(image by google… I laughed so hard at this picture!)
Before we jump right in, I just want to take a quick moment with you if you’re new to Indie Game Development (beginning stages of your first game)…. if you’re not new, skip down!
Let’s just start, really quick, with a refresher of what the actual definition of Indie game development… it “is the video game development process of creating indie games; these are video games, commonly created by individual or small teams of video game developers and usually without significant financial support of a video game publisher or other outside source. These games may take years to be built from the ground up or can be completed in a matter of days or even hours depending on complexity, participants, and design goal.” Thanks, Wikipedia!
If you’re new to the indie development world, I’m just going to come right out and say it… YOU ARE IN FOR A RIDE AND A LOT OF HARD WORK!
That’s not to discourage you, however! I’ve been an active participant in the video game industry for over 20+ years and ALL of it is hard, yet so, so rewarding. SO, before you get discouraged and intimidated, I want you to know ANYONE can make a game, as long as you have the right discipline, drive and skill sets! Making a game from scratch is absolutely possible — ESPECIALLY when you start SIMPLE!
I recently answered a question on Quora that asked, “Why is building games difficult for indie game developers?” Many people assume that it’s the mechanics behind making the game. While learning the processes needed, such as coding and art, can be very difficult, there are COUNTLESS tutorials that are available to little or no cost that you can learn from. The real ‘rub’ for a lone developer comes by way of self management and accountability.
Whether you are new or weathered, here are 3 things that no one REALLY talks about when it comes to Indie Game Development. Oh, and some tools to CONQUER them!
The real ‘rub’ for a lone developer comes by way of self management and accountability. You can research the right game engines all day, but without accountability, you’ll be researching for the right engine… all day!
1. Self management and accountability are difficult traits in Indie Dev because you have no-one else to answer to.
While you have the advantage of being the only voice and worker, you also have the clear and present danger of making excuses! Excuses are DANGEROUS and SUPER EASY to fall into.
One way that you can avoid this danger is by finding a mentor or some form of a group that can keep you challenged and accountable.
There are countless free, public groups on Facebook that allow you to submit questions and screenshots of your work! However, with these big groups, it’s hard to make those crucial, one-on-one connections with experienced individuals that will help take your game to the next level. My Big Idea To Beta (BITB) Track and Inner Circle Facebook Group has given many indies the training and guidance they need to stay challenged and accountable to their game development.
2. There is also the real potential for ‘burn-out’ and ‘frustration’ as you spend time juggling multiple responsibilities and/or learning new tools and processes.
One way that you can avoid this danger is setting up a strict schedule that will position you for WINS! Then, you can lessen your work load by divvying up the tasks to others!
Most indies, that I’ve encountered, go with the “flow”. They will weave and bob their way through their development process, following the “inspiration”. While inspiration is great, you can EASILY lose sight of the end goal and get lost in feature creeping, unnecessary detailing, and distraction! You definitely want to avoid that! Head over to my Facebook page HERE, and watch my Facebook live video that talks about how to make others value your time and how to schedule out your time PROPERLY and EFFICIENTLY! Stop reading and go watch it, seriously!
Another way you can “lessen the workload” is by focusing on what you’re REALLY good at and divvying up the other tasks to other professionals/teammates. Considering team work can be very uncomfortable sometimes, I get it. You don’t want to have to deal with others budding into your personal space, your work flow, great ideas, etc. But if you’re too bogged down by how much work you have, it is DEFINITELY worth considering. Check out this article from Envato Tutu+ that will help you How To Find Other Game Devs or Artists To Work With.
3. Lastly, there is the real feeling of being ‘alone.’
As humans, we are social and relational creatures! Interaction with our fellow humans (i.e. creatives or community) is paramount toward receiving vital feedback and insights.
As a lone developer, I HIGHLY suggest you get into some online groups with ‘like-minded individuals’. Also, force yourself to go to as many networking meet ups or conferences as possible.
Community investment will help keep you motivated and accountable. It is especially vital during the difficult times you will encounter that may bring your production to a grinding halt. Community is there to lift you back up and give you insight and feedback that you would have never seen by yourself. Here is an awesome resource for finding game development meet ups in your area!
Hope these insights and tips helped! Hit up our social media and interact with me there: Instagram: (at) IndieGameU & Twitter: (at) GameCreator! I would love to know more about your project and where you’re at! AND if you’re really ready to dive into indie development get my Big Idea To Beta (BITB) Online Track and Inner Circle Group Membership! You won’t regret the best possible start to your indie development adventure!