As a big supporter of indie game developers and someone who is working with many within the game community (usually supporting them with their game music and/or marketing), I am frequently asked to share more marketing tips on my blog. So, here are 5 top tips that I hope will be useful to you, whether you are a solo indie developer, a small team of game developers or a larger indie game studio...
1. Know what you can & cannot do
If you’re a solo indie game developer or a small indie game studio, you will be relying on yourself (and your team) to do much of the game development work. However, it is unrealistic to expect yourself (or your team) to be brilliant at absolutely everything. Identify the areas that you feel confident in, and the areas where you may require some help. Don’t be afraid to ask friends for help and explore other creative ways to fill in the gaps and to get things done.
Also see: 6 Ways to Manage Burn Out as an Indie Game Developer (since burn out can be a real issue if you’re a one-man team or are a small team trying to do too much)
2. Think about who and what you need
Identify where your gaps are in your team or your own skill set and figure out what you need at the various different stages in your game development. Some areas to think about include:
· Graphic design & concept art – can you do this? Do you want to hire a pixel artist for example, or to buy some game assets?
· Game music – do you want to use royalty free music or work with a composer? (Listen to my game music tracks to get some ideas of what's possible or browse my royalty free music library to explore options there.)
· Sound effects – who can do this or where can you get them from?
· Marketing & PR – what kind of marketing approach do you want to take and who can help you with this? (Check out: 6 Must Do Marketing tips for Indie Developers for help on this)
· Funding – how do you plan to fund your game? Kickstarter / patreon / Indiegogo? (See 10 Crowdfunding Platforms to Consider for Indie Games)
Decide whether you want to use free resources, hire freelancers or bring on new members of your team to focus on these different elements.
Try and create a plan for the different stages in your game development. Work out what the different steps are and identify some key milestones and draw up a timeline. It can be hard to stick to this plan, since various challenges may crop up along the way – but if you and your team have a clear idea of where you’re going, it will help you get there. It’s also a good way to stay motivated since you will be able to see yourself progressing through the game development journey.
Also - have you read: 6 Pitfalls to Avoid as an Indie Game Developer?
4. Pace yourself
Creating a game is no easy endeavour. It takes hard work, great planning, talent and determination to see it through. Don’t overload yourself or take your team for granted. Try to be patient and to enjoy yourself as you discover new things, learn the craft and bring your game to life. If you feel yourself becoming less motivated or productive – take a break and breather. You will want to make sure that when you are ready to launch your game, that it is the very best that it can be!
Check out How to Stay Motivated to Complete Your Indie Project, for help in staying motivated throughout your indie game project.
5. Play other games
When you’re concentrating so hard on developing your own game, it can be easy to isolate yourself away from everything else and to stop playing games. The love of games and gaming is what may have brought you towards game development in the first place – so don’t lose this thread. Give yourself the time and space to enjoy other people’s games and by doing so – you will keep up to date with the major trends and will maintain the eye of the user. Note what makes the different games really enjoyable and what doesn’t quite work for you – and use this insight to shape your own game.
So there you have it! My 5 top tips for indie game developers! I really hope that you’ve found some of this useful and that you continue having fun with your game. If you need help with the music for it, don’t hesitate to drop me a line. Game music is my specialty! Otherwise feel free to browse around on my blog for more tips and tricks and resource lists created just for you!
About the author: Ninichi is an experienced game music composer. She has worked on various indie game, film and media projects and can help you to create a unique soundtrack for your game. Explore Ninichi's game music and contact her now: firstname.lastname@example.org, to discuss your game music needs.
Follow her @ninichimusic