Instructables
Picture of Creating and managing a computer game project
I am a great supporter of Indie game development, and love to see what small games people make in their free time.
After creating a small game many people try to make a larger one, and then feel that they need a small team to help them along. This Ible covers trips and tricks that I've picked up from my own computer game, DEEP Space, that I've been working on for more than a year.
This does not only apply to computer games, but also to other web-based team projects.

Making a game is a big task, that takes a lot more time that you think. A professional, paid company takes over a year to produce a good game, so don't expect you to produce an amazing title in a month.

Also, people often drop out of un-paid projects, so be prepared to do everything yourself.
 
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Step 1: Make initial decisions

Before you start to think about getting other people involved there are several key choices to make:
  1. What game engine are you going to use, or will you code one from scratch?
  2. What will attract people to your game?
  3. Who is your target audience?
I try to keep things open source, so as a game engine I chose to use Blender's internal game engine. Other free options are Unity, Spring and many others. Have a look at the wikipedia page for game engines.
You choice of engine may be influenced by things like:
  • Programming languages you know
  • Licencing of published games
  • Game-play type. (ie Spring is for RTS only)

When you create a game you have to think about who will play it and how they will find out about it. As I found out, making a game is 10% developing and 90% promoting.
  • Most game projects have a website, for consumers and developers.
  • Publish WIP versions of your game on the web.
  • Make posters and distribute them on the web.
You also have to think about who will play it. What makes it stand out from other computer games? There are millions of FPS's and RTS's, yours must be slightly different to make an impact. But it can't be so radical so as to turn people away.
Make sure you have an audience.
FoolishSage2 years ago
Im hoping to make games in the near future (more as a hobby rather anything people would pay for) and have been reading up on game design and game development. I think you really did capture the essence of how to go about it well and I found it quite informative since you are talking from your own experience rather just a dry textbook.

You mention that 90% is promoting. Could you go into further detail about what the possibilities are or what you did for this?
sdfgeoff (author)  FoolishSage2 years ago
By promoting I mean:
  • Getting team members. I did this by posting on blenderartists.org, as I was using blender. You might like to find a site with 3D artists, coders or the game engine you used.
  • Getting testers. This one is easy. Get other people to play it, and take note of their comments. (Family or friends are good for this...)
  • Informing the general public of releases. Creating a website (which takes ages. You may wish to find or pay a person for this) is how I did this, as well as posters on deviantart and a gamers website. Also, put the website link in as many places as possible, to increase it's placement on google.
  • Youtube videos both game-play and/or a cinematic trailer.
  • Consider placing your game on a site like indiegames
Most of these you can do throughout development, and you don't have to wait until the end, except perhaps the last one.

Also to consider for time management:
  • Documentation for users (manual)
  • Documentation for add-ons (so people can add new levels)
  • Rendering for menu backgrounds, or if you are doing cutscenes,
  • Sounds (I haven't done these yet, and need to get onto it soon)
  • Music

In case you're wondering, I haven't put a link to my games website here, as I haven't made a new site since the games name change.
Thanks for the info!
mikeasaurus2 years ago
Fun reading about your experience. You'll update us with a version of your game when you're ready to release, won't you?
sdfgeoff (author)  mikeasaurus2 years ago
Oh yes....