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367

These tips apply to any hobby software project, and not just games. Set tiny milestones. Having a goal like "item system works in my RPG game" is all well and good, but that implies a whole lot of under-specified functionality that you probably didn't even know you needed. What about "graphics environment set up"? Or, "A sprite is displayed on the screen." ...


114

I actually just wrote a blog about how I approached the design and development for my latest iPhone project. You might find value in reading it. A few thoughts to leave here are To-do Application I use Things for Mac and ToDoList (free) for Windows.. Alternatively, you can jump onto sourceforge.net or codeproject.com to grab a to-do application. I like ...


85

My #1 biggest tip: Disconnect your network cable! I have a ritual of disconnecting my network cable before I go to bed. The next morning - I'm not online, so I have no sites to visit, no emails to read, no people to chat to, etc. So I naturally get straight to work on my game. I don't connect again until I absolutely have to. If there's something I need ...


37

This happens in almost every game -- as the artists become comfortable working with the tools, and as improved tools become available during production, the later levels to be constructed are almost always built to a higher level of quality in a shorter amount of time. To cope, you want to do all of the following three things: Assume that you'll have to ...


35

You need training. Consider entering a Game Jam. It's a friendly competition where you have to create a game in a very limited time frame, usually 48h. Quite often, a theme is given at the beginning of the jam. The prize is your own finished game. Such a tight deadline is an excellent exercise on "thinking small". You learn what are your strenghts and ...


35

The biggest problem with hobby projects is not having a well defined scope. Many people start by wanting to make the best game ever with hours of gameplay and all the cool ideas they have. Instead, you should try to scale down your idea to something manageable and then come up with a reasonable schedule. It's true that deadlines are at odds with the game ...


30

The creator of Grauioutous Space Battles game, a lone indie developer, summed up some handy tips about making your own game in a blog post. Some of them can be motivating even for hobby projects. Cliffski's Blog: How to stay motivated whilst programming a game Excerpt: Code something you like Surround yourself with inspiration Keep a log of what ...


25

I've recently noticed that whenever I read another indie game developer's blog post about his updates, I immediately open my IDE and start working. So, my advice for keeping you motivated is: read other (game dev) blogs ;) Here is a quick list: Jay Pavlina (Super Mario Crossover) Markus Persson (Minecraft) Petri Purho (Crayon Physics Deluxe) Jonathan Blow ...


23

Start by creating a game that is stupidly simple, and get it finished and published online somewhere. Remember that even something seemingly simple like pong could turn out to be quite complex if you're new game development, and starting with a simple game will show you whether you have the patience to take on a bigger project.


21

The less experience you have, the more time you waste with up-front design. Making good designs is something that you will learn by doing it and then seeing/evaluating how it turns out. Some decisions have far reaching but obscure implications. After some games you will probably be able to make the initial design pretty solid and it will pay off to invest ...


14

I've been doing a lot of reading and listening to pod casts recently, and a lot of successful developers stress making a bunch of games as one of the best paths towards success as a game developer/designer. I've repeatedly heard comments along the lines of "Don't try to make your dream game initially, just make ANYTHING." I had recently been having some of ...


11

Even the biggest games are made up of a series of smaller systems. If you are really excited about a big concept, split your big game idea up into all its different component system. If you can't finish a system in a week, split it further. Then make small prototype games of each one of these components. Don't worry about hooking them in together, just ...


11

People are terrible at predicting the future. This is especially true for games, where requirements can change on a daily basis. There's a principle called YAGNI, aka "You Aren't Gonna Need It", which basically says that you shouldn't implement something until you know you're going to need it. I've seen so many systems get bogged down with architectural ...


11

I worked on Snapshot (www.retroaffect.com) in addition to my full time job for almost 8 months before turning it into my full time job. I would work all day, then come home and work on Snapshot until I fell asleep. Sometimes it was a little too much, but other times (most of the time) it was awesome. I'd definitely suggest reading over this: ...


11

Based on my own experience it's easier to stay motivated if you've got others working with you. So: Get a few other developers who can share your excitement about the game. Excitement can be contagious! Set up a mailing list (Google groups are easy to set up), and post to it often to keep momentum going. Start by getting something simple that works. When I ...


