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10 Tips To Help Supercharge Your Game Development Career
Ten actionable game development tips to help out aspiring game developers get more out of a career in the competitive game development industry.
August 22, 2016
6 Min Read
We will receive an email from time to time that asks for some tips on game development. I’ve responded to so many of these emails. I decided to make the information available to everyone. We love having others reach out to us and ask for our expertise. We have compiled the best of our tips so that you can make awesome games of your own!
1. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH OTHER GAME DEVELOPERS
Surround yourself with the type of people you want to become. If your friends are the type of people who are not motivated to be successful, then they will bring you down. It’s like how the saying goes. You show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future. When you are around people who are successful and are consistently pushing themselves, you will begin to embody those same traits that will make you successful. You need to shape your environment so that you aren’t fight people who don’t want to change and grow. Surround yourself with others that will make growing the natural thing to do.
2. SAVE MONEY AND SPEND WISELY
You can make a ton of money off of your first venture. The accomplishment of being success is a great feeling. You will want to reward yourself with a lavish vacation. You will bring some friends, and proceeded to blow most of the money. Less than a year later you are two steps back from where you started. You are now broke and moving back in with your parents. Don’t do that! Keep on working so that you are continually growing. Invest in yourself and your business.
3. YOUR GAME IDEA DOESN’T MATTER
Henry Ford didn’t invent the car! He was just the best at manufacturing them for the everyday person. For every great game idea you have, you should assume that 100 other people have had the same idea. You should assume they are already working on it too. Ideas don’t matter. What matters is execution.
A lot of people are proud of themselves for coming up with a novel idea. But the most successful games in history were rarely new ideas. Angry Birdswasn’t a new idea, Flappy Bird wasn’t a new idea, Diablo wasn’t a new idea. These games simply executed far better than anyone else.
4. ONLY HIT THE BOOKS IF ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY
This one’s a bit controversial, but it must be said. Only read when you need a specific solution to a problem. Spending days, weeks, or even months just reading about game development will not get your game from concept to completion. Read about game development when you are stuck. That reading becomes a lot more interesting when you have a specific problem to solve. Many people use reading as a procrastination tool; instead of doing, they are always reading. Instead, focus on reading with purpose, and don’t forget to apply what you’ve learned more often than mere theorycrafting.
5. IT WILL TAKE MANY MANY SACRIFICES
There is no such thing as overnight success. Sacrifices must be made to get your game off the ground. You will need to work on it every day. We respect practicality. You have to pay your bills. You have obligations to your family. Instead of binge watching a season of House of Cards, why don’t you put in the work? That’s hours of watching a season you will never get back. Why not work on something that you can look back on with pride?
6. IT’S NOT ABOUT THE PROFIT
It’s about value and values. Make what you personally value. You’ll never tire of game development. In fact, you’ll look forward to it! If you optimize the value your games projects. The money will happen as a side-effect. Sometimes you must eat a chunk of money to create greater long-term value. If you’re just in it for the bottom line, you’ll never be willing to do this.
All of the money making shortcuts will either destroy your long-term brand or will put you back in a position of being chained to something you don’t care about. If you love what you do, and you’re investing countless hours into your game development venture, then having a bunch of money sitting around to buy useless material goods won’t matter.
7. GET PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT YOUR CAUSE
Let’s get down to it. How much work does it take to really make it? Take a look at this. If you are able to get 100 people to give you $100 each year, you can make enough money to support the basic game development lifestyle of ramen and caffeine. With that being said getting those 100 true fans does take work. A lot of work, and a lot more dedication. You will need to continue to prove why you deserve their attention. Do you think you can get 100 true fans? We think so. The odds are ever in your favor in the internet age.
8. NETWORKING IS KING
Networking is the bread and butter of life. You have to network if you want to grow personally and professionally. Yes, it’s still a great way to get new clients and/or job offers. But in the game development world, it’s useful to see what’s working in other game development careers. It’s a good way to learn and then apply what works. If you don’t know where to start, reach out to people who you admire. It’s likely they will know of other game developers you can network with.
9. IF IT FEELS LIKE WORK, YOU’RE DOING IT COMPLETELY WRONG
There is this saying that everyone has heard at least once in their life. Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. There is also the way in which to live your life. You can choose to make money to do what you love. Or you can do what you love to make money. Which way do you want to live? We do what we love to make money. If you are doing what you hate, please stop. Take a good look at where you are heading. Before you know it you can be 10, 15, or 20 years into a career. Trust us you do not want to be that deep into a career and realize that you are not happy doing what you are doing.
10. TREAT YOUR CUSTOMERS EXTREMELY WELL
They’re the only reason you’re here in the first place. Treat them with the utmost respect. Reply to their emails promptly, and answer their questions earnestly. Don’t be afraid to give. You need to give value to your customers. Without them it will be hard to stay in business.
If you’ve found this article helpful, don’t forget to share it with your friends on social media!
Thank you so much for reading my article! I’m Daniel Doan, the Co-Founder of Black Shell Media. We're a publishing and marketing firm dedicated to helping indie developers succeed.
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