I was perusing my Twitter feed the other day and happen upon a conversation that inspired me to write my thoughts about this idea: indie game developers should start small.
As a young lad, I dreamed of making grand, epic, open world, adventure games of mass proportion, and even got a good part of the way through making one. I look back now, a bit more educated, but still part of a rather rookie team of developers, our first game in its final stages of development, and think about where the perfect place to start would be.
Produce Wars was supposed to be simple. That was our goal; to maintain simplicity, and while to a great extent we did, we added a lot of extra stuff that gave it quality and sheen. We are perfectionists, which can be difficult to handle at times, especially when learning when and where to back off a bit or compromise on certain features. I can only imagine the pain we would still be in if we had tried something much larger right off the bat.
Our next few games are aiming to be even more simple than Produce Wars was supposed to be, and there are good reasons to do this. Success, even when small, serves as encouragement. Its a good motivator to have titles under your belt, but it also gives you multiple experiences making many different types of games and with each aspect of making the game, from the design and building itself, to marketing and networking. Each of these steps making you and your team that much better at what you do.
When you try to set about making your perfect vision of a game, right off the bat, you will be disappointed for many reasons. You will never finish, you will keep wanting to change or perfect things and deadlines will get pushed further and further back. Nobody cares, until you have a good portion of something done or have been around a long time, your opinion means very little, it takes time and work to build that reputation. The only way to prove yourself is to make something. It seems like just that one thing gives you the credibility to give input on things.
So, as a humble, first time indie developer, I can say this. Dream big, but practice big too. Your dream project will happen when you give it the Seven P’s. (Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance) It is important to start simple, build your skills, your portfolio, your network, and your reputation.
Please leave a comment, or let me know on Twitter what you think.