Start an Indie Game Studio in 12 Months (Seriously!)

I hate video as a format. I like text because I can read much faster than people can talk (and even speeding up a video, as I often do, I read much faster than I can listen). I like text because I can skip forward and back with ease. And so on and so forth.

Here’s a video I find inspiring and useful.

And now I’m going to textify it for my convenience, then follow it up with some thoughts.

Notes:

  • Plug for Skillshare.
  • Exhortation to work your butt off and make no excuses for yourself.

Months:

  1. Brainstorm and pitch a small, sticky idea. Sticky means its very vivid and stands out, e.g. “throw your hat to possess enemies”. Make sure the people you pitch it to love games and want to see you succeed, so they will be sure to tell you it sucks if it sucks and it’s good if it’s good.
  2. Learn the basics of Unity and some art tool.
  3. Learn C#
  4. Go back over Unity, art tool of choice, and C#
  5. Build an ugly prototype. Just one level. If it looks good, you wasted your time.
  6. Rest. Relax. Reboot. Send your game around to people who like games and want you to succeed. Watch them play it whilst enjoying a brew, and take notes about what they talk about, do, and what frustrates them. But mostly rest.
  7. Kick it into overdrive. Fine-tune your prototype based on the feedback.
  8. Polish the heck out of the prototype. Polish the visuals and feel. Make it look amazing.
  9. Buy a piece of original music. Make sure it’s perfect.
  10. Buy a piece of 4K cover/logo art.
  11. (and 12) Pitch your game to publishers or Kickstarter.

Three of the concepts I discussed yesterday for my next projects attempt to follow this model. Here is kind of where I stand with regard to the process in those concepts, and what I’m thinking of them:

  1. Done. I already have the idea.
  2. Done. I already know Unity and several art programs.
  3. Done. I already know C#.
  4. Done. I already know Unity AND art programs AND C# and I’ve had practice using them in conjunction.
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  5. ←← You Are Here. This is the step I’d be spending November on (although, more likely I’ll be doing NanoKidmo in November and doing this in December).
  6. This would be a good place to come out with another kids’ book, keep the momentum on that venture going. John Michael Jones or Hat Trick 2 are the strong horses here.
  7. So let’s assume I’m doing NanoKidmo in November and call this February.
  8. Because I don’t like doing the same thing two months in a row, let’s do a redux of 6 here. Send out the revised prototype for feedback in March, while producing another kids’ book.
  9. Here’s where I do 8, in April.
  10. Here’s where I do 9, in May. And while I’m looking for a musician, produce another kids’ book. This is the point where, if I went with the Indie Author RPG concept, I’d start pitching to my circles.
  11. I can produce my own cover art. June.
  12. July: Kickstarter for the game. Produce another kids’ book while it’s running.

If, then, the Kickstarter succeeds, I could go to game development full time. Since I’m doing kids’ books in my spare time and working a day job full time, that means I could put out a kids’ book each month while working 6-8 hours a day on the game itself.

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