Skill sharing is in humans’ blood and the more intricacies the professional field has the more tips people search for. That’s why a game development has such many handy guides from experienced programmers.
Let’s take a long hard look at 9 the most useful tips from the most successful indie developers who set up their businesses through both success and failure.
All the tips given in the article are of practical value and that’s always been a good idea to learn by other men’s mistakes.
Tips on design
According to Sid Meier’s words “a game is a series of interesting choices” it becomes clear that more attractive choices make the game more popular among players. If you try to make distinctive mechanics with no similarity in its functions, it will inspire player to return to the game all the time and will obviously attract their interest to making their choices. So while summarizing the work of all elements, ask yourself whether all of them are of prime importance. And if you find out that there’re two quite similar weapons, for example, cut one of them or better redesign one of them.
Leave space for better thoughts in your mind. It can happen sometimes that the game starts circling around a particular mechanic which is perceived as the core element. But when it is published, the result might be far from estimated. This experience isn’t rare. A lot of professionals in the field had faced these problems before they came up with a new idea and dared to change mechanics.
Remember that it’s up to you what your game is like, there’s no feature you have to insert. Keep on trying different mechanics till you're sure that all of the chosen ones fit the best. There’s no harm if you replace a lot of times, perfect ideas very often occur in the working ambiance.
Game production is gripping work. Your new project can even make your life till it’s finished. Therefore it’s common practice to be enticed into making a minor but visually attractive detail instead of working on the essential part – the content. An excellent graphics draw players’ attention to the game but can play a mean trick upon overall effect if it doesn’t keep in step with the content. Be cautious, avoid wasting precious time on fixing minuscule things, and focus on what is really important. A good piece of advice here would be to form the habit of putting yourself in player’s shoes and see how this or that feature influence player’s perception switching off the development process for a while. Player’s enjoyment increases sales.
Tips on development
When you start your first project, you can decide to do all from scratch as you aren’t aware what is better to start with, which tools can help forward, you need to learn a lot. But the faster you will learn already developed tools, the faster your projects will be accomplished.
Stop reinventing the wheel. When you start a new ambitious project, consider whether there’s an engine or tool that can speed up your work. You may recycle elements from your previous games as well. It will save money and time for implementing advanced features or polishing the game.
The choice of art style can as well have a dramatic impact on the general performance of your game. It assigns particular features to your game which can be time-consuming. Moreover, it may require a bigger team to accomplish all the tasks. So as an indie developer you should display wisdom on this matter.
Every additional art asset will cost you the expansion of the game scope and the number of team members, so think in advance which art style will both impress players and will help to achieve your goal.
Time management is what you’d better learn at the beginning. It is assumed that one day prototyping is presumably equivalent to a month polishing. So if you plan to finish in 6 months, you should spend no more than a week on a prototype. Weigh thorough how much time you and your teammates need for accomplishing a given task, all these preliminary actions will help you escape from finishing your project in haste or even dragging out. Sometimes it becomes clear that the project should be reviewed or replaced at the very beginning.
Don’t let yourself to get into a trap of underestimating game development intricacies. That's vital for an indie game developer not to let a project drag out. It's necessary to make as many games as possible, especially if you've just started your career because the experience gained in a short period of time will make possible to figure out what you’re apt at and what isn’t your strong side.
Tips on business
If you design a video game to have in-app purchases, be prepared to compete for a user base. Those developers who have quick wits, such as Shane Neville, outlined three types of players: players with skill, players with time, and players with money. By scrutinizing their desires and anticipations Shane Neville’s team worked out the strategy for creating a successful internet-based game.
Firstly, skilled players inspired them to build a strong combat system with capacity for the big amount of players, which originates from classic RPGs. Even people who didn’t plan to spend money became engaged in the game.
Secondly, players who had lots of time to play but who may not be very skilled made them issue the challenge to insert an element of randomness in each level. This option allowed to hold the interest of that type of players despite replaying levels.
Finally, the players lacking both skills and time, but ready to upgrade for money made the team reconsider scrupulously the value of every item in the game.
Whether your aim is to create something unique and make a fortune out of it, try to please all three types of players.
Beautifully wrapped things will always attract costumers' attention. It's like the first impression, which you can't make twice. This approach which works with toys will do the same in video game business.
The only thing that distinguishes a video game from a toy is the format. The video game packaging is the screenshots, the box art, the trailer and so on. It’s a general rule that packaging of your product reflects the quality of the game itself.
To enjoy the resounding success of your game first you have to do after it’s published is to promote it. That topic is widely discussed among indie game developers as it’s the hardest part of the entire production process to get your work seen. Indie games usually don’t have enormous fan bases, so be ready to spread the word about your game.
Take advantage of every opportunity to go to public events. Keep in mind that every person you meet is a potential player and telling them about your game is essential for its promoting. If you learn to cope with remarks and other bad experience you might encounter while promoting your game, you'll become closer to realizing your ambition.