Tales of the Rampant Coyote

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How to Suck at Indie Game Development

Posted by Rampant Coyote on September 29, 2015

optimistic-indie-dev1Cliff Harris reiterates some basic principles for what doesn’t work in indie game development. IMO, this list should be committed to memory by any aspiring game developer:

How to be Really Bad at Game Development

Now, everyone can probably name a game that seemingly violated at least one of these principles and went on to see great success… he even cites Flappy Bird. Sure, outliers and exceptions exist. But following those examples are kind of like not wearing a seatbelt in your car because of the rare cases where someone was “thrown clear” of a wreck they probably wouldn’t have survived inside the car.

The thing is, the market changes.  The free market means things can be elastic and supply can grow to meet (or often, exceed) demand. In the early days of a platform, maybe simple, quick games – or generic ideas that can rapidly fill the need – may work out just fine. Games may succeed with minimal marketing because the pent-up demand seeks them out. But that won’t last forever, especially when supply is growing faster than demand.

This happens with every console, every console generation, every “hot” trend, and has clearly happened with mobile. There’s nothing new here. That’s why the AAA studios *LOVE* the launch of a new console. If the console is a hit, just being a launch title, when the platform is young and the competition is scarce, you can do a lot of these things less-than-excellently and still have a hit title. This is always temporary. It always gets harder from there. If you create a business plan around the assumption that this is the norm, then you are gonna be hosed.

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