It took a few years for the indie explosion to happen, but it finally happened, and games are flooding the market by the bucketful. More and more companies and solo developers are releasing quick and dirty indie games, with their main purpose being to become mainstream and getting success. Success is also starting to become increasingly rare, and many developers are becoming pessimistic about the industry as whole. I’d like to shed light on a few more mistakes that indie developers should strive to avoid.
LACK OF DEPTH & POLISH
If you want to make a good game, focus on having it being well made with high production values. This is easier said than done, but Vlambeer does a really good job explaining what exactly makes a game polished. Also, don’t forget to bring something new each time to keep the player’s attention engaged at all costs. There’s a reason why roguelikes have been making a resurgence in the past few years. The genre allows for maximum replayability and fun without the need for tedious manual level design.
TOO MANY LOOSE ENDS
Players hate bugs in games, and everyone does for that matter. A good indie game sells if it’s bug free, so ensure that the experience is pleasant and that the game is as bug-free as possible. Bugs will significantly worsen the game’s appeal and completely break the player’s immersion if they encounter a particular nasty one. Get as many friends as possible to help you test the game, or hire professional quality assurance services, but whatever you do, don’t release something that’s utterly broken.
NOT ENOUGH COMMITMENT
Many indie developers don’t do this job for a living, so they lack time or commitment, which can lead to poor results in the finished product. You need to truly dig down and focus if you want to ensure the great quality of a game, even if it means quitting your day job. Tom Francis’s Gunpoint is a rare example of the power of part time work, but is ultimately an exception rather than the rule.
NOT ENOUGH ORIGINALITY
Sure, using an old idea is okay, but if you want to truly stand out you have to focus on being somewhat original. Cloning a trending game can only get you so far. Appeal to a niche and do it right, and always try to bring a game that is better than the competition in it’s own unique way. Don’t hesitate to follow your original ideas to get the best outcome, and rest assured that the results will be well worth it!
TOO SMALL IN SCOPE
Many developers think that the indie titles should be small. This is far from being true however, because gamers want games to be long and bring their money’s worth, so it’s a very good idea to focus on expanding the scope of your smaller games if you think it has enough potential. Seek to make games that can be endlessly replayable or games that have a strong emphasis on long-term gameplay.
SHORT LIVED GIMMICKS
Finding a nice and fun gimmick to base your game around might sound nice and easy, but the reality is that most people are doing this, and because of that, these games get terrible mundane rather fast. Instead of doing this type of thing, every developer should try to create an interesting experience that is enjoyable and just plain fun, because in the end what remains is the lasting value of the title. If you find a fun mechanic, don’t be afraid to expand on it and flesh it out!
Let’s get real, the whole point of spending months and years of your life meticulously slaving away at your game is to get an audience to play them! Why bother making games if nobody knows about it. Many developers think that they should hide their babies until they’re deemed presentable enough, but that’s a very very bad idea. Start growing your fanbase as soon as you start working! It’s very beneficial to get an audience of fans to get feedback and ideas from, and the truth is that having an audience is the number one determining factor on whether a game succeeds or fails. There’s a reason why game franchises are massively lucrative—the audience is already waiting.
Well, there you have it! Please be sure to share this article if you enjoyed the read!