Keeping Motivated as an Indie

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Firstly, some background. I’m Paul Baker, programmer/project manager at Three Phase Interactive.

I’ve been an indie for almost two years, transitioning from a lead programmer at a 100+ person studio, to a three man team. It has been fun, but one of the biggest challenges when working on long projects is motivation. Here’s some tips that have helped me:

Use great tools/technology

This will allow you to focus on the game and not get bogged down. After doing a bit of research, we chose to use Unity on our first game. That turned out to be a very good decision, as I’m sure almost everyone reading this will know that Unity is well loved by the people who use it.

Work on a game you want to make and that should be a commercial success

Outside interests help here. Chris and I love cars and motorcycles, so it made sense that our first game Stunt Star reflected that. We also did some research and thought there was a big market for stunt based games. We couldn’t find any other game using one of our main gameplay mechanics either (creating ramps by dragging your finger).

Have clear goals (ie milestones) and make sure the game is playable and fun ASAP

This will keep the entire team motivated to get things done. If you don’t have external milestones enforced by a publisher, find out what events are coming up where you can show your game and create milestones around them.

Show the game to everyone to get feedback

Hopefully the game is fun, so seeing people enjoy it and give feedback is a great motivator. Try to go to as many local conferences, meetups, expos etc as possible. Being a mobile dev helps, as you can hand your phone over to anyone you meet. If anyone asks you what you do, simply boot up the game and hand them your phone!

Work with great content creators

They will produce great art/sound etc that you will be motivated to get into the game and working.

If you have any of your own tips, feel free to add them in the comment section.

Next time I’ll write about keeping motivated when working from home.

 - Paul (@pbaker05)