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22 Jul 2014

Questions Aspiring Indie Devs Should Ask Themselves in the Beginning…

Something about the summertime makes us want to try new things – go on different endeavors if you will. Perhaps it’s because many of us have a lot of downtime during the summer (speak for yourselves, guys), giving most a time to think and perhaps even contemplate a career change – or at least pursuing a passion you’ve always wanted to try. It happens, and chances are if you’re reading this, you’re thinking about trying your hand at developing your own indie game.

It’s exciting to be sure. The very thought of creating something from merely an idea to a physical product is enough to make you want to jump up and shout, “excelsior,” and I understand the feeling perfectly. Yet, before you get gung-ho and jump in head first into this crazy world of indie game development, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself.

It’s the topic of today’s post: what questions should every indie dev ask himself/herself before beginning their foray into this incredible industry? While these questions are not the only questions you should ask yourself (you will come across questions suitable for your own situation later), these (in my opinion) are some of the basic questions you should ask yourself before beginning.

 

Namely…

 

Will this replace my full time job, or do I want this to be merely a side gig?”

It seems like everyone would jump at the chance to develop video games for a living, doesn’t it? I mean come on – if you can earn a living developing indie games other people can play, that’s like a dream job, right? To millions of people – yes it would be. But for you? Maybe, maybe not.

Believe it or not, some people do not want to quit their day job to develop indie games full time. Many people actually love their day jobs, and giving that up is just something a lot of people do not want to do. You know what? That’s perfectly fine. Developing indie games isn’t just an ‘all of nothing’ endeavor: if you want to focus on your career and develop indie games on the side, that’s okay!

The keyword here is ‘expectations.’ What do you ‘expect’ to get out of this? Do you want to eventually develop games full time? Do you want to keep it merely as a side gig? Are you unsure? Know your expectations before you dive into this.

 

“Are you able to wear many hats simultaneously?”

If you think your indie studio is merely about developing games and nothing more, you’ve got another thing coming. Indie developers fill many roles simultaneously – and it’s the same with anyone that works for themselves. For example, as a full time writer I don’t merely write all day. In addition, I’m also the editor, marketer, accountant, secretary, etc. While 90% of my work day consists of writing, the other 10% of my day consists of filling these other roles as well.

Unless you want to spend a fortune hiring people full time to fill these roles (i.e. you don’t), you’re going to have to do it all yourself. If you know (or think) you can handle it (and even welcome the challenge), then you have the right mindset. If not, well, you may want to rethink starting your own studio.

 

“What’s your budget?”

It seems like an obvious question, but it’s one you need to answer before you begin.

  • How much do you want to spend in total?
  • How much do you want to spend outsourcing the development to others?
  • How much time do you expect it to take?
    •  Be sure to double the time you expect your first game to take.

Along with other questions you are going to want to ask yourself regarding the budget. I realize you probably have no idea how much things are going to cost now, but do your part to have a solid idea and keep it under budget!

This is just the tip of the iceberg regarding questions to ask yourself before delving into the world of indie development – and truthfully, an entire book could be written about this topic.

Thus, I’ll turn the topic over to you guys. Do you have any questions you believe aspiring indie developers should ask themselves before diving head first into the world of indie development? Let us know in the comments below!

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