Indie Game Development is short for “independent game development” and is the process of creating games by an individual or a small development team without financial support from a large publisher.
The individual or small development team are often referred to as an Indie Game Developer who program games for a variety of video game platforms.
They often combine the experience of several experts; programmers, artists, designers, etc. with the desire to constantly grow and expand their qualifications in all directions to the creation of Indie games.
The Indie Game Developer is part of an incredible barrier-free world where any of the craziest and brightest ideas for Indie games can come true.
What is an Indie Game?
Indie game is short for “independent game” and range from simple puzzle-based games to superb games with expansive worlds.
The market for indie games has experienced expansive growth in the recent years, largely due to new platforms for selling and distributing smaller game titles. These platforms include Steam, Itch.io, Google Play, and Apple Store.
Indie games are created by a single or small group of individuals called Indie Game Developers.
Being an Indie Game Developer is being a manager of original interactive content, it’s about sharing your experiences and your own take on a theme. It is also a chance to channel your own experience you have with games and extract them into your own product.
Being an Indie Game Developer feeds a deep desire to create games and give developers a platform to tell their story.
How to become an Indie Game Developer
- Learn computer programming: The interesting world-view in a game is all created using computer programming, therefore, you need to know programming if you want to enter this space!
The most popular programming language is C# (pronounced “c-sharp”) created by Microsoft that runs on the .NET Framework.
C# is easy to learn and simple to use, it has a huge community support, and is an object-oriented language which gives a clear structure to programs and allows code to be reused, lowering development costs.
C# is also the programming language for many game engines including Unity.
- Learn a known game engine: Game engines typically come with graphical interfaces and the most built-in functionality.
The most popular game engine is Unity, developed by Unity Technologies, and it is quite easy to learn, and has a personal edition which is free! Unity will allow you to create both 2D and 3D games and offers a wide range of tools and features.
It is not essential that you use a Game Engine. In fact, not using a Game Engine means you have to do most of the technical work yourself, which is hard but will provide you many learning opportunities as you create your game.
- Create a prototype: When starting out, game developers are often inspired by the games they like to play. But it is important to keep your idea small so you understand the basics of creating a game.
Making a simple game like Tic-Tac-Toe or Slider is the best way to start growing. And having a completed game, no matter how small, will help you stay motivated to keep learning.
- Game assets: You will need to add art and sound to your game. You can certainly try making your own if you’re interested. But for most people, it’s best to find free assets online. Sites like itch.io, opengameart.org, and devassets.com have a lot of great resources.
But if you want to become a top-notch Indie Game Developer, you should know computer graphics and the mathematics behind it.
- Turn your idea into a complete game: Now you have the tools to create a game with simple mechanics, graphics and sounds to bring it all together. This is the last step to complete your first game.
The most valuable thing you can do to become a better game developer is to finish your game. This means the full game is there — no matter how small.
Implement a full game loop including winning and losing, continue playing the game again if desired.
Include all the game mechanics for the specific game you create. For some people, this might require a main menu or a save and load system. Do what feels right for your game, you will be impressed by how much of a difference having a completed game can make.
Pushing yourself to complete the entire game loop is a huge step towards learning to make games and should be a normal part of your development routine.
There’s nothing more motivating than having a game you can share with others and get feedback from those who play it.
What does an Indie Game Developer do?
Indie Game Developers work alone or in teams to write and program games for a variety of video game platforms. Today, you can become a member of the “indie” movement and try your hand at game development and even sell your creation.
What Tools do I need?
C# and Unity are the best tools for beginners, enthusiasts, and novice game developers.
C# is easy to learn and simple to use, it has a huge community support.
Unity is a powerful, extremely easy to use tool, used by a large number of game developers to create and power their creations.
If you have the assets and programming skills in C# and Unity, you can create a game.