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28 Oct 2014

Indie Developers: Know Dangers of Developing More Than One Game Simultaneously

There’s an interesting article over at Gamasutra that describes a few of the risks of developing more than one game simultaneously. Author Ulyana Chernyak gives some key examples that are absolutely valid, and without question they could very well hurt your indie studio. Though I’m not convinced developing more than one game simultaneously is a bad thing for an indie studio of any size (proper management can ensure multiple quality games can be developed at the same time), you need to keep an eye out for these dangers if your indie studio decides to develop more than one indie game simultaneously. Here are the dangers you need to watch out for:

Management can become lackluster

It doesn’t matter how talented your indie studio is: if your indie studio’s management isn’t as solid as it need to be, then the entire studio is going to suffer the consequences. Especially if you have a small team, you are going to stretch them thin to a point that the quality of all of your indie games will suffer. This obviously leads to your indie studio’s reputation suffering as a result, and before you know it? You could find yourself out of business.

Moreover, if you have a full-time staff and need to ensure they continue to work on developing games (so you can, you know, pay for their salaries), Chernyak states you could run into a brick wall:

“If your employees aren’t working, then you are losing money both in terms of development and the operating expenses of your company.”

Fair point, and it’s one of the beauties of outsourcing the game development process: you don’t have to keep a team around at all times. If it isn’t feasible for you to constantly develop indie games year-round (maybe you prefer to wait until you get extremely passionate about developing a game), then why have an in-house team to begin with? Instead, outsource when you need it and focus on developing one game on your own time!

Of course, you may prefer to have a game being developed at all times, and that’s perfectly fine! Just know that if you don’t want to developer multiple games at a time/only want to develop a game now and again, you have options.

Again: stretching thin

If you were to rely solely on your in-house team to develop games and you’re a small studio, you could run the risk of stretching them thin. You have hired at least one employee because he/she is extremely talented at a skillset, and while they may have other skills, most of them probably aren’t as strong as the skill you originally hired them for. So why ask them to work on a facet of your indie game that they aren’t particularly strong in?

Again, this all comes back to stretching your indie studio thin if you want to do too much, have too small a staff, and once again, outsourcing is your answer to all of these problems.

Too many games could equal a stall in production

Chernyak states that if you develop too many games, you could run out of funding and the entire studio could stall. That’s a huge, potential risk: and it’s something you need to be aware of if you are thinking about developing more than one game at a time. It all points back to two main points you need to have an answer for before deciding to develop multiple games at a time:

  • Can you develop your indie games with a trusted, outsourced team?
  • Will you stretch development too thin? Will this in turn cause you to lose a substantial amount of revenue?

Developing multiple indie games isn’t a bad thing, but knowing if you can handle the workload is vital before beginning. And that’s all there is to it: if you can handle it, do it. If you can’t? Well, you know the answer.

Again, looking forward to a post detailing the positives of developing multiple games simultaneously. Have any questions about the dangers of developing multiple games at a time? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Gamasutra

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