Where to Start As An Indie Game Developer


I love the question, “where do I start if I want to learn how to be an Indie Game Developer?”

If you are asking that question – good for you. Every journey no matter how big or how small has to start somewhere. Every successful game developer has at some point gone from not-starting to starting.

The temptation is to bite off something massive, for example, “I’m going to learn how to code using C++ then I’m going to teach myself 3D modelling then I’m going to read every game design book I can find then I’m going to make my dream game”.

Don’t do that approach.

Start small and build from there.

Check out my brief video on where to start.



Formula For Where To Start:

This is the formula I suggest you follow when you want to start being an Indie game developer and haven’t made a functioning game yet.

  1. Pick an engine (eg. Game Maker, Construct 2, Unity, Unreal).
  2. Watch tutorials for a few days so you have the basics of using the engine. For bonus points, go to Udemy.com and buy a good course.
  3. Find tutorial videos on how to make a specific genre of game (eg. top-down shooter).
  4. Make that game. Change 1 aspect of the game so that it is unique to you (eg. the speed, the difficulty, the number of enemies, etc).
  5. Show some friends your game and listen to their feedback.

You should be able to do this whole process in a couple of weeks. You will learn a huge amount… the most important being, “do I want to be doing this for months and years and maybe even as my full time job?”

Some Things To Avoid:

  1. Don’t wait until you’ve mastered a programming language before starting to make a game. Make a games first, learn the skills second. Yes, your games will be limited but you should be able to create some compelling gameplay with zero programming knowledge.
  2. Don’t overthink which engine to use. It doesn’t matter, your goal is to gain momentum, to practice, to start finding out all the things you don’t know yet. You learn by DOING not by PLANNING.
  3. Don’t quit your day job just yet. Until you’ve made at least 3 games, published them, received feedback and learned a ton from that feedback, don’t go and quit your day job (or leave school or whatever else you are working towards). Your first few games aren’t going to be commercial successes. Trust me. So start by making games that are just for you. Entertain yourself. Worry about making your million dollar idea later once you’ve got some skills. There’s plenty of time.
  4. Don’t take negative feedback to heart. Your first games will probably suck (they are supposed to) and some of your jerk friends will tell you they suck without understanding how tough it is to make games. Just listen to their points, understand them and thank them for their input. And then tell them they are a jerk if you need to.  :-)

Bottom Line:

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t overthink it, just start today and stop putting it off.

About The Author

Rick Davidson

Career Coach, Life Coach and Game Development Expert.