When first starting out, try to avoid the “killer” game design! Ambition is good, but it can be a double edged sword!
Here’s a few of my success tips when looking for an engine for your first indie game…
Look towards THIRD PARTY (off the shelf) Game Engines that will help you EASE into game PRODUCTION.
It’s imperative that you understand that it’s very rare for your first (or even second) title to be a massive success. Unfortunately, that is just the truth. Overnight successes you hear about, do not REALLY exist… So, when starting out, it should be ALL about setting yourself up for wins towards completion of a production and delivery. This can be achieved by investing as little to no cost with your first game engine. EASE yourself into development and find as many tutorials as possible.
Play around! Many fall into the trap of wanting to make ‘everything’ happen in their first few games — i.e. Massive features, ‘first ever’ mechanics, robust AI, multiplayer, customization, montization, leader boards, hyper detailed visuals, etc. While these are great components to strive for, they will add an INSANE amount of work to the production pipeline, overhead, cost and workload! Creating even a simple game (especially as a lone developer) is daunting enough considering all that you’re responsible for.
So, here’s what I suggest:
I would look into starting with a more user friendly game engine such as: Game Maker. It’s not as deep, robust or multi-platform capable as say UNITY, however, in many respects, that’s its advantage!
Creating games is all about the art of limitations (as well as trying to break those limits). Meaning, create an awesome, PLAYABLE game WITH the crappy art, loose looking models, simple design, other limitations, etc. and over time find different ways to make your game better and more polished!
Here are a few examples of games that were successful using Game Maker:
Super Crate Box by Vlambeer was originally created in Game Maker. It was called “Best Free-to-Play PC Game” in 2010 by IGN:
Derek Yu started his game development career using Game Maker, including Spelunky, an open source indie platform video game released as freeware for Microsoft Windows. It was made again for the Xbox 360 in 2012, with ports to the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and then back to Microsoft Windows.. His later title, Aquaria, won IGF game of the year in 2007.
It’s important that you ‘gift’ yourself the opportunity to learn the creation/development process at the BEGINNING with tools that don’t overwhelm.
Experience, not over-ambition, is key to the evolution of GREAT game development.
So, start out with a fun, yet simple design. As well as, game engine tools that’ll get you a few ‘wins’ under your belt! Then you’ll find that, as you level up to more advanced designs and game engines (UNITY, UNREAL 4, etc.), you’ll be in a better position with the experience and FULL knowledge and appreciation of completing a ‘0 to end’ production to hit your next titles stronger and more in depth!
With that said, be sure to stop by on social media and tell me what you’re working on, I would love to hear your story! You can find me on Instagram (@ Indiegameu) and Twitter (@ GameCreator), tweet me with what you’re working on or if you have any questions about the courses and mentorship offered here at Indie Game U that could put you three steps ahead of the game and that much closer to your finished and completed product!