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27 Jun 2014

Don’t Overcomplicate Indie Development

When you look at indie development on a grand scale, it sure looks complicated, doesn’t it? From managing your outsourced workers to ensuring your games are ranking for the right keywords on the App Store to marketing properly, there is a lot that goes into developing and selling an indie game. It certainly seems complicated.


Except it isn’t.


Look, I won’t BS you guys: developing an indie game and getting people to buy it can be tough. More developers than ever are wanting to get their foot into the proverbial door and start their career as an indie develop just as much as you do. With inexpensive tools and the ability to hire individuals that can work on certain tasks better than you can, it’s never been more feasible to make a living out of developing games. It’s an uphill battle to be sure.

But at its core? Developing indie games is as simple as designing your dream game, finding a way to make it a reality, and enticing people to play it. It’s an ideology on the same lines as another post I wrote last week entitled, Want to Learn How To Be An Indie Developer? Then Build A Game. It’s advice that kind of goes against my advice from yesterday, but if you are just starting out and want to learn everything you need to know about indie development, stop reading. Stop visiting message boards. Just…



You’ve undoubtedly heard of the concept of learning on the job, and indie development is the same way. Sure, you want to learn everything you want to learn before diving head first into the development of your game, and that’s understandable.

  • What concepts do you need to keep in mind before developing your game?
  • What types of games are better suited from one platform over another?
  • How do you know if your game is fun?

It’s questions like these and more that you are going to have before you get into developing your first game, and that’s fine – it’s normal. However, the best way to learn these concepts is simply to ‘begin.’ Even seasoned developers that have been in the industry 20 – 30 years are still learning new concepts and strategies every day.

What makes you think that you can learn everything you need to know by merely reading and planning before you begin? It’s impossible. Again, to truly learn this craft, you have to stop planning and reading. Instead, start doing.


Develop to learn

I’ve interviewed a ton of developers in the past, and they all share one thing in common: to get where they are today, they had to start developing concepts and pet projects in order to truly understand what it meant to develop games. As stated above, you have to eventually dive in and try to learn what really makes a fun game ‘tick,’ and these developers all did that.

Indie development is constantly a learning process, and you are always ‘developing to learn.’ Even so, it is especially important to develop to learn when you are just beginning, and once you finally start developing your first major indie game (after learning ‘on the job’)? You are going to find that you still are not even close to figuring this whole indie gaming thing out – and that’s okay! As stated earlier – even veterans are still learning new things every day!

Thus, don’t be afraid to develop to learn. Work on simple projects. Implement different ideas you have into prototypes and concepts. Learn by trial-and-error, and you will be ready when the day comes to truly develop your first solid indie title.


Keep developing, keep learning – no matter what

It’s as simple as that. By continuing develop your indie projects, continue learning, and continuing to ‘fight the good fight,’ you’re going to be on the right path to developing the indie games you want to develop, ensuring they are the best they can be, and persuading others to download your games as well. Simple.

Nobody said developing indie games are easy. But the path to learning how to develop quality games? It’s uncomplicated – and it’s as simple as just ‘doing.’
Now get out there and start developing the indie game of your dreams!

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