Guess which gaming company developed one of the most successful games, Minecraft? Well, it was not actually a gaming company, but an indie game developer, Markus Persson. Isn’t it an inspiring story for young indie game developers? His net worth after the success of Minecraft is USD 1.4 billion.

To be honest, Markus Persoon is not the only example out there how a small team or individuals ended up creating the best selling games. There are hundreds of more, and with the super fast expansion of mobile gaming platform, thousands of indie gaming developers from all over the world are still making a fortune.

In fact, the gaming industry in one of the very few industries out there where individuals have a fair chance to compete against all-equipped big companies. It is up to you how you make the best out of this unique opportunity as an indie developer.

However, in the increasingly competitive gaming industry, getting success is not that easy anymore. It needs commitment, passion, skill development, continuous learning, and most importantly, not committing mistakes that can cost you time, money, and efforts.

In one of our previous posts, we have already talked about why practice and learning are important for indie game developers, and the resources you can use. In this article, we will talk about the costly mistakes that some indie developers make.

The Rise and Fall of Indie Game Developers

As mentioned above, there are hundreds of stories out there how an indie game developer reached to the top of best selling games. In fact, the rise of indie game developers and dominance of the market in the presence of some big names is nothing short of an astonishing fact.

However, there are also thousands of stories of indie game developers who are struggling. In the end, you can find both groups in the industry – highly successful indie game developers as well as struggling game developers. It is your approach, the mistakes you commit, and what you learn from your mistakes that will define which group you can belong to.

Let’s learn about the mistakes all indie game developers must avoid.

  • Chasing Only the Successful

Yes, there are so many success stories out there that are both inspiring and motivating, but sometimes, they also become counter-productive. Some indie game developers chase these success stories and fail.

Some indie game developers try to follow the easy way, but easy way is not always a successful way. They just follow the top games, most downloaded games making huge money, and try to copy the idea for their own games. This is the reason why you can find dozens of variants of almost all successful games out there.

However, this is nothing but a mistake. Hundreds of indie game developers work on the same concept by copying successful games. As a result, dozens of versions of these games appear on the market, ruining their chances of even making a small sum of money.

If you are trying to do this, just keep one thing in mind, there are hundreds of more who are doing the same what you are doing. And by the time you come up with your version, there will be dozens of them already available in the market. Don’t do that!

Come up with your original idea. If you want to make quick money, put your efforts in the right place. To do things the right way, check out our latest ebook “Game Programming: Best Coding Practices“.

Indie Developer mistakes

  • Starting too Big

Again, the same problem, too many success stories lure people in committing mistakes that waste months of efforts. People see Minecraft, World of Warcraft, and similar bigger games and try to build something that big as well in the next few months.

Indie game development mistakes

Ambition is good, but getting overambitious is not. People start big, try to develop a big game right at the beginning, but as they start missing deadlines one after another, they get frustrated, demoralized, and ultimately drops the idea in the middle.

If you are just starting your indie game development career, start with smaller games and set realistic goals. You will get big in time, but for that, you need patience.

  • Starting without a Plan

There is no easy way to success. Indie game development is also a process that requires time, commitment, and effort. This is often a problem for indie game developers who are already a student or working another job.

If you want to achieve something in game development, you need to plan and commit to your project. Simply put, you need to make time, and for that, you need to plan for months in advance.

What do you want to achieve?

What are your short and long-term goals?

How will you arrange the time for your game development project?

How much time do you have?

What are the learning resources you are using?

What skill do you need to develop next in the learning process?

You need to find answers to all these questions and plan accordingly.

  • Trying to Do Everything on Your Own

Game development is not easy, and you certainly can’t do everything on your own. It is hard to find, in fact, impossible to find someone who codes, design, draws, rigs animations, do voice acts, develop 2D and 3D graphics, markets, composes, and edit videos on his/her own.

The key is to do the best what you can do, and outsource the rest to competent freelancers in the market. To learn what you can do on your own, and what you can outsource, you also need to learn in detail about the roles in a game development team. Here is an excellent resource, “What Makes a Development Team“.

Development team and mistakes

  • Giving Up

Last but not least, the worst of all, giving up. Yes, indie game development is a tiring process, especially for students or people already doing a full-time job, but believe us, it is also a rewarding one.

People try to achieve more in less time, get frustrated in the process, and give up in the middle. Don’t do this. Plan your journey, set realistic goals, learn about your strengths and limitations, don’t hesitate to seek help or outsource what you can’t do, be original, and we promise you, success is the ultimate end result.