I know what you are thinking, “5 reasons to not become an indie game developer” what a negative title, but this is a follow of our previous article: “The five reasons to be an indie game dev“
You’re right, I used it to grab your attention because I’d like to show you the dark side of the Indie Game Development world too.
You could you ask me why… The answer is simple, you need to know! You need to know that If you are strong enough to get through the difficult roads of this world you will become a hero and your dreams can come true.
One last warning, now it’s time to put the children to bed and if you have a weak stomach please be prepared for what you are going to read.
Still here? I think you are the bravest adventurer I’ve ever met, let’s start….
What a lonely life the indie game developer one is, you surely will be alone with your ideas of your video game and If you want to make it real (obviously I strongly believe in you) I am afraid it will be a lonely journey.
That’s not always a negative point, but it’s important to know that only you, especially in the beginning of this journey, will face every single challenge, every single doubt and every single choice that will influence the success or failure of your game.
You can ask your friends or some other indie game developer, but if you want to put your idea into action while you are initially not skilled enough in this world, working with other people with their ideas, most of the time different from yours, will be extremely difficult.
Also if you make a team with some other indie in the game world, for instance you will be the developer and another friend will be in charge of the graphics the concept remains the same, the team instead of only you will be alone, no help from the world while you are a no-one.
Knowledge and Organisation
Let me list just a few of the almost 20 jobs you should know and manage just to create your game: level designer, game designer, game developer, animator, audio engineer, tester, UI/UX designer. These are just common skills you should learn to create a good game, obviously, in the beginning, it’s impossible to have all this knowledge, but a game is a product and as a product it has many processes before it sees the light of day.
A lot of stuff right? Here the organisation starts to knock at your door, you need to be ready and well organised to step by step divide and solve all your gaps and problems during the game development phase.
Just think that a company has the help of hundreds or thousands of employees to make what you are trying to make.
Please have a look at these articles so that you can know more about organisation and production:
Publishing your game is just the beginning
If you survive the creation part and you think you’re done, you will be making a big mistake. Now there is the nightmare of all indie game developers, the distribution, the marketing, the SEO and the strategy to let people discover your game.
In most of cases an indie game developer will reach the end of development leaving the distribution part as the last thing to do, but then, they will really be too tired after all the work they have done.
If an indie game developer doesn’t make the effort to study hard and understand the world, after the distribution of his game only his friends (hoping there are some left somewhere) will play the game.
Well, I think you were born with a big bag of luck, you see having many of these problems, we tried to simplify our life first and then we decided to share with other brave developers the definitive cheat sheet for marketing.
A long list of failures
I will tell you a sad premonition, your first game will be a failure, unless you are an exception like the creator of Flappy Bird, and it won’t be the only one.
I put the failures as a negative reason because the failures will discourage you to continue with this life. You have to acquire experience before conquering the world keeping in mind that at each failure there are some experience points earned. It’s like an RPG game, the more you increase your experience, the more you fail, the more you will next time have the chance to succeed.
But keep in mind it’s hard and frustrating, you have to put up with the failures, bad reviews and bad choices.
You can imagine this is one of the most important reasons to not become an indie game developer.
Everyone needs money to live and a job, unfortunately, the life of an indie game developer often starts with no money and sometimes ends in the same way.
What a miserable life right? On the other hand, you are starting something from scratch, you need to be known, you need to create a high-quality product, you need luck, it’s like a company.
So basically the first period that could be 1 year or 5 years you won’t see much money, or you would need to invest in your game to improve its visibility in the market.
You need a plan, a goal with a deadline and be ready to change your work if things are not as expected. But in this way you can understand if you will be ready or not to become an indie game developer or you need more experience.
What a punch in the stomach! Don’t take this in a bad way, now you know what the dark side of the game development world is, use it to recognise if you run into some of these reasons and don’t give up, it’s normal, rather it’s better than normal, it means you are on the right path and you are gaining experience.
Remember with a dark side comes a light side. A light side full of dreams and big life changes to reach happiness. Take a look if you haven’t already at 5 reasons to become an indie game developer to see what I’m talking about. I think you will really enjoy it.
Keep these reasons in mind when facing your next challenges and I’m pretty sure this new knowledge will help you win.