The task of becoming an indie game developer may seem daunting to some at first. However, thanks to a wide array of software available to use today, we’re in a time where it has almost never been easier to get started in this field. With so many options out there, knowing where to start can be a real challenge. Here are just a few of the basic tools most indie game developers should know about now.
A game’s engine is the powerhouse that drives how the product plays, how it looks, and what it can do. Although there are multiple engines out there from which you can choose, it is a good idea to go with one that works with as many asset creation software types as possible. Something like the Unity engine may give you a wide range of compatible software to try out. You can narrow your selection once you know what kind of aesthetic you want to have.
Marketing your games or attached services online is a great way to get started as an indie company. Your overhead will typically be lower than any physical store, and it is usually easy to reach a customer base from all over the world. When you are just beginning the development stage of your first game, you may use some of the best practices for crowdfunding in order to raise the capital you need to push the game further. Later, you can transition to a full online store that offers multi-region downloads and physical merchandise as well.
A program that helps you create the graphics will assist you with everything from the title screen, enemy attacks, and how the floors and walls of various rooms might look. It’s the small details that come together to make a great indie title, and graphics software helps developers nail down things like these. Photoshop is just one that you might try, but it is also an industry standard and includes many online tutorials to help you get started.
If you’re a small operation that is just getting off the ground, the chances are good that you’re designing and coding much of the game by yourself. You might have the support of one or two other people, but you’ll want to cover all your bases. Intermittent music and sound effects can play a huge role in the atmosphere of a game. Check out audio workstations that might be right for you. Sites like freesound.com and zapsplat.com offer free audio files for sound effects and music that are royalty-free and can be used by those who don’t have the money to invest in their own. You can also make your own soundboard using materials around the house if you want your sound to be more unique.
Making any kind of game is about more than just figuring out how to make a figure move through a story. There’s the graphics engine to consider, how to score the soundtrack, playable and non-playable character creation, and more. Understanding a bit about the popular basics out there can help you craft a solid foundation for the next big thing in gaming. Don’t forget that many tools in a game dev’s box come with thriving communities of people passionate about projects like yours and willing to offer support.