible, in a profitable manner. Getting your game featured by Apple is a really great advertising opportunity, even though it is difficult to have done.

    3. If your not a great marketer or don't have good industry connections, find someone who does to help you. This is by far the best thing that happened for my second game. Having someone who has industry connections, and connections to media outlets created hype, and generated sales for the game. I personally am terrible at marketing so giving away a percentage of the game for really good marketing was a no brainer. Just make sure you find someone who really wants to be involved with your game and development and not someone who till take a completed game and simply reap profits without doing anything themselves (this happened to me with my first game).

    4. Make quick prototypes to judge fun gameplay, then actually make a full game. So many hobby game developers will make a quick prototype and flesh it out into something that feels like a prototype with polish on it. In my experience you can tell whats fun after 2-3 weeks (part time) of development into a prototype. If the game is really fun, layout a design doc, tech doc and really go full throttle at it.

    5. Create a game that you can actually make. So many people try to tackle too much with their games, and end up with a half baked game. If you don't have 2 years to devote to creating different worlds and endless amounts of content/story, don't make an RPG. Choose a game genre or type that can be deep without having to have an enormous amount of content in it. Look at Fruit Ninja, although it was made by a team of people, its core concept is very simple, yet endless amounts of fun and could easily have been created by 1 or 2 people. Also look at Trainyard for iOS. Matt Rix was literally the only one who created that game, and although he is a very select example of a 1 man army who succeeded, he created a game that did not require huge teams of artists/developers to create.

    Hope some of that helps.