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Recipe: How to Make a Game and Become an Indie Developer


We have recently compiled for you a selection of ten people who have created the masterpieces of the indie industry alone, relying only on themselves.

Based on their experience, and the experiences of other developers, as promised, we will tell you what rules to focus on in order to become a video game creator. By the way, if you haven't read our articles on the best indie games, then we advise you to read the first and second part of our reviews.

1. Skills


It is worth starting with a simple realization that in addition to a dream and an idea, you must be able to make games, or at least have basic knowledge in programming or game design. This implies that you need to learn how to work in C ++, Objective-C, or C #. Ability to "play around" with such well-known engines as Unity, Unreal Engine or Source. This is the package of knowledge that will help you not easily write your game, but go to work in any studio. You can also practice writing scripts, creating levels in the same RPG Maker, Unity, or trying to make mods, for example, for Skyrim.

Fortunately, you can find many courses on learning a programming language - so it all depends on your desire. If you already find it difficult to accept this fact, then remember Dean Dodrill, the creator of Dust. He was so eager to make a game that he began to study programming on his own, completely not knowing mathematics, but attending courses.

2. Story and Gameplay


With skills, you should concentrate on the idea. It should be fresh, which the world has not seen before. However, looking for sources of inspiration is not always possible only in the head. Looking around at your life, you may come up with an idea that you will translate into your game. Think of Lucas Pope and Papers, Please - the creator took as a basis his boring experience of passing document checks at the checkpoint, flying from country to country, and based on it a tense story.

However, whatever the idea, at the beginning of the creation you need to work out the gameplay.

3. Borrow, inherit, but don't be afraid to root everything


Do not forget that many mechanics, gameplay features, most likely, came up long ago before you, and do not be afraid to use them. A striking example of Daisuke Amaei, who created his Cave Story, inheriting the principles of Castalvania and Metroid, diluting it with an interesting setting and written characters. He just wanted to create a good game in his own way, based on the ones he liked.

Eric Baron did the same, taking the casual genre of the farm and turning it into a new interesting project, changing the mechanics, and giving the world Stardew Valley.

Or go ahead - change the genre. When Toby Fox was creating Undertale, he basically changed the concept of fighting in RPGs and made it possible, instead of fighting, to talk to enemies, to look for ways not to kill the enemy. He took the mechanics of combat from Pokemon and early RPGs with an emphasis on something else.

4. Focus not on graphics, but on atmosphere


Yes, today some may say that anyone who imagines himself as an indie developer makes a retro-like mainstream game that gets lost against the background of the same. However, if you do not have the ability to draw, this is not scary. This did not stop Markus Person from creating Minecraft. The main thing is your idea, its depth and message.

And do not forget that without focusing on graphics, you must implement high-quality soundtrack. Yes, it will be a bit of a scam, but if you are not a composer you can always find someone to write you an atmospheric soundtrack.

5. Tell that you are a developer - share it

So you can find those who will support you, your like-minded people. Here are a couple of examples.

80s. Young programmer Sid Meier. Engaged in programming cash registers. One day he meets a former US Air Force pilot who played an arcade machine in Red Baron pilot simulator Bill Steele. They got to talking, and that evening, Sid beat him more than once in this game. Beal was amazed how it was possible that he, a former pilot, was losing to him. To which Sid replied that as a programmer he understood the weaknesses of the game and, in general, could make the game a hundred times better. As it turned out, Bill was a businessman, and this is how their collaboration began: Sid - studio Bill - publisher. Today, this collaboration has led to the fact that all of you know who Sid Meier is.


Edmund McMillen has always loved drawing. In the 2000s, he was engaged in making original animations and flash games, one of which was Meat Boy. At one of the exhibitions, he met with the same kind of loner developer Tommy Refenes. They became friends, formed the Team Meat duo, and combined their skills to roll out the iconic Super Meat Boy.

6. Production, PR, finance and production again

Having an idea, skills, visual and audio design, maybe even a partner - push the game to be noticed. Today it is not enough to just make a project and wait until it gets noticed. More specifically:

  • Submit your game on Kickstarter, Green Light Steam
  • Do beta tests
  • Put the demo versions for free
  • Attend gaming exhibitions with the project

Do everything to get noticed by both gamers and potential publisher.

And remember the main thing: Do not quit the game, but do it to the very end, not paying attention to empty criticism.

The Topic of Article: Recipe: How to Make a Game and Become an Indie Developer.
Author: Jake Pinkman