What Independent Game Development is and is not

What indie development IS NOT

Before you move on, lets get one thing straight! Indie game development is NOT "development only". If you are an indie (independent) developer (in most cases) you are NOT working for someone else. That means few things.

Firstly and most importantly, paycheck is NOT coming. And that is especially true if you are one man (or two people) band. Secondly, in most cases, you are spending your own money. That means you will have to think NOT only about cost of development but also about cost marketing and cost of post-release support. Lastly and most importantly, if you won't make money you are NOT going to survive as indie and probably will have to go back to work.

All of the above means means, you are NOT excused from other activities - your life and career depends on how well you perform in all of those.

Assuming you are actually thinking seriously of being full-time independent game developer, monetizing your game is critical part. And to do that you need marketing.

If, however, you making games just for fun and satisfaction and don't care about the money, stop reading, go away right now and draw beautiful rainbow or better, an unicorn. It will change nothing.

What indie development IS?

Are you still here? Ok. Let's move on. We have already established that being indie stands for independent and means doing more than just coding. Those are many areas that have to be covered.

  • Development: creating your game functionality.
  • Art & design: creating graphical assets for your game (drawing, modeling, texturing, designing).
  • Sound design: creating sound effects and music, balancing them together (mastering).
  • Level design & balancing: making sure levels are well designed, playable and fun.
  • Testing: making sure game is bug free, UI and payments work as expected, game doesn't crash, new functionality doesn't break old features.
  • Project management: keeping eye on deadlines, coordinating activities to meat deadlines, estimations, budgeting.
  • Release management: releasing the game to target platforms, dealing with potential issues.
  • Distribution: simply put: monetizing the game, salesmanship.
  • Marketing: telling the world about the game.

Did I miss something? Let me know in the comment section below.

All of those activities can then be split into many separate sub-categories but we won't drill it down here. Short story is that there is a lot to do.

Working with people or working alone

There are many examples of successful one-man independent studios. It is possible. Just remember, if you want to survive, grow and thrive as a one-man studio you will either have to master all of the aspects of indie game development (nealry impossible) or hire people with right skills to fill those gaps. Alternatively, you can team up.

Easier said than done. Finding a partner isn't easy. It must be someone who not only complete your skillset but also someone you will be happy to work with. Building the team takes time. Building the right team takes even more time. It is, however, well worth it. Why?

Why working in team is better than working alone?

  • Workload is split between people.
  • As a team you can do more in less time.
  • It takes less time to complete the game.
  • You have more time to focus what you do best.
  • Working with others is more fun.
  • It is easier to stay focused.
  • It is easier to stay motivated.

We can go on, but you get the point, don't you?


Published by IndieForger