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Is IndieDB nearly dead and does it deserve it? (Forums : Cosmos : Is IndieDB nearly dead and does it deserve it?) Post Reply
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Sep 29 2017 Anchor

(This is my personal impression, but I might be very wrong, so consider everything I say here might be wrong. The way I wrote it suggest like I really know it for sure, but I do not).

Not entirely sure why this website is still online.

This might be a wrong impression, but I don't think the owners of this place take this website too seriously, they are on to better things.

Looking at the forums I can see most topics have no replies. Seems this place has turn into a place where new developers come to show their stuff and not look at any of other developer's stuff. Ironically, this also make it so their own stuff isn't really followed by all the other developers.

I think this was coming for quite some time. I think the creators of this Website did some mistake, or just didn't care.

One of the things is that they ruined their own "IotY" awards by being dicks(intentionally or not) to their own users.

When IotY was announced, suddenly big indie developers who never were on this website put their games here. That in addition to the very odd rating system that rewards new games exponentially made them win most of the awards.

I think there should have been a minimal time of registering your game and being here to prevent those people popping up just for the awards.

I didn't frequent this website that much in recent years, but I think it's apparent the owners of this website tried to upkeep this place with minimal effort. They knew this isn't going to ever outgrow itself, so they keep it as something on the side who still makes income with minimal upkeep effort.

How many people really get other people's feedback on here?

How useful is this place? I think it's too much of a time sink to be worth visiting here.

There are nice projects here, I just wish there were other places to see them than here.

Oct 2 2017 Anchor

I 100% agree. I have lurked around for a long time but it's been dead the past few months. I can't point it to a single thing. I almost didn't relpy to this just so it would reinforce the point!

Oct 3 2017 Anchor

I think the biggest thing is that they gave up making this website better if it means investing time and effort in it.

Oct 3 2017 Anchor

Have to agree with you. Though there aren't any big changes, the devs are working on a new design (ModDB only for now) but it seems like it's taking forever. The v5 design is in testing for like over a year now and since I wrote some feedback 8 months ago the website doesn't look like it's been changed a lot (or actually at all)

I know that there is only a small team behind all of this and that the dbolical team takes care of five websites but especially lately there hasn't been much activity. I don't know if it's because the devs are busy at the backend or not.

Concerning the forums there have been a lot of threads about how dead it already is and it seems like it's slowly dying with every month that comes.

Hope this doesn't sound like hate which it most likely does, I'm just concerned about this website because I like it a lot and use it on a daily basis. Nevertheless, I hope that the devs will come by this thread and post their opinion on this issue to clarify the situation! :)

Oct 5 2017 Anchor

I think the issue is three fold:

- Many games don't support mods and sometimes actively discourage modding. Moddb is built on modding (obviously) but the few games that do support mods are divided between here or other sites (Other sites which may be better suited for lots of small mods while Moddb is better suited for large mods)

- Which is my second point: Large mods. Several years ago you would see a lot of really large mods and total conversions, which were neat, had a lot of big news posts, had a lot of traffic coming in, and brought a lot of discussions. However indie games got big. With a couple of games that sold extremely well, a lot of modders are going to indie games to make potential profit off of them as you can't do that with mods.

- Which leads me to my third point: Indie games. Indie games require a lot of marketing, and marketing requires you to be in a lot of places. Indies will jump over from Moddb/Facebook/Reddit/Twitter/Tumblr/Itch.io/etc to try and promote their game. Previously Moddb was a good 'hub' of talent and discussion ranging from beginner artists to some pros in the industry and served as a good general discussion area; but now there are many, many forums and boards to discuss game/mod development, some of which are highly specialized or unique to a certain skill set. If you're an indie developer or marketer, you're already frequenting other more specialized forums for discussion and will likely gravitate towards ones that are more popular/more fitting for both self promotion and discussion. This would be why Moddb's forums aren't as popular.

