Scaling. When creating a game, you’ll need to know how to scale your efforts. This could be your time, your money, your resources, anything. A lot of game-making is the exact opposite of fun and you do not want to burn out too much. Itemize a list of things that will make your game complete (menus, tutorials, transitions, etc) in an excel document. Then, map out the detailed steps that you’ll need to complete each one. Try to cross off at least one step a day. The key is being as proactive and organized as possible.
Deadlines. Center and structure your deadlines around actual events. There is nothing better than creating a real incentive to keep you motivated and engaged. If there are game development conventions in your city, use them to your advantage. Perhaps you want to release a teaser the same day as a big convention? Great, this means you will work even harder to get this teaser polished by the big day. Why? Because the day is not an arbitrary day. It’s a real event that will allow you to impress and network with a bunch of other individuals like yourself. Push yourself by shooting for tangible deadlines.
Move forward. As a designer, we oftentimes get stuck on things that we cannot figure out. The trick is not getting stuck on something for too long. If this happens to you, start working on the other parts of the game that you know need some work. Do you have a great super villain that needs fleshing out more? Are all your intended game elements functioning properly? Don’t get stuck if one thing doesn’t go your way. Always find a way to move forward.
Actionable Takeaways: Remember to get organized, and stay organized. It’s easy to fall off the wagon, so check yourself often. Use excel, Trello, or even a physical notebook — but use SOMETHING and create a system for organization. Set deadlines for yourself and base them on real-world events. Keep yourself motivated. Always find a way to move forward. If a week goes by and you haven’t made any progress at all on your indie game, you’ll probably repeat the habit. Don’t let that happen to you.
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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.