How to keep your indie game development under control
A new week kicks off and this is the first post after our promise last Friday, which means no free copies of Gunnheim just yet!
Gunnheim was originally meant to be in development for no more than six months. For a while we were nearing that deadline with too many things being only work-in-progress, broken or poorly designed. In addition to the overpolishing and tweaking features that might not even be final we’ve burdened ourselves with growing the scope of the game too much.
In addition to what Klaus mentioned in the previous post, we have now made some changes to keep things under control and get to focus on making a great game. Here are a few main points that have helped us in keeping the development of Gunnheim more clear and focused.
LESS FEATURES, MORE FUN
After successfully going through Steam Greenlight we started planning lots of new features and content for the game. We tested some of those features and designed even more, but in the end we just ended up with an overwhelming amount of work. Simply put we came up with too much to do: Gunnheim was going to be “like Game X with a hint of Y and these features from Z. And then some.”
Some truly great indie games have been an inspiration for us when making the game. However, as we are not necessarily expecting such success stories, we are still trying to make a better game. With this ‘less is more’ it became clear that Gunnheim should actually be “like Game X without Y, and maybe this one thing from Z“ and could still be at least as good. In fact, when we are focusing on only a few aspects of gameplay, then those things should come out great. Everything else can be added later, if needed.
DON’T TRY TO PLEASE EVERYONE
One of the questions we’ve asked ourselves is “what are the things in Gunnheim that make some players love it and some others hate it?“
Accepting the fact that some players will ultimately be unmoved or perhaps even offended by the game helps us greatly. It becomes much easier to cut features that we have planned for the game, because it is clear they are there just to add some variety. Trying to offer something for everyone and please all kinds of gamers just doesn’t work. We respected that already in the beginning, but somehow also forgot it a while ago. Now it’s on top of our minds again.
You should find out as early as possible what is the main thing in your game that players most enjoy. We have had playtesting sessions since the first prototype and the previous version is still free to download. With the feedback we’ve received we are able to focus on the right things. We also don’t want to hide the best moments of Gunnheim under countless features no one even wants.
MAKE SOMETHING YOU (AND YOUR TEAM) REALLY WANT TO CREATE
Whether you are a solo indie developer or a small team you should have a clear reason for making that particular game. Make sure that a game idea is something that at least the people who will take part in the whole development process are passionate about. An indie game can change drastically during its development, so it is best to frequently find out if the final game is still something that people want to see finished. If not, it can be really tough to get over any challenges that will appear during game development. So start (and finish!) a game that your team would not easily give up on.
Is there something you would like to know about Gunnheim or SIEIDI in general? Contact us and we will happily answer your question either via direct answer or in a blog post.