My name is Jeff Mills. I'm a developer at Red Fly Studio in Austin, Texas. We recently shipped a title I built virtually single-handedly in Unity. I have been very impressed with the power of that tech for quick, small-team development. In the case of Elenints (which we've released for iOS, Android and a free demo online at www.elenints.com) I started from a blank project and had a working prototype up within a few days. The complete development cycle was less than four months, start-to-finish with only a little outside support distributing the title to the App Store / Google Play.
I would encourage anyone with a game idea to download Unity and put their ideas onto the screen. http://unity3d.com/unity/download/
But as exciting as it was to take my idea from concept to full title so quickly, I've run into a bit of a let-down when I look at the download stats for my game. I had (perhaps naively) assumed that if you make a good game, people will play it. And indeed, everyone I know who played the game loved it. Granted, they were mostly friends and therefore a little biased. But a few people have managed to discover the game amidst the glut of titles on the App Store and Google Play Marketplace, and Elenints has received pretty universal praise by all those who have played (at least those who decided to post about it online).
So I'm left in confusion. I guess I missed a step:
1. Make fun game.
Note that I don't really expect to get rich from making games like this, but I do wish more people would play the game I worked so hard to develop. The game is free to download or play on the web. We offer a dollar upgrade that unlocks some extra play modes, but the freebies are a blast on their own. I didn't expect a million people to play my game, but I'd hoped for more than 100.
I suspect that this community in particular can appreciate my confusion and disappointment, we who pour our hearts and souls and pixels into a passionate project only to have it globally ignored. What is that magic middle step? How do games show up on the App Store / Google Play recommendation pages? There aren't many games on the Most Popular page from big-name publishers, so I doubt their advancement results from an expensive marketing campaign. What is the trick to start the word-of-mouth grassroots campaign that results in thousands of people giving your game a try?