Six Steps to Getting Started in Indie Game Development
Games have always been a salient part of our culture. They entertain and inspire us, as well as reset our perspective on the real world. In recent years, indie game creation has taken off, giving creative and ambitious people the opportunity to make their own games and share them with the world. If you’re interested in becoming an indie game creator, there are a few things you need to consider first.
Who are indie game developers?
Indie game creators are people who work on video games outside the traditional publishing model. Typically, indie developers work on a game independently, then release it through an online store or directly to players. Indie gaming is popular because it allows for more creative freedom and risk-taking than traditional big-budget games. It also allows smaller studios and individual developers to get their games out to a wider audience.
What is the average indie game developer salary 2022?
Before taking up game development on your own, let’s flesh out the numbers you can expect to make. According to ZipRecruiter, the median indie game developer salary in the US stands at $79,943 per year. Budding indie programmers have to settle for $13K per year. For the record, the national average for an entry level game developer salary is $57,146 per year with a minimum of $20,000. Therefore, it’s up to you to decide whether the trade-off is worth it.
But mind that indie developers usually have a small team to help with the load. Hence, you will have much better chances of becoming famous if you join a game studio first.
How to become an indie game developer
While you can forge your path on your own, it is still more time-effective to get hired by a studio and work up some experience. After that, it will be easier and much faster to create your masterpiece and know that you still have a stable source of income.
To make yourself known as a game creator, you need to consider the following steps.
Pick a coding language
There are a variety of programming languages that can be used for game creation. The most popular languages are C++, C#, Java, and Python. All four of these languages have their own benefits and drawbacks. It ultimately depends on the coder’s preferences and what they want to get out of their game creation experience. C++, for example, is compatible with the leading game engines in the industry, while Python has a shallow learning curve.
Choose your game engine
There are a wide range of game engines available for game developers to choose from. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on the type of game being developed. Some of the more popular game platforms include Unreal Engine, Unity, Godot, and CryEngine. Game engines are particularly favored among game engineers thanks to rich built-in functionality, so you won’t have to build everything from the ground up.
Pick a small idea
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. In this case, as a freshly-baked game developer, you need to pick one small game idea and think about core functionality to make it playable. Complex and huge projects certainly look tempting, yet game creation is a skill that needs continuous enhancement.
2D vs 3D
As for the 2D vs 3D dilemma, it is up to you to decide where to go first. Working in 2D seems simpler for budding specialists, since finding or making game assets is much easier. However, 3D modeling shouldn’t be a far-fetched dream for you. Today, there are loads of free assets to support your game creation.
Create the prototype
In the video game industry, a prototype is an early sample or version of a video game. This term is most commonly used in the console and PC gaming industries, but can also be applied to other interactive forms of media. Prototyping is often done during the development stages as a way to test game mechanics, controls, and level design. It allows you to assess the core game mechanics before spending your time on a full-fledged project.
Build a full-scale product
Now that you have built a playable prototype, it’s time to turn it into a small, yet decent game experience. In practice, it means putting in place an overall flow of the game program with all three stages of winning, losing, and starting over.
The Bottom Line
Game creation is an exciting field full of untapped potential and lucrative prospects. As an indie game developer, you should first pick some hands-on experience at a game studio before launching your projects. This expertise will set up your great endeavors for success and will enrich your portfolio with new, large-scale projects as an inspiration for your own game.