Words of Wisdom from Successful Indie Devs


Last modification: 18 Dec, 2017
4 mins

So this is the year. You’re finally going buckle down and start making that indie game. Many will tell you that you’re in for a crazy ride but, luckily, we have some words of wisdom for you to take on your journey.

1. Stop hesitating and just get started.

 Still from The Flame in the Flood, developed by The Molasses FloodThe Flame in the Flood © 2016. Image courtesy of The Molasses Flood

Lead Animator of The Molasses Flood, Gwen Frey has had an impressive career. Before starting The Molasses Flood with a few former colleagues, Gwen worked at Gazillion Entertainment and at Irrational Games where she had worked on the critically acclaimed, BioShock: Infinite. Her advice? Just get started.

“If you want to be in the games industry the first thing you do is to set about making a game, it’s never been easier. There is a ton of ways to go about making a game- just do it, start creating a game.”

Read about making the Flame in The Flood here or take the journey upriver on Steam or Xbox One.

2. Make the game YOU want to play.

Still from Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope, developed by Croteam VRSerious Sam VR: The Last Hope on Steam © 2016. Image Courtesy of Croteam 

The Serious Sam franchise is known for its endless amounts of fun, so, it shouldn’t be a surprise to any fans that these guys love the game they are making just as much as we love playing them. Damjan Mravunac (CMO, Audio designer, Music composer) tells us why he thinks the series has been a success for over 15 years:

“We always want to play the game that we are making. We all grew up with Doom, Quake and Unreal Tournament so we wanted to play that kind of game. We created our own baby which is now almost an adult at 15 years. We always say ‘we are going to make the best game ever’. That’s how it starts.”

Learn about Croteam’s 15 years of success in PART I of our Q&A. Start playing SSVR on Steam Early Access.

3. Keep it simple.

Still from Layers of Fear, developed by Bloober TeamLayers of Fear © 2016. Image courtesy of Bloober Team

Bloober Team worked on several work-for-hire projects before releasing their own successful IP. After causing huge waves with their hit horror game, Layers of Fear, they certainly know a thing or two about making a successful game. Their advice: don’t waste time on the bells and whistles.

“If it’s your first game, keep it simple. Don’t add too many elements like extra mechanics, online multiplayer and stuff like that. The more you add to your game, the more the development time grows and in the end, you probably won’t finish the game. The basic advice we can give is to keep your game simple and just polish it. If you finish your first game without flaws, it’s the best start you can get. Keeping things simple in the beginning is always the best way to go.”

Learn about Bloober Team and the development of Layers of Fear here. Don’t want to sleep? Play their masterpiece of fear on Steam, PS4 or Xbox One, if you dare…

4. Forget the filler.

Still from INSIDE, developed by PlaydeadINSIDE © 2016. Image Courtesy of Playdead 

Many would argue that the absence of ‘filler content’ is one of (the many!) reasons that Playdead’s INSIDE is so well-regarded in the community. With each puzzle comes a fresh new challenge, never leaving you bored! Andreas Normand Grøntved (Animator) tells us what he thinks made INSIDE stand out:

“Oftentimes, we cut away a lot of content to make the experience as varied and as incredible as we can. If we make five puzzles in the same puzzle genre, we wouldn’t use them all. Pushing a box is a very simple example. That’s something you would see again and again in a lot of games because ten of them were made and they want to use all of them because otherwise, they would have been wasting their time.”

Read 6 Secrets of INSIDE or listen to our interview with Andreas on the Gamedev Podcast. Get INSIDE on Steam, Xbox One or PS4.

Check out PART II to get more advice from successful indies!

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