9

I have been working on my hobby project now for around 2-3 months. That means evening or two every now and then plus weekends occasionally. The project is maybe 2/3 done for a proper first release. It is maybe too early to call it success but here are the things that have kept me going so far: I had a pretty clear idea what is the game going to be about. ...


8

It depends vastly on the kind of game and the tools you're working with. If you're making a first-person shooter in raw C++, you're going to spend a ton of time on programming. If you're making a 2d MMORPG in an existing game framework for 2d MMORPGs, it's going to be pretty much all asset creation of one kind or another. If you're making a puzzle game in an ...


8

This evaluates to true in my mindset today: Pragmatism over Ideology (1) Make it work (2) then make it right - game over if you forget step 2 Release it! Too much up-front design will be a waste of time TDD and Clean Code leads to more simple, more stable software designs


8

Even with a manual process of model generation, there are some tricks you can use to maximize your output. We can follow the same basic rules for real life conservation. The three R's: Reuse - Take the same model and apply a different texture to it. This can save you the time it takes to generate a model. And will give a convincing "that's a different ...


7

This is a very common problem, and there are a few exercises to get around it that I ask of my students. Try this thought exercise: take one of your designs that's too big, and ask what you would do if you had to cut 90% of the features. Here's another idea: change your design so that the game could be played to completion in 5 to 15 minutes. Can you use ...


7

1. Buy a notepad for keeping every idea you'll get. You don't have to actually put them in your game but you can use them for further inspiration. 2. I'm also trying to hold everything I still have to do on a corkboard or a blackboard so I always can look for my next targets to finish. 3. Don't try to implement things the best way on the first attempt. Try ...


7

The answer is in the MSDN entry for GameTime http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/microsoft.xna.framework.gametime.totalgametime.aspx Fixed-step clocks update by a fixed time span upon every clock step. This results in uniform clock steps that may not actually track the wall clock time. Fixed step clocks were popular on console systems where one ...


5

I have a good imagination, but poor organising skills. On the creative side, I have found it helpful in my case to use a tool to help me keep track of everything, and impose some overall structure. I use Writer's Café, which is flexible enough to be adapted for game design. I'm sure there are other tools available. Most important, I think, is to set ...


5

The short answer: Iterate, iterate, iterate. Start small, and get something running before trying to implement the whole system. It's still important to do some top-level design and planning, but being able to see what you're working with and playtest parts as you go is incredibly important to staying motivated; it's hard for me (and most any other ...


5

I'm friend of software rapid prototyping. Especially during game development. It's good for quick learning , testing and useing things. For close to hardware programming or complicated algorithms is the best method for me. Theory(); RapidPrototype(); bool bOk = false; while(!bOk) { Testing(); LotOfFixing(); PlayingWith(); bOk= AnalysingResults(); } ...


4

This question really doesn't have an answer, but it's an interesting discussion anyway. Modeling and raw asset creation (textures, audio) this could take literally years, if you're a single person trying to make a make professional quality 3D models for a whole game. On the other hand, many indie games use retro pixel art, 3D primitives or hand drawn ...


4

If you have a brainstorm list of ideas you're part of the way there. Pick your favorite 2 or three and break down what you liked most about them. E.g. RTS: liked building the buildings -> make a game centered around only building buildings. dungeon-crawlingRPG: liked the combat with monsters. -> make only the combat part. no character choice, no stat or ...


3

Another tiny tip. - Assemble a team - Communicate with your team on a regular basis (skype, live, email, etc.) All the tips mentioned by other are good. If you create a team, the team members can support each others. Also, by having regular meetings, it encourage you to work on your project to show progress or reach your deadline. Other people can be ...


3

Do a remake! Pick a simple game you enojoy from the 80s/90s and give it some interface love, turn it into something shiny again. http://abandonia.com


2

The first thing in your mind should be that you're working for yourself, and your own entertainment. Don't let your project be hijacked by others expectations and desires, particularly when your interests change over time.



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