Game development is a business. To be successful in this industry you need to be multi-faceted. That means you have to know other industries that may not interest you as much as gaming. This includes art, business, marketing, accounting, etc. In this day and age, having good marketing know-how and good business chops may be more helpful than being a brilliant coder. If you would like to improve in these areas,watch what some other designers in your industry are doing in terms of marketing and business strategy, read any books or articles they may have written. While you cannot know everything, you should think of yourself as a lifelong learner.
Confer with your teammates. Unless you already have an established business, people will be wary of working with you. And even then, people still may feel uneasy, considering the stakes involved. That is why it would be a good idea for you to discuss the scope and expectations of each project. Your team members may have different goals and expectations; some may want to make a great deal of money, others might have an artistic vision. At the beginning of most projects most people are overly excited and just happy to be a part of something. However, this feeling of belonging quickly wanes. Your teammates should clearly know what they’re getting up front and a contingency plan if things go awry. Not communicating well with your team is the easiest way to damage relationships with other people.
The worst thing you can do with a team and even with yourself as a designer is be in denial. If something is going wrong, you have to cut your losses, even if you become very attached to a certain project. If you want to make a living developing games, your first priority as a designer should be centered on how your game will make money. If a project is financially unfeasible, then you will have to part with it. Know what your goals are ahead of time. Sometimes the best games don’t always make a lot of money and receive the best rating from general public. If you know you game is intended for a niche market, that’s fine, but this means that you will make less money. Know who you are as a designer before you enter this field.
Actionable Takeaways: To be a successful game developer, you must have a wide variety of skills, therefore you should be prepared to learn various helpful skills such as programming, marketing or business management. Make sure that you know what your goals and intentions are for your projects and make sure you understand the needs and wants of your team members as well. Lastly, it always helps to have a contingency plan, or multiple contingency plans in case things don’t go your way.
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Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below, tweet at me @doandaniel, or send me an email.
I’m Daniel, Co-Founder of Black Shell Media & Co-Author of The Definitive Guide To Game Development Success—a super actionable FREE eBook with the most self-explanatory title. Don’t forget to check it out if you haven’t already, it’s packed to the brim with my personal tips and tricks!