Are you working on your own game? Beware these solo development mistakes!

Launching your own game is the dream of countless aspiring indie developers – and doing it independent of others is the ultimate achievement. This monumental task has been achieved by many talented devs, but we should note that for every successful solo development cycle, there have been countless others that have crashed and burned.

In this video, we will review the main errors that solo devs make.

We are Ask Gamedev and these are the 8 biggest solo developer mistakes.

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50 thoughts on “8 Solo Game Developer Mistakes to Avoid! [2019]

  1. Thanks for watching! For more Ask Gamedev, check out this video on 7 common game design mistakes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5x4Q_SOLN28

  2. Not an artist??? Consider making disability accessible games focusing more on text content. Plenty of people still prefer content to flashy art, not just the blind.

  3. I totally agree with these. My strength is on the art side, not code, and FYI I agree that programmer art can kill the ability to promote a game, a game needs to look good if it's going to sell well. That's tough but true. Lack of Feedback, and testing is obviously true. A few other things to note: Excessive scope can make an indie game impossible to finish. Feature creep is a real problem and you need to know what to make and what to cut. That's been tricky for me personally. Also, make sure you are using an engine that has a high likelihood of still being around and supported by the time you are finishing the project. In other words, an established and popular engine with frequent updates. Like Unity, Unreal, etc. Making your own engine is a mistake, but so is choosing an engine with no support. Backing up your entire project periodically is also a must, the worst you can do is lose weeks of work for no good reason. Finally, make an effort to promote your work on release, don't assume people will find it all on their own. I am promoting my game now: http://www.miniaturemultiverse.com. Pretty shameless but after I've put over $1k of hard-earned funds and a ridiculous number of unpaid hours into it, I'd like it to find an audience. IT's a first-person adventure/puzzle game set inside a range of realistic-looking miniature-art worlds, it's a little like a Myst game but if the worlds were all made with explorable O-scale models and the puzzles were a bit simpler. Finally, know when to find help from others to fill in your gaps in skill. I am collaborating with a music composer, and I'm not ashamed to admit I'm using visual-scripting addons for most interactions, as well as a lot of other assets, mainly shaders and the like. I have also made a ton of my own assets for game devs, on https://matthornb.itch.io if anyone's interested. 1500+ seamless texture maps, 150+ video elements, 100+ 3d assets. All bundled right now with other extras for 89 cents. (93% bundle discount!)

  4. I have seen this in many kickstarter/indiegogo projects. Lack of project management/Time management. Understanding feature creep and understanding ones own limitations. As an example, Mighty No 9 networking feature worked horribly bad it should just have been scrapped.

  5. i already finish 2 game this week. of course it's not that good. but i'm happy and proud i can make my own game. you're right. i will do better. i will not give up

  6. I think sfml is best for newbie coders for learn code and game dev but for making good games it can be pain. But you will learn very good skills.

  7. I would love to get more feedback on my game, and I've been looking for feedback since my earliest versions. But the REAL problem is: where? Where and how does one get feedback, and especially MEANINGFUL feedback? When I try to show what I've made to family or friends, they adore the project too much because it was something a friend/family-member did, which leads to an unintentionally filtered response. And its even worse if it isn't even the kind of game that friend likes to play.
    The biggest reason most people are solo developers is because they lack the connections to form a team. That lack of connections also translates into not having good resources for feedback and testing.
    I'd love to get some feedback for my game. But where can I get feedback? And where can I get enough feedback to be able to determine what responses are typical and what are outliers?

  8. Scope drift: I including so many other tried to make a game way too big first time out. If you're starting out focus on getting tiny games FINISHED. Getting those tiny casual little games is a great confidence builder and gives you a little sample platter of every aspect of the dev process.

  9. When I was trying to create my thesis project at USC I didn't have a good test plan and that was a big mistake! Fortunately I had time and created one! Thanks for the video!

  10. Can Anyone Try And Tell Me how us my Game?

  11. What about this fundamental one I think you have missed: there was no market research, so the game idea is basically nothing new, actually it makes no sense to develop it at the first place as it does not have its place on the market.

  12. Channels like this suck the life out of game development to make some sort of empty, corporate, sterile, safe and consumer friendly package.

  13. 9. Not taking opportunities to promote your game(s).

