Indie gamedev new illness

Okay, it seems that gamedev has got itself a new illness.

It’s not the first time I hear people say that if the project is stuck, you have to drop it without hesitation. Stop, think a bit more, estimate the resources and move to the next, more promising one. Surely, it’s great to see that the developers are becoming aware of dead ends and learn how to cut them. At the same time, I see different thing happen, and see it too often lately.

Developers who like being called “indie” already start their projects with the idea “we always can drop it if […] ” in mind. As a result, the whole team works on the project (even a very good one) not to complete it, but just to have everyone try their skills. The fun lasts only until the team gets bored, though.

I blame all these articles by gamedev veterans who went all the way from ideas to release. They have all this experience, and that’s exactly the reason they understand the problem. That project A should have been dropped. That project B should have been released. They only tell their fail and success stories, but these stories are seen as useful recommendations for the beginners (except that they are not that useful).

The truth is, in your first (second, third) independent/own game it’s essential to go through this complete process of development. Even if you are not skilled enough, even if the project is continuously delayed, and even if the number of iterations exceeds standards set by yourself (how many times we have to remake this UI, you say?! three? noooo waaaaay). Starting from the idea, through struggle and uncertainty, errors, bad marketing and lack of care, micro- and nano-management, chaos development and failed releases. Catch every disease and become immune to each one.

Instead, there are a bunch of half-baked projects, just like in the picture above. Foundation is good, but no one knows how to build the roof. And I do not like this “plan to build only half on a house” trend.

This might be for the best, though. Fewer released projects – fewer experienced developers. Fewer experienced developers – more space for others. Right?

Be wise, guys, learn from your mistakes. Your path will always be different from others. Otherwise, you never intended to become a game developer from the start.


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