That being said, I think Moddb still gets a surprising amount of traffic, though discussions seem to be lacking overall.

Oct 5 2017 Anchor

Regarding Indie games. I think GameDev is a bad business in General. Even "Triple A" studios might lose a lot of money because they fucled up something in their game. And then some little indie slap something like player unknown or goat simulator or whatever which isn't really as polished as a "AAA" game and it makes tons of money.

The competition for indie games is fierce and I think you shouldn't really make indie games outside of as a hobby or if you don't already have a main income not related to games.

That being said, this place COULD have been good for indie developers that don't intent to make it their main source of income.

The thing is, this website pits the developers against each others. The developers don't really have an incentive to visit their peers' games and they all compete for exposure with the broken rating system and etc.

There is no real community here, just developers individuals posting their games and ignoring everyone else games. Ironically, everyone else ignore their games as well.

Oct 5 2017 Anchor

Hey, ModDB is the main focus of the staff now, and there is a secret, unannounced project being worked on by the team. v5 will have to wait until that project (related to both modding and moddable games by the way) is revealed and released to the public.

It's not that, really. As mentioned by the previous posters earlier and many other people in the industry, indie games are much harder to promote, advertise and market. Indies, unlike AAA games, struggle to build up their separate fanbases, only big indies make a splash. FNAFs were and are uber popular on the site:

FNAF 1, 4.5 million views: Indiedb.com
FNAF 2, 2.3 million views: Indiedb.com

The problem is indies have no real, centralised fanbase, hardly any fans who regularly dig up info about related games or mods. Indie players just visit the FNAF pages and practically ignore most of the other indie pages. Mod players oscillate around one single AAA game or AAA game series, that is why mods gain much more popularity that way. There is nothing to unite indie devs or indie gamers on the site, bar a few community groups which do exist, groups such as Unity Devs, Indie Gamers, and Indie Devs. But those groups are too generic. IndieDB needs something more specific, specialised to bring indie gamers together.

So mods have shared fanbases, and they are centralised. Indie games however... do not, and they are not. Also the biggest problem is indie gamers ignore IndieDB because it does not sell games. Nobody cares for a promotion platform such as IndieDB, all indie developers and gamers care about is a commercial site, an indie storefront (as well as the biggest editorial sites and the most popular YouTubers).

Either way. No worries, v5 is simply on hold at the moment... until the secret, big project is revealed. (No, it's not another DB site!)

Edited by: feillyne

Oct 5 2017 Anchor


I just think for indie games you need to focus on a... developer pat each other's back kind of approach. The current system pit developers against each other as they fight for exposure.

The projects here are usually on a very early stage, so there is really not much point bringing gamers here. But I think developers could theoretically help each other out. I dunno... maybe if people comment on someone's page, and other people rate his comment up, then he gets "exposure points" or something like that.

I dunno, just an idea.

Regarding fans, most games don't really need fans. The vast majority of gamers aren't really fans. Most people play a game because they like it, so focusing on fans is kind of a... wrong in a way. I think fans are good for early access/alphas, but it might be better to make the big splash on release instead of in early access for your game.

Fans are a very small part of the gamers. Most gamers don't care personally about the developers of the game. They just care about the specific game. If it's good they like it, if it's not, they will trash it even if the previous game was good.

So maybe focus less on "marketing" and business side, maybe it should be better as a platform to "seed" games. Like reveal games in early stages or just focus on revealing the games to fans as you said and not the mass market.

Or maybe make this something where developers help each other on the development process and give feedback.

Right now it's almost nothing, it's more like devs posting their games and nobody cares.

Oct 5 2017 Anchor

Nah, that's an idea too, naturally, to focus on gamers as gamers, and devs as devs and help them cooperate or help each other than fight for exposure, but well... not everything would be tackled then. The simplest solution would be to set up IndieDB as a distribution platform, i.e. make it possible to sell games on IndieDB. That could solve all problems, and encourage indie gamers to browse through the games listing much more thoroughly and carefully, rather than just visit and then leave.

