7 Of My Worst Game-Killing Assumptions, And What They Taught Me

7 Of My Worst Game-Killing Assumptions, And What They Taught Me

We’ve all heard the age old philosophy that if you learn from your mistake, it isn’t really a mistake. But what if you don’t learn from it? What if you continue on doing it because you thought it was the right thing to do, and no one told you otherwise? If everyone else is doing it, can it still be a major mistake?

Nobody likes making mistakes. And worse, most people are very resistant to changing their ways when they find out they’ve made one. But hopefully, if you’re reading this, you’re not one of those people. My goal with this article is that you can read some of the things listed here, and reflect on your development. Hopefully, you can learn from your mistakes and change your behavior to become the ultimate developer that I know is inside of you.

So here are 7 of my worst game-killing assumptions, and what they taught me.

Focus on Zero to One – A Game Dev Business-Building Philosophy

Focus on Zero to One – A Game Dev Business-Building Philosophy

I used to dream of making millions from a video game I created. I would wonder what it would be like for people to love and play my creations but pay for them. When I got into game development, I wanted to make the next Halo…I wanted to *BE* the next Bungie. And not just for the money, more for the impact.

But as I began what would later become my life-long obsession of making video games, and after losing all motivation to touch them anymore, I realized something. By aiming my rocket for the moon, I didn’t land among the stars. I simply quit before I ever launched, because the scope of what I wanted to achieve was too high.

If that sounds like you, consider what I have to say in this article.

I call that process of completing your goal (launching the rocket) “Zero to one.” And I call the process of scaling that goal (hitting the stars) “One to one hundred.”

Marketing is a Feature (And Why You Might Be Doing It Wrong!)

Marketing is a Feature (And Why You Might Be Doing It Wrong!)

Over the past few months, I’ve been on a content frenzy. Some of the recruits that read this have been with the underground since 2013 when it started (and they’ve seen more content in the last 3 months than the YEARS before hand.) Others are just visiting and finding us for the first time through the lens of that content. I expected a lot of questions on marketing and similar subjects when I began delivering information on it, but something strange happened that I had not anticipated. People asked me questions on YouTube or Twitter, sometimes even  Facebook, but the questions they asked indicated that most of the time, they and I had very different definitions of what the word ‘marketing’ even meant. This made answering those questions very difficult.

Now I’m no expert. I’m just a dude who likes making games, and happened to run a marketing company for a few years until I was lucky enough to sell it in 2015. Doesn’t mean I know everything, but it is clear to me now that I know quite enough to be helpful in the indie game community, so that is what I’m trying to do. But I feel that no matter what tactical and practical advice I share, what methods I give out, what platforms I recommend…if developers trying to market their game don’t quite get this one single concept, all of their efforts might be in vain.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Developers

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Developers

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with some amazing developers over the past couple of years. I got to watch in the shadows when I consulted with game companies, I got to work side by side with them when I developed web platforms, and I got to observe them when they worked for me. Being a developer myself, I’m always looking for the opportunity to learn something from someone, so I’ve paid keen attention to the things the guys I admired said and did.

Being a developer is one of those things you can never really be perfect at. There’s always more to learn and there’s always a next step. So as I was looking through my notes recently to review them as I do often, I found a list of things I had written down during that period of my life that could help me improve. After reading through them, I realized this list of commonalities goes way beyond just me, and I decided to share them. Here are what I call the 7 habits of highly effective developers.

 

Game Development: What To Do When You Have No Idea What To Do

Game Development: What To Do When You Have No Idea What To Do

I was staring at my computer screen like a senile old man stares into space. I was clearly looking at something, yet my focus was not present. I was lost in my head, thoughts and ideas racing past me like a cat that just saw a cucumber.

I had no idea what to do.

I was in the middle of this massive project. So many pieces, so many things to do…yet I had no idea where to begin. It started out great. I just jumped in and worked on the fun parts. But all the fun parts were done, and now I was dealing with the aftermath of getting slapped in the face with the big fat fist of reality. My project was bigger than my head could handle at this point, and it was driving me psycho. My brain felt like it was ruining my life, like a deranged vault dweller with a Fatman.

This had to stop.

The Anatomy of an Indie Game Press Kit

The Anatomy of an Indie Game Press Kit

A press kit is one of those things that just sounds intimidating to the new developer. It sounds like something that big corporations do, or some big complex project that you hire a PR firm to work on for you. But despite that bias and general resistance to making one, building a press kit isn’t all that hard. In fact, it’s so simple that I made an infographic for you to wrap your head around.

This article is going to attempt to make what sounds like a complex topic, quite simple, by listing all of the things that you need in a press kit. There are some essentials that you cannot go without, and there are a few things that are nice to have, but by no means required. Here are a few things to hopefully help you out on building one yourself.

7 Signs You’re Stuck in the Dev Cycle of Doom

7 Signs You’re Stuck in the Dev Cycle of Doom

For a long time I woud tell people that I was a game developer. And then people would ask me what games I made. Shit!!! I realized that although I was developing, I wasn’t really developing to PUBLISH. And I got caught in what I call the Dev Cycle of Doom. To keep you from making some of the same mistakes I made, here are 7 signs that could mean you’re stuck there.

Finish a Damn Game!

It took me 10 years to finish my first game. I wish that was a joke. But life is full of surprises. You start a project, you work really hard on it, it loses its luster a bit…but then, maybe you play something that you LOVE, and BAM! The cycle can repeat itself. And before you know it, you have a folder full of unfinished projects.

The MASSIVE Indie Game Marketing Post (And How To Get Started!)

The MASSIVE Indie Game Marketing Post (And How To Get Started!)

Marketing is probably the biggest topic in the indie game universe right now. Even if you’ve never finished your first game, you’ve probably already given thought to the way you might get it out there and entice people to play. Because lets face it, one of the coolest parts about being a game developer is watching other people play your game, and it would suck if you released your game and there was no one.

So with that in mind, I wanted to compile my thoughts on first, what it means to “market” a game, but secondly how to do so. I thought Id write a post and compile a ton of marketing information all in one place, so that you can worry less about marketing, and worry more about making great games!

60 Tips to Stay Motivated and Finish Your Indie Game

60 Tips to Stay Motivated and Finish Your Indie Game

When I started programming WAYYYY back in 2005, making stuff was awesome. But more often than not, I found myself starting on projects and abandoning them when something else that was cooler popped into my head. When I eventually moved on to bigger more ambitious projects, I would find myself abandoning them deep into the build process, never wanting to look at them again. People would ask me what I did, and I would tell them I was a game developer. Then they would ask to see some of my games.

For a long time I felt like a failure, and it really bummed me out. I started to look around and ask for help on the internet, to see if any poor soul had the same issues I had. As it turns out, the vast majority of indie developers struggle with these very things. Finishing a game seems to be one of the single hardest things for an independent developer to do. The fact that such a deeply personal feeling was so common and universal blew me away. I know what that shit is like, it sucks. It made me feel horrible to work on all these things I was passionate about and never be able to complete them.

But one day not too long ago, I broke through and actually finished my first game. It took me 10 years, but I did it. Here are some things I’ve learned on that long, hard journey to stay motivated and finish my game.