One of the biggest hurdles in developing your own indie games starts at the very beginning: translating your ideas into an actual concept. We’ve talked about the importance of prototyping your ideas for an indie game before, but even if you do that, there’s no guarantee that your prototyped idea is even worth pursuing in the first place!
But what can you do whenever you actually have a tangible idea that is worthy of being developing into a legitimate game? The challenges don’t stop there. It can be a real pain to even get started, and it’s the topic of today’s post.
William Anderson published an interesting post over at Gamasutra that details a method to getting your ideas into production that he personally uses, and it’s worth the read (especially if you are interested in teaming up with a publisher). The first point he makes is especially important:
Look at your situation
Anderson states that you need to figure out what you need to do to pull off the game, such as finding other individuals that can help you to develop your indie game. It’s the first place you need to start, and when you begin getting a team together (unless you are developing the indie game entirely by yourself), you need to begin thinking about a timeframe for developing the game.
How long will it take?
The best you can do is guess and inflate. We’ve mentioned this many times before: take the estimated time your project is going to take, then double it to give yourself enough padding for problems that will arise during the development process (and certainly, problems are going to arise as you develop your indie game).
Not sure how long it is going to take to develop your game? Ask your peers. You probably know indie developers that can give you an estimate on how long your project will take, and if you don’t? Meet some indie developers on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. and they will be glad to help you.
There are other places you can meet other indie developers as well. That sounds like a great topic for tomorrow, so if you’re interested on how to mingle with other indie developers and get some great advice from them, well, check out tomorrow’s post!
Speak with a few indie developers to get a general idea on the length of the project. You’ll get a general idea that you can plan around.
Create a design document
The design document is literally the lifeblood of your project. Every important detail about the game, the problems you’ve run into, the solutions you found, brainstorming sessions, bug reports, etc. all need to be in the doc. If it pertains to the project, it needs to be documented accordingly.
That’s a lot of information to document! It can be a burden for sure, but it needs to be done. Besides, if you run into a bug or a problem that was solved once before and documented properly, you can refer to the design doc and figure out the solution without having to deal with the problem all over again! To that end, yes , a design doc can take up a lot of your time during the course of the project, but it can certainly save you even more time in the long-run.
We’ve mentioned the best ways to organize a game design document before, so refer to that post if you want the easiest way to create and organize your game design doc.
That’s essentially it! It’s a few yet important steps you need to take before creating a tangible product. Have any questions/comments? Let us know in the comments below!