I did a lil interview with a new indie startup website called "the indie bay" the other night.
One of the most common questions i get in these interviews is the "do you have any advice for indie devs who are new to the scene, or tips for developers". Well i actually answered it this time... i came up with this list of indie do's and Dont's.
1. Be honest.
honesty is extremely important when making art.
2. Realize your making art.
Game designers are artist and have huge advantages over the mainstream, think about what they are and exploit them.
3.Take big risks.
try to innovate the hell out of anything you make. from gameplay to the way it looks, be unique and you will stand out.
4. Design from the heart.
Write/design around things you feel passionately about. Put yourself into your work and show the world what you personally have to offer.
5. Be ok with being poor.
Indie game design is the new starving artist, be frugal and humble.
6. Don't bite off more then you can chew.
if your just starting out.. think small, then think even smaller. If you start out on something big you wont finish it and if you do you will be burnt out on games.
7. Rapid prototyping.
Make lots of small ideas quickly, then expand on the ones that work.
8. Think critically.
99% of game design is critical thinking, try to find holes in your designs, and if you cant fill them move on to something else.
9. Stand out.
Don't make something that looks or feels exactly like something else. when people see something new they will be more forgiving of its design and when something doesn't look like everything else it will get more attention.
10. Grow up.
Chances are your not a fucking kid anymore, so if you feel like making a more adult themed game feel free to do so.. you're indie you don't have to answer to anyone.
11. Stay Grounded.
No matter how good you are there will always be someone better. stay humble and accept you're not perfect. a designers ego can easily put up walls that will stunt his growth for years just because he doesn't want to admit he might be wrong.
12. Go outside.
the outside world is important, it can also be very inspiring. Go take an adventure outside then come back home and write a game about it.. that's what miyamoto did.
13. Work with people.
People are nice, and some are quite talented in things you ain't. Game design tends to use both sides of your brain.. and chances are you're lacking in one area. find someone to fill that hole (insert sex joke here).
talk to other designers/fans/media about what your doing. you just might gain some perspective on how others view your work and maybe even make a few friends.
15. Stay balanced.
Most designers tend to become depressed or have a varying array of mental disorders. take care of your brain, and most importantly yourself.
16. Learn a little about business.
It sucks ass, but its important to know a little about it, so you know if your getting fucked over.
17. Be excited about your work.
If you cant get excited about something you've done.. then how can you expect others to be? talk about you're work to people sell yourself as well as your game.
18. Play video games.
You cant expect to learn anything if you aren't actively playing the games that are out.. even if they suck, games that sell well in the mainstream do it for a reason, pick it apart and find out why.
19. Dissect existing formulas.
All game genres are basic formulas. From level design, to mechanic introduction, to basic jumping patterns.. its all a formula that works for the game. Pick apart those formulas to see how they work.
20. Join communities.
Indie game communities are booming, join one. you don't have to post anything, but reading them will give you a good understanding of the dos and donts of early game development, as well as inside and opinions about game design in general.
21. Try to make money.
Selling your work, getting your games sponsored, using online ads and asking for donations are all means of making money from your work. You need some money to eat, so try to best to make some.
22. Be open to feedback.
if quite a few people say they don't get some aspect of your game that you think is perfect, chances are youre wrong. its hard to take critical feedback, especially when they are right. Loosen up, stay humble and remember your not as great as you think you are, if a majority says somethings wrong.. then it is.
23. Make the games YOU want to make.
Go with what moves you, if your no longer feeling something, put it down and work on what you're thinking about. Ive found that all of my best games were ones i did quickly and felt very passionately about.. the ones that sucked were ones i lost interest in but still finished up.
24. Have fun.
If your not having fun then quit. You only live once, there's no reason to keep doing something if its not making you happy.
25. Don't read dumb lists.
Most lists online are totally pointless and the guy writing them is usually talking out his ass anyway.
Hope thats helpful