View Full Version : For Indie Developers Running a Project

01-07-2007, 11:12 PM
Hey guys!

After reading a few posts on PGD along with my recent situation, I decided to post up some of my own thoughts about running your own game projects as an Indie Developer.

Seeking/Advertising for Help

I think that the immediate issue surrounding some projects is that if you have a request for a helper people should be able to find it easily. Others have see a list of some sort with tasks or needs that the project has. It's a bit deal to be able to come right out and say "ok, this is a list of what the game/engine needs to be completed" and post it or send it over to them.

Active Audience

Another part of this is that your form of fun --creating and developing the games-- isn't a common source of fun for a lot of people. So you'll always get the 1,000,000:1 ratio of people poking at it and running off. Happens to me all the time. Those that do want to help or take an active interest get bored easily. This is a big thing because odds are they have their own projects too. So finding people is hard and keeping part timers interested takes a fair deal or work too. Unfortunately there is not much you can do about this part only perhaps play to the interests of the general gamers in whatever way that may be. Then again if you are doing a bit of pioneering then you really can't do too much if people just don't like your idea. In some cases it might be too niche.

Content aka The Indie Killer

Content will kill your game if you A) Cannot get enough of it to fill your story/plot or even just gameplay usage, and B) if you can't make it of the quality or specifications that the game or game engine needs to succeed. This includes everything from Graphics to Sound to Script and all sorts of stuff that you'd normally hire someone to do. A good indie developer doesn't make this requirement any bigger then he himself or his small team can manage themselves. 99.99% of the time to keep going, hope and wait will not work. You need to be able to plan out how you will make all this stuff or your project will flop. Believe me, I know. :) I've been there and it's not fun when you find out later.


Truth be told, as the project leader, the project lives and dies by you. So your own motivation becomes that of the entire project. Usually the one that has the most motivation for the project will be the leader. Everyone else take a portion of that and runs on it. Though you often get good people that really like the idea and can keep up with the work provided things do move along and the group's morale remains high. The onus is on your to push everyone else and encourage them to keep on the tasks and get them done. You can really only ease up once the work is done. The trick though is to make sure that you can do your tasks too. ;)

Well thats all I've got on this topic for now. I hope that this gives both you existing and budding Project Leaders some food for thought.

My new 'indie game-dev rule of thumb' is content-driven is a suckers game if you can't model or do art, so limit it to the ability of your motivated circle of friends or fellow teammates, if you are that fortunate.

02-07-2007, 06:34 PM
My new 'indie game-dev rule of thumb' is content-driven is a suckers game if you can't model or do art, so limit it to the ability of your motivated circle of friends or fellow teammates, if you are that fortunate.

Or design ALL your games around "Reiner's Tilesets"

02-07-2007, 09:04 PM
Yeah, it is possible to find tilesets or other free domain/royalty free stuff and work your game around those. But you don't always get a perfect match. And sometimes it may funnel your creativity.

Like everything, there are pros and cons to every approach. :)

A term used a lot these days is 'Procedural Generation'. Introversion talks about indies making use of this concept a lot in games. Anyone here gone about any of this in their own projects?

03-07-2007, 06:00 AM
Content is a real problem. The best solution is to hire artists/musicians. It isn't so expensive. Actually a good game with professional art will return the investments and more.

Another problem is self-motivation. Personally I'm full of enthusiasm at the start of a project and have to force myself to finish it because I want to start another. :)
Solution - good games in development. Really interesting and challenging (both in play and development) game can be a source of motivation.
Unfortunately, most of casual genres are too simple.:(

03-07-2007, 07:51 AM
I normally use ripped gfx and sfx for my games, there're a lot of sites
with ripped sprites ready to be used into games (2d in my case) so i make
large use of those. There is no limit to my creativity because i can find
almost everything i need. I don't care about legal issues because i don't
code games claiming original gfx or sound, also my games are and will
be forever free. The boring part is that most of the times i have
to modify the tiles myself, and it last long, too long...

In fact this reaches the motivation point, because if you cannot build up
the game as you have imagined it, the motivation starts to decrease
dramatically. This is why lately i'm coding only games that i can finish
in 1-2 weeks; I won't have a killer title but many small fun games. It's
enough for me as i code games in real life too :)

About hiring people well, i think most of us code games in their spare time
just as a tecnical challenge more than to earn money from, so even if an
artist or musician ask for 100/EUR/USD for a game it is much. I'm lucky
because i know some people doing gfx and sfx but most of times they lack
of time, and here we get back to point one, and so on ;)

06-08-2007, 07:52 PM
Nice points Will !

If you plan to sell your games, I would also add:

Making a game is fun, but ensure player will have also fun playing your game !
Study the market and what's selling well on the games portal, you might be surprised.

Don't focus on a complex technical engine, focus on game design & contents
Handling 150k polygon scenes in realtime is great, but it does not make a game sell. In case you don't know it, the 2006 top selling casual game was a pure 2D game, made using ... Director.

Converge to a playable game
The main issue in an Indie game project is time. Focus on the essential, the core mechanic of the game, to have a playable thing as soon as possible. Then add features as required. As Will said, don't be too ambitious, focus on the strict minimum.

06-08-2007, 10:33 PM
Im curious, what was the best seller in 2006 using director :?: