A couple of random Game Development Tips

If you want to create a game, you'll probably figure this one out quickly: Game development is not easy.

You probably have read an article or two with tips about how to start game development, and I'd like to add a few things from my experience so far:


The "What if somebody else creates my game idea" syndrome

A lot people have this problem: Once you start working on your game which probably has a unique idea, you start worrying that someone else might be working on a very similar game like you. Maybe it even has the same title or similar graphics. What if he releases his game just before you?

I must confess, although I have single-handedly created 11 commercial games already (the latest few listed here), I still have this problem from time to time. I know some game devs accusing other of "stealing" their idea in public forums, although they haven't even published anything about their game publicly.

It's a strange, irrational fear. The best strategy to avoid this is either to ignore it, or better: Do the opposite: publicly talk about your game, show screenshots, write about your ideas. Let people know what you are working on. It's advertising and in the worst case, people will know you had the idea first.


The "Make a unique game" myth

When thinking about starting to create your game, you probably have read multiple times that if you create a unique game with a new and revolutional fun game mechanic, you will be successful. This is mentioned in a lot of communities, but according to my experience it isn't necessarily true.

Best allegory: Take a look at how many take-away pizza shops you can find in your city. Now think about what happens if you start a take-away shop for vegan grilled unicorn legs. It stands out and is probably something very interesting to eat, but how many people actually want to eat vegan grilled unicorn legs? Most people want pizza. Sure, there are dozens of pizza shops making better pizza than you can, but there are much more people ok with eating not-so-great pizza instead of vegan grilled unicorn legs.


Motivational Review based Blowbacks

You probably know that once you released your game, it's not over. People expect you to update the released, finished game frequently. It is sad, but common that people consider a game to be "dead" if you haven't published an update to your game within the last two months, even if it is years old. And even then, lets face it: The gaming community can be a great place, but it also includes dicks. No matter how good your game is, you will be getting bad reviews. Even if they are just few. But they can really hurt, and this can impact your motivation to continue working on the software greatly.

You need a really thick skin for creating a game. I have gotten used to it, but it still hurts if someone describes your game as ""piece of shit"", when you spent months or even years working on it.

It will happen, so get ready for this. It also happens during development, which is probably even worse.


You won't be successful

This last point isn't something people rarely speak about, but it is very important, and I usually mention this in blog posts like these: You won't be successful. About 9 of 10 games won't make it, financially wise. There are too many factors you cannot control, so don't put all your money into your game. Don't risk everything. Keep some money aside, or work on your game only as side project. Just because of this, I'm personally also not 100% invested into games, the other part is serious software.



Please take all the things I wrote above with a grain of salt. These are just the things I learned during the 22 years I've been developing games, and I might be wrong. But maybe some part of this article helped you a bit.

five comments, already:

I have taken all the things you wrote with a grain of salt. Good day sir!
Tim - 18 09 18 - 19:03

Sir, great tips. You have for sure more experience than me and your thoughts are of great inspiration
JaK (link) - 19 09 18 - 10:37

Wise words! One thing I remember: Don’t go overboard on scope. It leads only to disappointment when it turns out to be impossible (for whatever reason), and it is usually easier to extend a working basic game than to implement a behemoth of ideas all at once – and then figuring out some just don’t work. Happens even to professional developers and is a long and depressing road…
xaos - 20 09 18 - 11:50

Hi, Niko. Your blog is not yet using https. Maybe good stress relief to check out lets encrypt and do some sysad stuff
jonathan tan - 08 10 18 - 06:17

I know, should add this someday.
niko - 08 10 18 - 09:13


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