When deciding to develop a video game from the position of an amateur or newcomer, you may find yourself working as a one-person team, at least at the beginning. Many over the years have produced amazing titles working as a single developers, but it can be a monumental task, especially if you have no prior experience with game development.
Getting started may not be as difficult of an ordeal as one might think. Many resources have become available over the past few years, each one making it easier to thrust yourself into development.
There are many worries that might concern new developers. For example, tackling one’s own sanity during development can be a constant struggle, along with thoughts of doubt about the value of their game: “Is the effort and challenge worth it?”
Regardless of the outcome, there are many indie devs whose games never see the light of day. These tips for solo game devs will help maximize your chances of seeing your game to launch day.
Independent developers who want to turn their passion for creating games into a career need to start with scheduling.
This can be extremely hard for one person as life will become a balancing act between everything you once did on top of time allocated to development work. The key goal here is to plan out how to allocate and spend time in the best way possible that suits you.
This becomes extremely variable depending on the specific individual—and no one online can tell you exactly how to allocate time—but it’s important to analyze how you currently spend your time and how you can fit work in between everything.
Sleep is extremely important, which you should already know, but it’s essential when you want to maintain your focus when developing games. Taking some care of your diet can also help benefit concentration as well. Leading a healthy lifestyle is just as important as making sure you have allocated your time correctly and efficiently.
With working comes the need to have rest periods. Find time to take a break from your planned schedule throughout your schedule but also allocated some holiday periods that can last up to a week. This ensures you have pause periods so that you do not burnout.
Connections & Community Interaction
Being a solo developer allows you to have the freedom in decision making and how you approach your work.
One of the things that can benefit you greatly is interacting with potential customers and people who are playing your game and also other indie developers. You can talk to others about your ideas, guage those ideas with players, and use that information to improve your game.
The earlier you interact with the online community of developers and players, the easier it will be to market your product down the road. The connections you make early on will act as assets in the future.
On the topic of connecting with people, the other side of this is keeping in touch with people you know. Your own family and friends are important, and working on a project has the risk of taking over your entire life. The latter is dangerous, because on top of burning out, losing contact with those you know can be the final nail in the overworked, burnt out coffin.
Allocate your time for tasks, but don’t forget to allocate time for family and friends.
Motivation Obtained Through Passion
I have a firm belief in developer passion. Passion drives successful games. It’s what fuels developer to go that extra mile. It’s also something that a developer can choose to have and will be noticed by those around you, whether it’s people you work with or the public.
The quickest way to kill passion is to focus on the negatives. Instead, focus on the positives, the progress you’re making, and the love for the process (as opposed to struggling to finish a product).
Before the rise of the indie games market, a man by the name Daisuke Amaya created the game Cave Story. Cave Story is a freeware game today, but it spawned a remaster and various clones.
This game is a product of developer passion.
The game takes inspiration from games Amaya played when he was younger. His love of games helped drive his development work to cement his name amongst other successful developers especially those working alone.
Don’t Let Stress Dictate You
Game development is known to be stressful, and planning for everything is essential to being able to withstand the challenges that come with being a developer. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle helps tremendously and making sure you interact with others is a way to alleviate much of the stress you will face when developing games.
Passion for your job will help steer many issues away from you when developing. Lacking passion in your work will lead to developers feeling like they are forcing themselves to create and that is never a good thing.
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