Oct 10 2017 Anchor

There's been other threads dealing with these issues in the past [lack of forum activity, reason of IndieDB/SlideDB's existence (why not merge them in ModDB) etc.]. I've suggested a couple of ideas before, but right now one thing somehow bugged me: the fact that all 3 sites share their forums. People, like the original poster, say things like "this site", "over here", "we devs" and they refer to IndieDB and inde devs, while I am reading the thread from ModDB, making it somehow confusing. I understand that this is helpfull and maybe adds to the to the traffic of the forums (3x the people in them) so maybe there could be a distinction between each site's post? Maybe a tag next to the thread title "send from IndieDB/SlideDB" or a colored background (red/green/yellow) ? So when I see a question like, "how can we sell our creations here?" I won't answer "Duh, you can't sell mods dummy!", just because he sent it from IndieDB and I am reading it through ModDB ;) .

For the point that IndieDB should focus on small dev groups and early staged games, so there's an increase of collaboration between developers, I don't think the admins can do anything about that. I believe mods and indies are fundamentaly different, and they can't work the same. Mods are made out of passion, (most) indies are made for money. When something's made for money, there will always be a (fierce) competition. The idea of having IndieDB working as a distribution platform is an awesome idea though and could work well for both the website and the devs themselves. (correct me if I am wrong PompiPompi, but I believe that was your point?)

Another point that has been made is that new entries on Indie/Mod/SlideDB can win the yearly ModDB award(s). While I never thought of that as a mod developer, I must say it is somehow unfair if you are an indie dev., have invested some time and effort on your creation(s), and some big indie game company (or a game with a huge fanbase) suddenly comes around the end of the year and wins that prize. I agree with PompiPompi that there should be a minimum of a two months (duration debatable) registration in this site(s), before the votings for the new competition start. Practically, "Mod/Game of the Year 2015" will be a creation released somewhere between September 2014 and September 2015. And I say September because, if I remember correctly, votes about the awards start around early December.

And I hear about a secret project?! I sure can't wait to see what you guys are working on :D .

Edited by: Thanoshld

Oct 11 2017 Anchor

Don't be fooled that other places would be better. Even the ones you named suffer from the same problems. People drop in to shout out their stuff (most of which is actually not really worth the shouting to begin with) and out of the door they are. IndieDB is more or less the same in terms of problems as the zillions of indie deving related sites around the Internet. I've yet to see an indie deving site which is actually worth a lot.

Oct 11 2017 Anchor

Well TIGForums have a lot of active people.

Newsweek is also decently active, though it has faded a bit in time.

Itch.io is decently active.

I guess if you could also sell your games in IndieDB, it would be more interesting. Because it's kind of tiring seeing so many few days old projects with nothing much to try out.

And to be honest, doing those updates of your game in early stages defeats the purpose. Because in order to gain traction you need a lot of updates/articles and the "ROI" is low, because you don't get a lot of people interested anyway.

So there is very little incentive to update your game here regulary. On the one hand, you need to invest a lot to get noticed, on the other hand, even when you are noticed there aren't that many people following you or giving feedback.

There is just no proper incentive to be active in IndieDB right now.

I guess we need to think what developers and gamers can gain by being active here?

So bottom line, updating your stuff here for developers is a lot of effort, on the other hand for gamers there isn't a lot of interesting things to see here because most of it is early stage projects.

This place make more sense to put your stuff only on a more advanced stage... but by then developers might have better options.

Oct 11 2017 Anchor

I seriously doubt the other place mention give any more feedback or "being noticed" than here. Maybe it "feels" that way but I doubt a serious quantification would show any more "benefit" from these places than for example here. But overestimating your "influence" or "being interesting" because of some vague commenting functions is a human problem.

Oct 12 2017 Anchor

In TIGForums you really can get good tips and feedback from experienced developers.

