Indie Game Development: What Genre Should I Make?

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Making your own video game used to be something that only the largest companies in the world could do. But thanks to advances in technology and the popularity of indie gaming, anyone can get into game development these days. However, assuming that you don’t already have your heart set on a certain genre, it can be difficult to decide which type of game you should make. In this article, we will discuss the different types of indie games that are available and provide a comprehensive guide on how to make them!

Some of the most popular genres of indie games are platformers, puzzle games, and roguelikes. Platformers are typically fast-paced and action-packed, requiring the player to jump and run their way through levels. Puzzle games, on the other hand, focus on logic and problem-solving, often with little to no combat. Roguelikes are dungeon-crawling RPGs that are known for their high difficulty and permadeath.

While the genres we listed are some of the most popular, they certainly aren’t the only ones out there. If you’re feeling creative, you can make almost any type of game you want! But today isn’t about how you’re going to make a game. Rather, today is about figuring out what kind of game we want to make.

How To Decide What Kind of Game You Want to Make

Often, when an independent developer decides they want to make a game, they have already decided what kind they’re making because they are modeling it after another, perhaps their favorite, game. But what if you don’t have a specific genre in mind? What if you want to make something new and unique, and you just want to tell a certain story. This leaves you in a fantastic spot where you can work to discover the best genre to relay your tale.

In this case, it can be helpful to think about your strengths as a developer. What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? Are there any mechanics or genres that interest you but you don’t know how to make them? If you can answer these questions, then you’re on your way to finding the right type of game to make.

For example, if you’re a programmer and you love making engines, then perhaps consider making a game that uses an engine you’ve made yourself. Or maybe you’re artistically inclined and want to create a beautiful landscape, in which case a puzzle game or a visual novel may be your best bet.

No matter what kind of game you choose to make, it’s important to keep in mind the time commitment required is not going to be that much different. Making a game is a huge painstaking endeavor. But it’s oh so very rewarding.

What are your strengths as a developer?

If you’re not sure what kind of game you want to make, think about your strengths as a developer. What do you enjoy doing? Are there any mechanics or genres that interest you but you don’t know how to make them? Using these questions you may discover some limitations, or you may even discover that you can go further than you originally planned. In either case, you need to figure out your strengths before you can move forward.

What Type of Games Do You Enjoy?

This is an important question because it’s quite likely you’ll be more invested in your project if you’re making a game that you yourself would enjoy playing. It can also be helpful to look at games that are similar to the one you have in mind and see what makes them enjoyable. Are they the fast-paced action of a platformer or the cerebral puzzle-solving of a match-three game? It’s up to you to determine how your game will evolve and what it will become, and playing to the things that entertain you will help you discover how best to do it.

Are There Any Specific Mechanics that Interest you?

There are a lot of moving parts to game development, and it can be helpful to focus on the areas that interest you the most. If you’ve seen something in another game that you thought they underutilized, or perhaps they used perfectly but you want to apply it in your own way, make a note of that. Look at ways you can use that to progress in your own story. This kind of information is invaluable when you want to make a game.

What is Your Time Commitment for Game Development?

Making a video game is no small feat, and it’s important to understand how much time you realistically have to dedicate to your project before getting started. For most people, developing an indie game is going to be a part-time endeavor done in the evenings and weekends. But if you want to go all-in on your dream project and have it done in a few months, you will be dumping a lot of your time into it. Smaller more bite-sized projects may be more appropriate if you’re unable to commit at a higher level of time commitment.

The thing to remember is, with each new feature, the time to develop each feature increases. The more complexity your game has, the more likely you are to introduce bugs. To make sure everything is working perfectly, reducing complexity is one way to ensure an independent game developer can get the job done on their own.

Just Get Going, Game Development Won’t Happen on It’s Own

You can, and should, plan for as much of your project as you can. But in the end, you just have to start making your game. Game development is a fluid process and plans will change, often drastically. Having said that, and considering all of the above, don’t be afraid to experiment or try new things – that’s how innovation happens. Just make sure you’re always moving forward so you don’t get stuck on an idea for too long.

The more time you spend in the planning phase, the less time you will spend trying to figure out where you go from here. Do you have any great game development tips? Leave them in a comment below! And keep at it, make your game today!

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