An indie developer is a game developer that works alone or as part of a small team to create computer and mobile games without the financial backing of major corporations.
Unlike most major studios that make high–budget AAA games, independent developers aren’t scared to explore new and risky ideas, and they seldom adhere to industry–recognized standards. They also don’t make goods primarily to make money.
Here are some tips to help a budding indie developer:
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1. Don’t optimize at all! (until the game is completely ready)
The main thing in the game is the gameplay, if you are able to run it on the 3090RTX in HD without friezes and let the players (or publishers) play it is a success. You will not spend 80% of unnecessary time on optimization, especially as a beginner, you can, on the contrary, ruin both the game engine and the optimization itself with this optimization. You need to solve performance problems only when the game really does not work for this reason.
2. Throw projects before they are finished (this is not fatal)
If for some reason your project is stuck, you do not have the strength to do it, the players or people around you do not like it, in general, if you have lost motivation, it is very important to learn how to let go. This applies not only to projects, but also to people. If you are obsessed, and other people are not very, then taking on a joint project you will fail. Getting things done is great, but game projects can take years, and your life is limited, and it is very important to understand in time that the project is doomed!
3. Always show the game at any stage of its production
The person involved in the development of the game tends to dig into details that sometimes do not affect gameplay at all, but which for some reason may seem very important to you. A side view is extremely useful and will help you to always concentrate on the essentials. If you get bogged down in details that don’t add anything to the game – and progress has stalled – that’s a very worrying sign.
4. Perfectionism is bad!
Understand that the best is the enemy of the good. This is part of the “ruthlessness” because it is easy to fall into such a trap. You can endlessly tinker with some idea until it reaches the “ideal“. Forget it, nothing is perfect. You simply won’t get any further if you stagnate. As eagerly as we loudly proclaim that we strive for excellence and quality, we must define boundaries for ourselves, and be content with them.
5. Don’t do a project if you don’t like it!
Being an Indie developer means not depending on anyone. If you suddenly decide to make another mobile jerk for the sake of money – this is no longer indie – this is a business, it does not bring pleasure in itself, it is hard work that you have to plan and do consistently every day. In addition, now it is an extremely competitive environment in which 1% of people achieve success, and tens of thousands of people around the world try it.
6. Learn something new
Learning scares a lot of people, and that’s what makes it difficult for you to ascend to your goal. Indie developers are, in a way, jack of all trades. They need to know a little bit about every aspect of the game creation, including the mobile game development process, even if they hate this or that aspect. Marketing, business, programming, visual design, audio design, new platforms, AI design, storytelling, new technologies, et cetera. A good indie developer needs to get out of the comfort zone of their specialty.
7. Be aware of the risk
Indie games are not safe. You will have to sacrifice both time, money and, probably, your own reputation with every game you make and release. There are no guarantees. Very often you will get as much in return as you invest in the business. For example, is it worth a second mortgage on your home or getting fired from your job? Maybe yes, maybe not. It’s up to you what your risk limit is.
Read a book on programming or project management and implement anything you can do. Use your growing time scheduling skills to polish your craft in different ways, not just what will help your project see the light of day. You need to constantly train and develop your skills (and acquire new ones).
9. Start small
If you bite off more than you can chew (from the very beginning, having no idea how much effort it will take), then just “choke“, give up and never return to your endeavor. All this is training. Work your way to your mega project.
If you are interested in game design, here you can find instructions and examples: https://whimsygames.co/blog/game–design–instructions–examples/.