Hi! My name is Wlad Marhulets, and I wrote a book for you. If you know nothing about game development, you’re basically me before I started working on my first game DARQ. This book assumes no knowledge of game development on the reader’s part. If you’re an aspiring developer wanting to make a living from making games, this book is for you.
Please note: my book is not a “get-rich-quick” scheme. What you see above is the result of 3.5 years of hard work. Most of the game was done by myself. Although your game could be made a lot faster, achieving success in any industry requires time, hard work, and dedication. Most people tend to set short-term goals, but it rarely works to their advantage. The time will go by anyway. Don’t you want to see what your life could look like if you gave it all you’ve got?
As a first-time developer with no prior experience in coding, modeling, texturing, animation, game design, etc., I managed to launch DARQ to both commercial success and critical acclaim. With zero dollars spent on marketing, it was featured in major media outlets, such as IGN, Kotaku, PC Gamer, GameSpot, Forbes, and hundreds of others. Ultimately, DARQ became #42 Most Shared PC Video Game of 2019, according to Metacritic, with the average user rating of 9 out of 10. In my book, I share with you exactly how I did it. The book guides you through a step-by-step process of making a game: from downloading a game engine to releasing your first commercial title.
DARQ had over 70,000 wishlists before its release, which made it one of the top 50 most wishlisted games on Steam. It resulted in a strong launch. DARQ got listed on the “Best Selling” and “New and Trending” tabs on Steam. A day later, it landed in the “Featured and Recommended” — the largest spot on the Steam front page (the holy grail of exposure; shoutout to the almighty Steam algorithms!).
In this book, I’ve made every effort to share with you all my strategies that resulted in DARQ’s success. I also write about things that went wrong, so you can learn from my mistakes.
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15 Industry Veterans Contributed to My Book
DARQ wouldn’t have reached its level of success if not for the guidance from other developers and industry professionals. While I got to meet some of them in person, others taught me valuable lessons through tweets, articles, and GDC talks. It’s for this reason I asked them to share snippets of their knowledge and experience throughout this book. The book features advice from 15 industry veterans:
- Mark Kern | Team Lead | Producer
» World of Warcraft, Diablo 2, Starcraft
- Quentin De Beukelaer | Game Designer
» Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Narcosis
- Bjørn Jacobsen | Sound Designer
» Cyberpunk 2077, Divinity: Fallen Heroes, Hitman, DARQ
- Austin Wintory | Grammy-Nominated Composer
» Journey, ABZÛ, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, The Banner Saga
- Dan Adelman | Biz Dev
» Chasm, Axiom Verge
- Scott Millard | Managing Director at Feardemic | Former Managing Director at Namco Bandai South East Asia and Korea
- Wojciech Piejko | Lead Designer
» Observer, The Medium
- Barbara Kciuk | Narrative Designer
» Blair Witch
- Rami Ismail | Developer | Half of Vlambeer
» Nuclear Throne, Super Crate Box, Ridiculous Fishing
- Oskar Stålberg | Developer
» Bad North
- Jason Rohrer | Developer
» One Hour One Life, The Castle Doctrine
- Michal Mielcarek | CEO at Draw Distance
» Vampire: The Masquerade — Coteries of New York
- Toms Martin | Video Game Investor (Cyclone Capital)
- Stephen McArthur | Video Game Attorney
Last but not least, the foreword is written by my dear friend and mentor, John Corigliano, Oscar, Pulitzer Prize, and 5-time Grammy Award-winning composer. I dedicate this book to him.
Why I wrote this book
While the book will be available for sale, I’m well aware that most authors never break even on their expenses. My goal is to distribute the book for free to thousands of academic and public libraries around the world. As unemployment rates skyrocketed, my main motivation for writing this book was to help as many people as I could. Needless to say, if the book brings long-term PR value to my studio, I’d be happy too! But I also want to be useful and provide as much value as I possibly can. By sharing my experience, I hope I can help at least some people — those who find game development to be their passion, as I did.
The Book Will Pay For Itself (My Personal Guarantee)
Every platform has its own refund policy, so you can always get your money back if you feel the book doesn’t provide you enough value. I strongly believe that the book provides a lot of value that will ultimately translate into making you money. I want to offer you my personal guarantee that this book will pay for itself if you follow the advice enclosed in each chapter. If your game doesn’t sell enough copies to cover the cost of the book on your launch day, I’ll pay you 10 times what you’ve spent on the book *. The book is yours to keep forever, whether you request a refund or not.
*The policy is subject to a few conditions, such as providing valid proof of purchase, etc. The complete refund policy will be posted online shortly.
About the Author: NOT your typical story
My name is Wlad Marhulets. I came to the U.S. in 2007 from Poland, when I was 20. At the time, my parents had just split up in a devastating divorce. My mother ended up abandoning me, and my father passed away not long after. I was completely broke and had to borrow money to book a flight. I came to New York with $300 in my pocket, without knowing anyone there. I spoke zero English, and to make matters worse, I had a severe stutter. It was so bad that it would take me up to a half a minute to say a word.
Despite the circumstances, I was going to audition for the most prestigious music school in the world: The Juilliard School. My dream was to become a film composer. Having gone through a period of actual starvation and coming close to homelessness, I ended up becoming one of the three students of Oscar, Pulitzer Prize, and 5-time Grammy Award-winning composer John Corigliano. I was also awarded a full scholarship. (John Corigliano describes this story in more detail in the book’s foreword). It was pure luck. The kind of luck one never gets to experience in the absence of action.
After graduation, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue film scoring career. It wasn’t long before my name started showing up in the credits of big Hollywood movies (I wrote additional music for The Giver, starring Meryl Streep, Sabotage, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, November Man, starring Pierce Brosnan, and others).
Although one could say I was doing well, I felt emotionally drained working in the film industry. My dream of becoming a film composer started to fade because of constant stress, countless all-nighters, and the lack of financial stability (film gigs didn’t come regularly, so for the most part, I was still struggling financially). I had a burning desire to change my life. With a few months’ worth of savings, I started watching gamedev tutorials and working on DARQ. I didn’t quit my job immediately, but as the wishlist numbers for DARQ continued to grow, I eventually focused on the development full time.
Making the transition to the world of game development was the best decision I ever made. Releasing DARQ gave me a sense of financial stability I had never had before. It’s not just about money, though. Going from a broke, stuttering orphan to the founder and CEO of a rapidly growing company is an unparalleled experience. I want more people to realize how much potential lies within them, no matter what obstacles stand in the way.
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