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What you should know about Indie game

It’s hard to imagine the modern game industry without indie projects. It is not a genre or a direction, but everyone understands what an indie game is. However, the boundaries of this game development form are rapidly blurring. Today “indie” is not only “made for a penny by a team of enthusiasts” but also popular projects made by professional teams. So what makes indie games different? Let’s figure it out.

What Is Indie Game Development

The main characteristic of an indie game is independent development. That means that large studios like EA, Ubisoft, or Rockstar are not in charge of the process. You can create an indie game alone, but often it is done by small teams of 5-10 people.

So, “indie” means independent of major publishers. And from their financial support, of course, but difficulties make the process even more challenging. Despite the high competition and lack of support from big studios, indie games have their advantages.

  • You can embody any ideas: even the most non-standard and risky ones. Actually, in the absence of large budgets, this will be the main feature. Indie games catch on not with ultra-modern graphics and complex mechanics, but mainly with stories.
  • You don’t need to look at the market standards and trends and organize audience research. Indie developers can do what they like.
  • There are no studio bosses, no deadlines. So you can work at your tempo, especially if you are working alone. You don’t need to rush or sacrifice cool ideas to get to the next checkpoint.

It’s getting easier and easier to develop your own game. While you are reading this text, probably a dozen more indie horrors or shooters have appeared. So, if you want to create your own indie game, the idea must be at least original.

How to make a successful indie game

The main thing in an indie project is not to stop halfway. There is no one-size-fits-all recipe for a successful indie game, but these tips will help you bring your idea to reality.

Choose quality, not quantity. Studios with large teams can easily manage several projects at once. But indie developers should focus all resources on one thing.

All you need is a great idea. Yes, we already talked about this in the last paragraph. But, believe us, this is very important! When there are no cool technical capabilities, you need to rely on creativity. A strong script and original approach to gameplay are the keys.

Don’t forget about promotion. Release trailers, make press releases, post information about your game wherever possible, and remember that there are never too many ads.

Think about how to keep people interested in the game. You can use new endings, bonus materials, and additional information about the game world. All these features will help maintain interest in the game and increase the percent of replaying.

Monetize your game. In-app purchases, ads, and cross-promotion are ways to monetize almost any game. However, you need to do it carefully. Otherwise, there is a risk of a low score on Metacritic, failed sales, and oblivion.

The game is like a child. It is necessary to maintain it (patch), listen to feedback (communicate with the players), and remind everyone how good it is. And do not be confused that you are selling your child because, after all, this is just a game. Create a thematic community on Reddit or a group on Facebook, where you can collect feedback and tell about updates.

By the way, outsourcing is a great idea! If you feel that your skills in, for example, drawing, are only enough for the image of a Christmas tree (and you drew a star cruiser), then feel free to seek help from professional artists. Or look for good composers. Or find those who will write you the code. Or connect with the Stepico team because we can help you at any stage! If you want to learn more about our services, check this page.

How to form an Indie game development team

We have already mentioned outsourcing, so now is the time to talk about those without whom you can’t create the game. The minimal crew should include:

  • game designer
  • artist
  • programmer
  • sound engineer
  • tester

Good news: you can do all these roles alone. And by the way, in 99.9% of cases, you will have to be the project manager. You will explain tasks to the team, set deadlines, and control everything that can be controlled.

Indie game development costs

The budget for an indie game can be microscopic, or you can expand it to enormous proportions. In the first case, the authors usually do everything alone or with a team of friends. You can use free engines, write music in Garage Band and do all stages on your own. The results are always different. You can make an indie masterpiece: like To the Moon, Minecraft, or Five Nights at Freddy’s. Or you can make another clone of games that are gathering dust on the virtual shelves.

In the second case, you can invest your funds and finance in a full-cycle development. If you don’t have enough money, you can find people interested in your game on crowdfunding sites: Patreon, Indiegogo, and CrowdFunder.

The most important thing is to be clear about your vision and follow it.

Let’s create!

Indie game development is an incredible adventure in which you can bring your brightest, wildest, and craziest ideas to life. There can be a lot of obstacles, but this is not a reason to stop! Go ahead, and Stepico will be your reliable partner when you need resources at any stage of creating your unique indie game.

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Choose Stepico and step into the future!
Andrii Titov
Technical lead and video game enthusiast. CTO at Stepico
December 2, 2021
Choose Stepico and step into the future!
Andrii Titov
Technical lead and video game enthusiast. CTO at Stepico

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