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20 Mar 2015

How Do You Know If Your Indie Game Is Actually Good?

If you are just starting out as an indie developer, you may be having a tough time figuring out whether or not your indie game is actually fun to play. In actuality, what you are worried about is whether or not the public is going to have a great time playing your game. It’s a problem that is as old as creativity itself, too; I mean, Homer likely wondered if anyone would enjoy The Iliad and The Odyssey. Your situation isn’t unique, so let’s take a look and discover together how to know if your indie game is actually good.

What do you think?

When you look at your finished (or nearly finished) indie game as a whole, how do you feel about it? When you sit down and play the game, do you find yourself having fun, or does it feel like a bore? Often, going with your gut is the best way to judge the quality of the game; and if you’re proud of it, that’s usually a sign that the game could be considered ‘good.’

We are often our own worst critics. We see the flaws in our works that no one else can see – and it drives us to perfection. If you want a second opinion, have a family member or friend play your game for you, and tell them to give an honest opinion of the game. If it’s aligned with how you view the game, you will have a decent answer as to whether or not it’s actually solid.

Local playtesting

If you want even more answers, consider playtesting your indie game one more time (you are playtesting, correct?). We’re written a few posts regarding the best practices for playtesting and finding playtesters so reference these posts. If possible, we suggest using local playtesters. Per one of our past posts, here’s why:

“You want to judge their body language. Body language is invaluable with seeing how people react to your game, because it’s honest feedback that you can use. If you see someone squinting their eyes and cocking their head to one side in frustration at a part of your game that shouldn’t be hard, make a note of it and ask them about it later. Watch every little expression on everyone’s faces, notice how they internally react to your game, and from there, improve your game.”

There you have it: body language is the most reliable type of data, as it will tell you whether or not the player is having a great time!

Beta distribution

Also consider distributing the beta version of your indie game if you want extra players trying out the game. While you won’t be able to read their body language, it’s worth at least getting a second opinion. TestFlight for iOS and Google Play Developer Console for Android are ideal for mobile games. For indie games you will be selling on PC, simply distribute the demo software via an .exe file or the equivalent.

Upload footage

Furthermore, you can also upload demo footage of your indie game to show everyone how the game plays. It’s also a great way to market your indie game as well if you opt to share the video publicly. Upload it to YouTube, directly to Facebook – wherever you prefer!

Always keep revising

Although you strive to perfect your indie game, it’s never going to be absolutely perfect. It’s important to continue revising your indie game in an effort to make it at least a little closer to perfect than before. After you release the game, pay attention to reviews and comments about your indie game (we suggest using a tool such as Ice Rocket to regularly monitor mentions of your game) to identify the best ways to improve the game.

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