The Big Indie Pitch is a regular event run by the makers of PocketGamer.biz.
It sees indie developers engage in a speed-dating-style pitching competition for fame and those sweet, sweet promotional packages.
The event gives indies five minutes to pitch their games to a panel of press, publishers and industry pundits. The judges then pick three winners and everybody gets valuable feedback.
The indie view
The Big Indie Pitch is getting bigger and bigger as we bring it to events all across the world.
To give you an idea of what the event is like, who attends the events and the games on show, we've sat down with a number of past BIP contestants to offer their views.
This time, we spoke to Mavis Games developer Saygın Topatan who recently pitched Sneacat as a part of The Big Indie Pitch (Mobile Edition) at Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #7 and walked away with the third-place prize.
PocketGamer.biz: Tell us a little about yourself and your indie studio - who is on the team, and what are their inspirations?
Saygın Topatan: I'm Saygın Topatan, founder of Mavis Games. I'm into game design and development for the last couple of years, after many years of working in the IT industry.
Our first title is Slidey: Block Puzzle, which started as a passion project and luckily enough, it turned out to bring in good results. So we had the chance to bring amazingly talented and passionate people together as Mavis Games, continue supporting Slidey and create other amazing titles like Sneacat.
Can you tell us about Sneacat that you pitched at the competition?
Sneacat is an action/stealth game, with character skills and cosmetic upgrades. The game's main mission is to rescue kittens from guards and collect items from the levels. Then bring all of them to the main camp area. Rescued kittens continue their lives happily in camp and they receive food and toys from the player.
The core game is about hiding from enemy visions and neutralizing them. There are also challenging boss levels.
What do you think are the most unique and interesting aspects of Sneacat that players may never have seen before?
We believe rescuing kittens and continuing missions with them feels really good. When there are multiple kittens following the main character, it becomes a challenge to hide from enemies and approach them at the right time.
After kittens are successfully saved from the levels player can watch them walking around in the camp area. We try to create fun and enjoyable cosmetic upgrades for the main character, hopefully, they will put a smile on our player's faces.
Stealth games hold a lot of extremely positive memories for many people, with games like Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell being some of the standouts. However, despite its popularity, stealth games are rarely seen on mobile. What made you choose this genre, and what do you think you bring to it that may not have been seen before?
As we deeply respect those mentioned games, we believe that we could create a more mobile-friendly, easily playable stealth game with some depth into it.
We quickly understood in our play-tests that level design is really important to achieve this goal. Each designed level needs to be clear about the targets to achieve and at the same time, our players should be able to quickly understand the challenges in front of them. There should be no room for confusion. There are some puzzles to solve in the levels which provides multiple ways to pass any level without getting any damage.
For example, the player can directly run into any guard to kill it at the risk of losing 1 or 2 hearts, or lure an enemy into a hiding area and kill it without any damage risk. We believe this kind of freedom, provides a certain amount of depth and a great amount of fun in the game.
How did you come to choose the platforms that you would develop Sneacat for?
From the start, we target mobile IOS and Android platforms as we have previous experience in these platforms, and we believe a wide audience can enjoy playing Sneacat.
Looking at the studio a little more now, how hard is it to survive as an Indie developer?
Comparing to many other industries, I believe the gaming industry has many more opportunities to test and scale up. At the end of the day, an indie developer also tries to create a product or a service for the end-user. But as studios of the mobile gaming industry, we have the opportunity to evaluate the product-market fit more quickly than many other industries.
We believe market testing and iterating through these tests is always a golden key point, however, all of these should start with creative ideas and should be executed with a sharp focus.
Are there any tips and/or advice you would give to an independent developer out there who is just starting out?
I would say, try to bring your vision and creativity into your games. From a business perspective, it may look tempting and straightforward to try to replicate a proven success of another game, success is never guaranteed because of some hidden parts of those games or products.
Another point would be to always work on games that the team will like to play. Because you will need to play it thousands of times during development over and over again and you will need to not get bored from your own game.
How did you find your experience pitching as a part of the Big Indie Pitch?
Overall, judges, participants and our host were very supportive and the process is managed perfectly. It creates a great medium for participants to receive constructive feedback and recognition for their games. Overall, it was a very positive experience.
What do you feel you have gained from the experience, and what do you still hope to gain?
Five minutes for a session is a little short for me, but I saw it is quite possible. If each presentation could last longer and we were physically at the same place, judges would have a chance to organize their ideas in a better way while really playing the game and could have a chance to dive a little deeper.
What are your hopes for this game in the future, and do you have any plans for any future projects?
We hope Sneacat will find a massive audience and we will keep our players happy for a long time through new content and fun challenges. We always evaluate and prototype creative game ideas, we will certainly keep doing that and create new success stories.
Want to show off your exciting new game? We host Big Indie Pitch events throughout the year, so be sure to keep an eye out on our events page for an event near you, or even our new Digital pitches.