GameDev Protips: How To Improve Your Indie Game The Right Way

How To Improve Your Indie Game The Right Way

If you are anything like most developers, your game will always be flawed in several critical areas. During development, it will be riddled with bugs and nuances that simply aren’t part of what you envisioned. For example, your game’s core mechanics may be too raw or unbalanced. In this case, outlining possible changes to make your game more playable and enjoyable is an essential measure that must be taken. You’ll need to identify the fixes that’ll present the most efficient return on your time investment. How well you’re able to do this depends on your time management, budget, and current status in the industry.

It’s necessary to check for common areas of improvement. Creating a checklist of the main metrics that frequently pose difficulties is extremely helpful. This will give you a great place to focus without swarming you with minor details that can be solved later down the line. Common development issues can include weak and desolate player environments, excessive randomization, imbalanced difficulty, and a poor reward system. Frequent errors similar to these give you a few areas to start evaluating. Going back and checking the code, making sure each formula is inserted properly, and eliminating any game-breaking errors are just a few ideas for routine maintenance. Playtesting should also be mandatory releasing any game. Hearing the same flawed concepts coming from playtesters again and again will help greatly.

Once the basic problems are identified, they need to be solved. The best way to tackle a specific problem is to use a cause-and-effect strategy. For example, if you wanted to change a game’s setting in order to create the idea that the world is full of adventure, having the user start out in a damp, dark cave wouldn’t be the best idea. It would also be in your best interest to figure out how your game will translate into numbers. That’s right, return on investment should always be the name of the game. Ask yourself, are there any forums or sites where people can give comments on your game? As a designer, leverage this data by implementing user feedback to better engage with your audience.

Keeping your customer in mind will ultimately allow you to win hearts and loyalty. I can’t account for how much feedback tends to present the exact same few topics — annoying bugs, over-monetization, and instability. Ultimately, you will have to play with these metrics, but acknowledging and fixing the inherent flaws in the game will grow long-term support from your target audience.

Actionable Takeaways: Game development can be rough at first, and identifying possible flaws in your work and actively thinking of solutions is vital. Most projects contain common errors that can be spotted on a regular basis across the board. Keeping these in mind and being responsive will allow you to easily connect with your audience and foster essential support. Focus on the process of continually making your game better and iterate until you can’t take it anymore, then iterate some more.

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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.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter, or stalk me on Instagram for more game development and design tips!

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