It's very active and they help each other out.

INtense! End Boss
Oct 12 2017 Anchor

I think it's unfair to consider IndieDB dead. Our forums have never been an active part of our site, it's always been the articles, downloads and game profiles.

Really it depends how you view games promotion. These days it is so hard to find attention on Steam with all of the noise, and so you need to take little wins and people from where ever you can get them. As far as i'm concerned every little bit counts, it's about building an audience and fans gradually, establishing links and relationships in google etc.

IndieDB probably won't give you a lightning bolt of attention, but spend 20minutes making your game profile pretty, then share images, videos, articles and files on your profile when you have them, and I can bet over time you will benefit greatly. I'd say we would do far more than say Facebook and Twitter. While those platforms are easy to use and "make you feel good" about posting, they mostly hide or bury everything unless you pay. We put every piece of content front and center provided it is well written, contains plenty of images and is relevant.


Scott Reismanis
DBolical | @scottreismanis

Oct 12 2017 Anchor
PompiPompi wrote:

In TIGForums you really can get good tips and feedback from experienced developers.

It's very active and they help each other out.

I've seen that place earlier. Can't say it had been helpful or friendly. Never returned.

Oct 12 2017 Anchor

Yea, they aren't that friendly and they don't really like anyone slightly right of being a Marxist. lol.

I got banned from there, but when I was there they had people with a lot of knowledge and experience, not something you can see here too often.


At some point working on promotion material is just a waste of time. It takes a lot of work to properly prepare promotion material.

Also, there is an issue with exposure of your game. When you put all the screenshots and things from your game, once it's ready people are already tired of it before even playing it. Because they have been expose to so much visuals and story of your game.

I think it's useful if you are a "noob" and don't have enough experience as a game developer. But to be honest, it's better to finish the game first or nearly finish it and only then start promoting it. Or in a really advanced stage, and even then, don't give too much.

That is also why people aren't interested in most of the games here, because developers can't really progress fast enough to show a lot of interesting things and people get tired of early stage games after a while.

That's why Itch.io is more succesful than here, because it presents a lot of finished games. Early stages games are not as interesting.

Oct 12 2017 Anchor

Itch.io is known for mediocre to bad games rushed together in short time and of low quality. I don't know anybody who is serious about Indie game development recommending this place at all. What I've heard so far is simple: they don't want to be linked to low-quality image that place has. IndieDB on the other hand has higher quality projects mixed in between so you can find good projects here.

Oct 14 2017 Anchor

Well it is at least games you can play, most games here don't get finished or even get to a playable state.

So even bad games are more interesting than games you can't play.

Also, yea they are games that people made quickly. But it could be "messy fun".

The sad thing is... a lot of commercial games are like that as well. Mostly indies and mobile games.

They have high production values but they are too sterile or they don't put any effort to add things beyond what would make it commercial viable.

Oct 14 2017 Anchor

Problem is (in my opinion) that the majority of users in this site are developers, only a small percentage may be just gamers looking for games (and even then, I am sure they are here to follow just one or two projects in particular).

I am not saying that developers cannot be gamers and therefore follow other projects, but I find it more likely that most of them are here only to promote their games and that is it.


Meadow of Dreams

Oct 14 2017 Anchor

PompiPompi That's unfair. Many projects here get finished and outshine AAA titles in game mechanics and fun by a large margin. Of course there are a lot of duds in here (the so called idea-guys and 3-month-then-dead-projects) but that doesn't stop good projects. Besides I prefer no game released than a bad game released. These guys could have helped a real project to get to higher grounds. This is the main problem with indie titles: good project don't get the help they need but bad ones divide and scatter the available resources.

Oct 14 2017 Anchor

Yes, the issues is that developers have barely the time to play games themselves. While gamers would have more things to do here if there were games to play.

Eventually games are being made, but in this website, most of what you get to do is look at updates of unfinished games or in early stages.

