Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

The Indie Roadmap

Posted by Rampant Coyote on November 25, 2013

What does it take to make an indie game? How do you begin? How do you know your idea holds water and is on schedule?

Here’s a suggestion from Cedric Guillemet:

The Indie Roadmap

Now, obviously, there is no “one, true way” to making a game. But this is a good “average” case and warns of most major, common pitfalls in development, and of what one can expect as an indie developer.

Even for the exceptions to the rule (I’d be one), their experiences are probably not extremely far off from this. Some folks have gotten the process down to the point that they can crank out a game in six months. Some milk clones. Some are working in complex genres (like RPGs or strategy games) where a good part of the fun comes from all the systems interacting together. But even so… this feels pretty familiar.

Filed Under: Production - Comments: 2 Comments to Read

  • ShadowTiger said,

    Thanks for this post! I am actually creating a roadmap right now so this is really interesting. Overall its good advice but perhaps a little too optimistic.

    I am planning on doing a few months of preproduction and pre-marketing, then ramping up to build a prototype and hopefully getting a community started. Depending on how that goes, I may speed up things or go slowly from that point.

  • Anon said,

    There are undoubtedly some good things in it (that we hear everywhere) but the rest sounds like the opinionated babble in a motivational training session.

    “Human nature makes us prefer our own ideas to others’:”
    -> I object. There are companies that downright clone successful concepts and even complete games.

    “Your ideas (at least 99%) have already been used somewhere else.”
    -> So you are a cloner yourself?
    We have to differentiate here: Game mechanics get cloned like crazy because it’s incredibly difficult to come up with new ones but content is an entirely different thing and lots of people have great ideas and they are careful not to show off lots of content before launch.

    “Most of your ideas have limited meaning outside of your game.”
    -> Of course not – but it’s about creating a game, right?

    “A good idea is one that makes money.”
    -> The reversal would be that everything that isn’t making money is a bad idea. Say hello to a world of Mario games, EA sports games, Assassin’s Creed and first person shooters!

    I also object to be either sorted in the hipster drawer, the unlucky indie drawer or the indie superstar drawer (which is of course much smaller). There are dedicated people who labor for years to put out a great product.
    Just take a look at “DataJack” that took 4-5 years to make, looks solid and is *free* to play.


    What do you mean with “pre-marketing”?
    Do you mean market research?

    Call me old fashioned but I think getting a community started when you only have a prototype is a bit early as it is incredibly risky for you as a developer and disappointing for your “followers” as they at least have to wait a long time for your game (worst case: You don’t finish your game and they are left in the dust. Yes, you will apologize but they will remember your name…).

    My advice would be to start the marketing when you have nearly finished the game mechanics and start putting high-quality content into it. Simply because you WILL BE SURE that your game will be launched at this point.

    Show off SOME characters/monsters/settings in their finished state and not colorful stand-in blobs you use for development.
    (Never make your stuff 100% pixel-perfect right at the beginning – code the game mechanics first, use stand-ins and then if everything works replace them with better UI/menu graphics, 3D-models, tilesets, animations, sounds, music etc.).

    If you want to actually make money with your game you should be very careful what to show at which point in time.