    Well, I'll not make that mistake. Here you go:


  14. 0:57 I don't know the quote. (I think it was someone at Ubisoft).
    But the idea was. If you're looking for ideas, don't look at successful games, look at B-games.
    Games that could be good but aren't.
    For example, Trouble in Terrorist Town. It does not suck, but it's not really good either.
    It has lot of flaws, that could be fixed, by polishing flaws. (For example, how to handle spawning, in a way that does not benefit Innocent Players.)
    Or Sexy Hiking, which turned into Getting Over It. Good games don't inspire you to do something better, bad games do.

  15. I think having source control is a no brainer. Git and GitHub are free. It takes a couple hours to learn and saves you so much time.

  16. Can you look my mobile game "Block Puzzle Colorful", it is a relaxing game (Android/iOs)

    Give it a try, i just published the game, it is free.

    i have a youtube channel also

  17. Hmm, I wonder how many of these mistakes I'm currently making, let's see..

    1. Feedback – I found a few people on UpWork, set up a test server, and a couple of them have been testing it and giving me at least some feedback.

    2. Demo build – I don't publish to the test site until everything that has been implemented so far is working as far as I know.

    3. Source control – Originally it was, then SourceTree broke for me; since then I've just been copying the test builds to a cloud backup area. I plan to fix that soon.

    4. Coding standards – It's object oriented, there is separation of concerns, there are d.r.y. trees, there are a lot of design and code documentation and comments. It's pretty easy to find the code responsible for something, and pretty easy to add something new. I wouldn't say it's perfect, but it's pretty good.

    5. Custom engine – I did roll my own engine, but it's 2D html5, so it's not that complicated or extensive. I just have a Game with a list of Scenes each with a list of Layers each with a list of GameObjects which may have a Transform and/or a Rigidbody and/or a Collider and/or a Renderer and a list of Behaviors.. it's loosely modeled after Unity that way. There's a CollisionManager with QuadTrees and stuff. I do bounding box proximity checking, and then point, line and/or polygon collision testing. All that stuff is working. It's been quite a while since I've had to add much to the engine or change it very much.

    6. Bad art – I pulled most of the art from artists around the web who put their work up for grabs (royalty free). I like it, it looks pretty good, the testers think so to, but.. I worry that other games will use the same stuff. I edit it a bit so it's questionable how much of it would be immediately recognizable, but. I am a little bit worried about that.

    7. No test plan – I test it, the testors test it.. I'm thinking of posting to some forums and asking for beta testors before I pull the trigger and open it up and advertise it.

    8. Not finishing – I think I'm past worrying too much about that at this point. The vast majority of the hard work is done and most of the content is in. I just need to set up a production web site for it. That will definitely involve some rather arduous work that I'm not looking forward to, but I basically do web dev for a living, so. I think it'll go live here in a bit. I don't think it's going to break the Internet or anything, but. Hopefully there will be a substantial contingent of folks who like it.

  18. What you give here are tips to make a "good selling game" not necessarily a "game which you are proud of". If someone makes a game that only he (an maybe some other guys) wants to play, who am I to say it is a bad game? Games are an ART. The beauty of art is in the eye of the beholder.

  19. I would add over confidence in a story or an idea. 90% of a game is about the execution of the idea, not the idea or story itself

  20. Ok yeah but look at a game called Sapiens that is currently in development. It looks great and basically breaks all the rules of being an indie developer. He is basically creating the history of the world as an entire game, on his own engine.

  21. I started making a game at global game jam 2020 with a friend. We are very excited about it and trying our best to make it as good as possible.
    Currently it’s in very early stage, we are using free assets from unity asset store, but we plan to improve it, so this is very far from the end result.

    If you’re interested take a look: https://globalgamejam.org/2020/games/fixing-tower-defense-3

    I made another game that runs on browser in another Hackathon in my city, check it out: spacegari.co

  22. The last mistake is basically me when I (supposedly to) develop a remake of one of my old games, which turn out being super hard due to the "challenge grid" feature I plan to add in.

  23. 1:33 I thought he was going to punch her then I was relieved when he pulled out a clipboard and pencil

  24. Remember kids if you think coding is an art then you will create a path for your bright future

  25. Feedback is difficult for me, I'm terrified of others and I'm overly sensitive with a self-destructive mentality, so the thought of receiving negative criticism to me is like the thought of pointing a loaded gun towards one's head.

    Plus the thought of eventually directing or developing alongside multiple people is horrific 😫

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