You might know it: I’m a solo game developer. As everything in life making games solo has many great benefits, you’ll get, but these will come together with some difficulties as well.
In this post, I will present you those benefits and difficulties and show you what you have to do to start developing games on your own. Everything in this post is based on my own experiences.
Your journey might be a different one, but I think it’s always valuable to see how others start getting into gamedev.
Top 5 Benefits You’ll get by Developing Games on your own
Now I will show you the Top 5 benefits game development will give you!
- Creational Freedom – If you liked playing with lego as a child game development is a thing for you! You will get perfect creational freedom, and you can create the game of your dreams!
- Be your own Boss – Nobody tells you what to do! You are responsible for every decision while making games. The success is in your own hands.
- Connecting with Amazing People – On your journey of developing games on your own, you won’t be alone. There are many other game developers which you will meet either online or in real life and you will form amazing connections with them. But there will also be players who will love your work, give you feedback and follow you on your journey as a solo game developer.
- Fun – Games are fun to play and fun to make. I promise!
- Personal Growth – You will learn a lot by making games solo. You will improve many skills, and your personality will also grow. There will be difficulties which you have to face and deal with. This will make you grow as a person.
Top 5 Difficulties You face as Solo Game Developer
After I’ve shown you the Top 5 benefits, you get as a solo game developer. Now It’s time to show you the dark side of it. Here are my Top 5 difficulties I had to deal with while making games on my own.
- Motivation – Working for months or even years on the same thing can burn you out. So you will struggle with motivation at sometimes. It is vital to find ways of keeping this motivation up until the end. My way of doing so is finding activities which have nothing to do with computers or games like sports, reading or even meditating.
- Fierce Competition – The games market is crowded with many awesome games. Even the indie market is filled with many great titles by really skilled developers. So can be hard to get a good market position. One thing which can give you an advantage over the competition is innovative game ideas.
- Friends & Family – Sometimes the most important people of your life don’t get the attention they deserve because game development is very time-consuming. You need to find a balance between your day job, gamedev, and personal life. You probably will need your day job because you can’t live from your games right from the start. Just like myself, you need to earn money and find enough time to develop your games to hopefully make a living from developing your games one day.
- Pressure – If you have made a timeline for the game. It can be a lot of pressure you are exposed to because sometimes you struggle to get certain things done.
- Finding the Missing Part – If you are good at programming but bad at creating art assets or vice versa. You must acquire the missing part from other people by paying them. For example, I needed to find skilled artists to buy art from because I’m better at programming. So it is easier for me to earn money as a programmer and invest this in game art.
How You Start Making Games Today!
Set a goal and start working on it. That’s how you accomplish anything in life. But becoming a successful game developer (I’m still waiting for the success to come), it takes tremendous efforts and a well-marked capability for suffering.
But if you are ready and you want to make the game of your dreams, do it. Now I will show you how to start creating your own games!
1. Analyze your Strengths
First, you must be aware of your Strengths: Are you good at creating art, programming or business? Well if one of those skills suits you there is already a strong basis for your game development endeavors.
2. Train Hard
To be a good game developer and that’s a must because you are solo. You must become exceptionally good in at least one of those areas (programming, art, business).
For example, My biggest strength is programming. The business side is my second strength. Making art is my weakness so I’m dependent to buy art from skilled artists for my games and earn money by offering my programming services to various clients.
3. Be Passionate about Video Games
You should be a passionate gamer to succeed as a solo game developer.
If you played a lot of games and your analytical thinking is well developed you already have a good understanding of good and bad game design. You know what features work and how different features influence each other. You know how other games design and balance the different features to create a truly amazing experience for their players.
4. Develop the Core Idea
Now it is time to develop your first game idea.
Pick something you are passionate about and would love to play by yourself.
This way you assure that you have enough motivation throughout the long process of development because you really want to see this idea become reality. The idea should only be roughly designed.
It is impossible to design everything correctly before the actual development started.
You probably don’t know which problems you will face during development. But the core Idea should always be in your mind. For example for Master Of Guns I wanted to create an action-rpg-shooter which could be played on the go on your smartphone.
5. Start Now
As soon as you are happy about the idea you developed start immediately to gain momentum.
I paused the development of Master Of Guns several times for weeks or even months. Later on when continued developing it was always hard to gain the motivation and the momentum back.
So always work on your game even if only for half an hour a day to keep the momentum up.
6. Marketing, Website & Social-Media
Once started you should create a website and social media accounts for your game.
I’d go for a wordpress website including a blog as your main site. Please don’t use a free service, buy the domain and a hosting service. This will give you more trust along your visitors and future players of your games.
Social-media wise I would use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
When the accounts and website are set up it is time to market your game.
Post regularly about your progress, your thoughts and problems you faced and solved. Be steady and promote your blog posts on social media. Make real connections with people, treat everyone well make honest conversations and just be social.
So tell me do you have the plan of making games on your own? Or do you even have experiences in game development? What game is your dream game? Looking forward to your comments! 🙂