How to Become an Indie Game Developer

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Today’s post is going to be completely different than the past blog posts that I have written. I’m going to talk about what to expect and how to become an indie game developer. For some of you who are just barely starting, you’ll know that you need to learn a programming language and have some skills in graphic design, but what some of you don’t know is that there’s a whole lot more to it than just making a game. I’ll tell you what you need to know, and what skills you need to become an indie developer. Let’s begin.

 

 

Skills You Need:

 

This is a list of some of the skills you will need to become an indie developer.

 

 

Computer Programming

This is a first; a game developer needs to know at least one programming language to program a game engine. Hopefully, some of you readers have started on this. If you haven’t, please check out this post that I’ve rewritten a few months ago where I talk about choosing your first programming language. This post will help you get an idea of which programming language is best for the platform you wish to release your game on.

 

If you’re interested, or if C++ is the language of your choice, I also have C++ tutorials on this website. Feel free to look around if you’d like. In my opinion, C++ is the best language to learn computer programming.

 



 

Or Not?

I recommend everyone to learn programming, but what if I told you that you don’t necessarily have to learn computer programming to make a game? Now there’s software that people can use to make their own games. Only for 2D games, however, there isn’t any software available to make 3D games yet. To make 3D games, programming is required.

 

There is a downside to using the software; it may cost more because you have to purchase the software. Some software is a monthly or yearly subscription, while others is a one-time payment, but you’re not finished after paying for the subscription. Some of these programs require you to pay another fee to get the export module you need for the type of platform you wish to release your game on. If money isn’t a problem, you can take a look at these posts:

 

 

Graphic Design

This one is another obvious one; If you want your game to look good, you need good graphics. You can either learn it yourself or hire someone on your team that can draw. You will need a graphics editor, and/or a 3D modelling application if you want to make 3D Games. If you like pixel art, I have several tutorials on my site as well. Feel free to look around if you want to, after all, it is free! If you’re looking for graphics editors or 3D modelling programs. I have a list of some on this link. Look around and see which one is best.

 

 

Music Composition

This one is totally optional, but great music makes great games. If you want to, you can learn music theory and use music writing software; if you know how to play a musical instrument, you can record yourself; or hire someone on your team that can do either of these skills. If you’re looking for software, you can also look at the same link I shared: Additional Software You Will Need For Game Design

 

These three things I have listed are pretty obvious if you want to be a game designer, but what I’m going to talk about next is really important. There’s more than just creating a game that you’ll have to know. Let’s talk about what you’ll have to do after your game is complete, but I think it’s best to start working on this before your game is complete, that way you have fans waiting.

 

 

Setup a Website

It’s important that you have a website for your game. That way, you can show off your game with screenshots, and a video trailer. It’s also important so fans can find you, and so they can find the correct links to purchase your game. To setup a website, you need a web host. There are tons of web hosts that you can use, but if you want to look professional, don’t use the free ones; you want to get a good web host. Purchasing website hosting does not cost much at all, depending on the web host, the fees are only a few dollars a month or a yearly fee. You’re going to want to do some browsing to see which web host and which plan is best for you. The web host I use for this website is called one.com web hosting; I really love it! It’s really easy to pay, the price is really low, and it is very easy to setup WordPress on this site. When you try this link, you’ll get 2 dollars in bonus when you create a site using this web host.

 



 

Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents

Nothing is worse than somebody stealing your ideas, and possibly your WHOLE GAME. To prevent that, it’s best to get your game trademarked, copyright protected, and patented. Let me talk about all three of these protections. Don’t take any of this as legal advice. This information is to give you an idea of where to be looking to get your game copy protected. I may talk more about this topic in another post.

Trademark

What is a trademark? A trademark is a protection for names, symbols, designs, or other elements that are used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to differentiate them from goods of others. Trademarks may be used prevent others from using a similar/different mark, but it doesn’t prevent them from making and selling the same types of goods. To register a trademark, you will have to check in the area where you live. If you live in the United States, you can try the USPTO (United State Patent and Trademark Office) to register your trademark.

 

Copyright

What is a copyright? A copyright is a law that gives you ownership of the things you create; for example, a video game, book, novel, or painting. This protects people from copying original work and does not prevent them writing similar to your work. Here are some examples of works copyright protects:

  • literary works
  • game art
  • sound recordings
  • musical works/recordings
  • audiovisual works / videos

 

Patent

Unlike copyrights that protect your original work, patents are a little bit confusing; they protect ideas. In order to patent something, your idea has to be an original creation. It has to be unique enough to differentiate it with other inventions. This protection only lasts for 20 years, after that, it’s public property.

 

 

Marketing

When you finish your game, don’t expect to hit publish and earn thousands of dollars. Nobody is going to see it! You have to market your game! To do this, you’ll want to direct traffic to your site.

 

Use Social Media

You can market your game for free on social media. Just set up a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media site and start building your fans there. Create a youtube account, upload your game trailer and gameplay videos for fans to watch. You can also try to connect with other YouTube Gamers, and see if they’re interested in making a video, playing your game. You can also connect with bloggers and see if they can write a review for your game. If I remember correctly, there’s a blogger at kauergames.com that writes indie game reviews for people. If you want him to give your game a review, check out his website here, or you can go directly to his contact page and ask him.

 

Use Pay Per Click Advertising Services

Another way you can market your game is by purchasing Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising services. These are the types of advertising you see on search engines, they target people who are searching keywords relative to your game. Then by clicking on the ad, they are directed to your website. Make sure you have lots of really cool screenshots of your game, and videos. You want to convince the audience that your game is fun and worth buying.

 

Host a Contest or Giveaway

Everybody likes free stuff! Host a giveaway, use social media and share it with other people, especially with those who have websites that share giveaways. Hosting giveaways directs a lot of traffic to your site, and if the contest gives people more entries by sharing, it directs more traffic. Plus email list integration you get everyone’s email in exchange for the possible chance of one person winning the giveaway. This gives you extra chances to reach out to more customers by email. To host a giveaway costs money for the item and the service, but you get a huge list of emails in return.

 

Here’s a list of some services you can try:

 

 

Conclusion

Thank you for reading! Hopefully, this gives a lot of you viewers an idea of how to become an indie developer and what to expect when your project is complete. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Don’t forget to like, comment, share, and subscribe to my newsletter.

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About Justin

Computer programmer and owner of kauergames.com.
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3 Comments

  1. There’s a typo here.

    In the music composition section you wrote “…great music makes greet games,” and I assume you meant ‘great’ games.

    Anyway, good article. I specifically like that you dived into copyright and things like that, because that’s not often touched upon in articles like these.

  2. I havent read it whole, but i like it!

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