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Recently I asked indies on Twitter for their sustainability tips and have collated the results in this post.

Jake Birkett

February 17, 2016

2 Min Read

Recently I asked indies on Twitter for their sustainability tips and got quite a lot of answers from a wide variety of devs. I thought they were worth summarising and sharing, which I have done in the image below.

Please note that I have paraphrased the tips based on my understanding of what I thought people were saying.

Who gave these tips?

Because the answers came from devs on Twitter, I cannot vouch their "credence". Some of the devs have been around for a long time, and others may be new indies just saying what they are planning to do. So naturally take everything with a big pinch of salt.

Having said that I do think there are some good tips in there, based on my experience of surving in this industry for over 10 years.


You may notice that the top tip seems to be don't spend money and live frugally but there are seemingly contradictory tips tips like: use contractors, spend on art/tech, and go big.

That's because different things have worked for different people, and also because people are at different stages of their indie adventure.  For example, I do believe that keeping overheads very low is wise at the start when you don't really know what you are doing. But after you've weathered a few flops and have got the hang of things, that is the time to start spending money in my opinion.  You can still be careful how you spend your money of course!

Also it's good to see that some devs are honest enough to admit that they shipped at the right time and were lucky. I still think that is a big factor even if you get everything else right.

My Top Tips

I would distill the list above to these points:

  • Make small games until you know the score, then ramp up size/budget/investment for the "right" games.

  • Think long term. Your game may not make much at launch but could do great over 5-10 years.

  • Have fun and look after yourself.

  • Don't give in!

GDC Talk About Indie Sustainability

I'm doing a talk at GDC (Indie Game Summit) about indie sustainability called "The No Hit Wonder - 11 Years and Still Going. How?".  So if you are interested in hearing how I've kept going for over a decade, please come to the talk!

What are your tips for indie sustainability? Which ones above do you think are bull and which ones are solid? Let me know in the comments.


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