Regarding the separate argument of indies and etc... I will just say the issue currently is industry wide, both AAA and indies. My complaint of games nowdays, is that almost everyone, that includes both indies and AAA, look for ways to make the most business viable game with the least effort possible.

Both AAA and indies try not to add anything that has no business value. Don't tell me indies are so unique, in matter of fact I would say it is the indies who started the "hack culture" of finding short cuts to make games quick.

My complaint is that games don't have real depth to them. It doesn't matter if it's indie or not. I can just feel when a game has no depth and it is just an interactive presentation instead of "an adventure" inside a much more bigger fantasy world you only get to see a snapshot of in the game.

Most games that have joke names, 4th walls, pop culture, politics or very "artsy" but with no depth games are like that. Even the "good and fun".

If you take a game from the 80s, let's say Golden Axe. Eventhough today one person can create Golden Axe, back then a big team worked for many hours on Golden Axe. And it shows. The game has more depth, more time and care and thought invested in it.

Nowadays most games are trying to find the quickest way to capitalize, and thus they leave a lot of the things that "Aren't essential" to make money out of the game.

Oct 15 2017 Anchor

That's not correct. Back in the time Indies started (they way I remember them and the way I do it myself) they had been the ones with the innovative ideas. They went where AAA would not go and presented game mechanics and games in general that had been really games since you felt they wanted to go different ways. Sure they did not have the budget available as AAA games and for that matter they had to came up with shortcuts to get to the goal in reasonable time but there they use shortcuts "for a reason". It didn't hurt their great idea in general. AAA today though choose "different kinds" of shortcuts (brutally hurting games in general) which they do not need (due to their larger teams and budgets). Unfortunately Indies in the recent years started to go down the very same route which is very bad. This is also the reason I used the word "real indies"... those adhering to the original spirit. I know some in here dislike this term so I'm braced for the incoming hate-bees.

Oct 15 2017 Anchor

No, indies were never the noble people who would do things just for the sake of art.

Indies were just like any other normal person.

Most indies were in it for the money, even the big indies. They are not different today than they were in the beginning.

And that is what I said... I said depth. Games like Golden Axe have a lot of depth even if they are not revolutionaizing anything. Streets of Rage 2 has really good AI fgor the enemies. It's not some sort of "innovation", it's just a game done well.

Many indies cling on gimmicks or hooks because they can't put the time to make their games have depth. That is why some 80s games are still good on today's standards because they have depth, they have people invest many hours and many talents working on them with big teams(And why so many indie mimicking old games are just an empty shell resembling old games).

Even Atari era games have some thought invested into them.

Indies are too in a hurry they look for short cuts and don't invest in the things that aren't apparent on the surface. Like the gameplay. They find some gimmick or "innovation" and then they don't need to invest too much in the tweaking and balanced and depth of the gameplay and game.

PUBG is innovative, Goat Simulator is innovative but those games don't have depth. That's similar with many other indie games that have great visuals but feel a little empty inside.

Edited by: PompiPompi

Oct 29 2017 Anchor

I have to admit to being the type of user who uploads games and doesn't really participate in the rest of the website. I'm not sure why I do this. I'd be lieing if I said I didn't have the time. Half my problem is that I spend too much time thinking of what to write and it takes ages (I've spent about forty five minutes writing this post and I've not said much)

Generally, I use IndieDB as a place to store games online for people to download. However, for the current game I'm working on, I've decided to put together some work in progress articles and an alpha build but it's a lot of effort. I'm in two minds as to whether or not it's worth it but I'm going to continue with it until the game is finished.

I agree that the system on IndieDB pits developers against each other but I'm not sure that can be entirely helped. Yes, it would be nice if people gave some feed back. I think a good addition would be to have a "random" button, a bit like Wikipedia's random article button. No rankings, no alogarithms or anything else to bias the search. It might help the hidden gems come to the surface a bit more.

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