A Solo Game Dev’s Guide: How to Successfully Finish Your Indie Game Project
It’s difficult when you’re in a team of one, but by following a few simple rules, you can do the impossible!
Being a solo developer comes with its own set of pits and pearls. On the “pits” side of things, it’s definitely a daunting process. No one will hold you accountable for completing your dream game, and without a core team, you may lose track of the hundreds of tasks that need doing. On the “pearls” side of things, you get complete creative freedom! And overcoming this true test of perseverance and will is an incredibly fulfilling feeling.
The experience of being a solo developer is incredibly valuable, even if you are not a team-of-one. In this article, we will provide some straightforward and practical rules and tips that can help you succeed as a solo indie and finish your game projects.
Step one: become a planning savant. Plan, schedule, organize, assess, and act — in that order! Don’t just jump into your project without a clear plan of attack.
Define your game’s core concepts, ideally in a Game Design Document or similar format. As a solo developer, it is easy to take on more than you can handle. Set realistic goals from the outset. This does not mean you can’t swing for the fences in terms of reach, impact, and release! Just avoid feature creep and scope expansion the best you can.
Focus on the essential aspects of your game and develop a detailed project plan outlining all the tasks and milestones required to complete the game. You don’t need to know every single detail, like UI Hex Colors, or whether the Pause Menu should fade in or not. Just the high level features!
From there, break down your tasks into small manageable pieces. Nothing is more daunting than tackling all the gameplay mechanics in one sitting. Don’t do that! Start with something straightforward, like input handling. Then see if you can get your character moving. There’s no rushing success!