I believe that making a game nowadays needs a little courage. Damir and I are going to launch our game during December this year. With digital marketplaces becoming increasingly crowded, there are a lot of critic questions asked when I tell people we’re working on an indie mobile game.
It’s hard to get noticed when you’re just another fish in the sea. And when you look it up on Google, the amount of negative headlines is depressing. A year ago Gamasutra stated: “Mobile is as tough as ever..” and this didn’t change. So why keep on going?
I’ll tell you from my point of view:
1. Where’s a will there’s a way
If you have a cool idea or non-stoppable game making urges, it’s hard to get your (first) game produced at a big successful game studio. Therefore, we are doing it by ourselves, as a small team. (read more about this at point 6)
2. Learning a lot
As a designer I’m new to the gaming world. And if my first game will turn out into a failure (worst case scenario: no one is interested in playing it) at least I can say that I learned a lot. I’m learning right now, creating it and I will be learning some more in the end from mistakes I’ve made and from responses on the finished result. I believe in my ability to learn and conquer by doing things in practice.
3. It’s an experience upgrade
The knowledge and information I get from the learning process of my first game will upgrade my experience level. Because I’m interested in designing for games and apps this will be very useful and it will take me further in future projects. Also, having the ability to show off with the game in my portfolio will increase the chance of getting future projects in the first place. With this project on my CV, the amount of people from this industry that would like to work with me will rise.
4. Ja heb je nee kun je krijgen
This is a Dutch saying similar to: “nothing ventured nothing gained”. And very wise!
5. Doing more of what makes you happy, will make you happy
Very obvious, right? For normal people this would be something like drinking coffee with friends or taking long walks in nature. And yes, I totally agree on those points. But what I hardly ever do is something new that I’ve never done before. And this time, it’s designing a game. (And yes, it’s very exciting!)
6. Steering the bandwagon is more fun than jumping on it
If you want to be a part of a game-construction without the risk of failure, the best thing to do would be to find a place in a successful game studio. But, for a designer like me, such place is hard to find and conquer. I have a proper illustration degree, but not much experience and knowledge on “game” design. So my chance of experiencing a safe game making adventure is very little.
On the other side, if you do succeed to get in, the freedom to express your own creativity is very limited. Mostly, the major decisions are in the hands of creative directors.
So, when Damir asked me to join him, I decided to be brave and take this opportunity. Creating something in a small team is risky, but I looked on the bright side: I could start having fun, doing my own thing, right now. And this leads me to point 7.
7. Getting your message and creativity out there
The cool thing about working on an indie game is the freedom you have. You can put all your creativity in it and share it with the world. We decided to make a feel good game, encourage people to do good and feel good. Turning nothing into something big, a vague idea into a game is very empowering. It provides plenty of encouragement to keep on going.
8. It will get you famous
Just kidding, that’s a terrible reason.
There are not a lot of famous game makers, right?
To get recognition would be a very a cool side effect, but that’s all.
Let’s forget I even mentioned it and go on to the next one!
9. It’s good to think big – but stay realistic
“10X Your 10X” is a very clever podcast from designer Sean Wes. It’s a cheer to think differently and I really like it. Imagine a goal that sounds rough and 10x that. Have a desire to do what you think is impossible. You’ll work smarter, increase the value of your work and find people who will compensate you for that. I’d like to think this is true and that it’s going to help me finish our game.
But let me put one little footnote here: I don’t think you should put all your big ideas in your first game. You can’t do it all. In between my depressing google results I found some very good advice from Nick Pettit: “pick a few key creative constraints and stick to them. By cutting out large portions of the process that typically take a long time, you open yourself up to new creative opportunities that you might not have considered previously. It also makes your game more unique”.
I think the decision in creating a successful and unique game is thinking big – keeping your first game simple is staying realistic.
10. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I might be a dreamer, but I’m a part of a team with a very supportive and ambitious partner. Damir is not only the founder and programmer of the game, he’s also helping me to keep on going. We’re in this together and that really helps!