Rami Ismail (indie game developer) started a Twitter thread asking, “What was the most directly applicable or useful single piece of creative or life advice you've ever got, summarized into one single tweet?“ In this article, we handpicked our favorite advice from the thread.
Becoming a game developer, indie or not, is no easy feat.
You need to have the determination, the perseverance, and the will to continue despite hardships and setbacks.
All game developers have gone through periods where they simply can’t produce anything. Without these traits, most people will probably just give up and give in to the failure.
Unfortunately, sometimes, even with all of these, you can still fail.
Needless to say, we can all use some advice every now and then.
Rami Ismail, one half of Dutch independent game studio Vlambeer and a game developer famous in the indie game dev industry, started a Twitter thread last April asking:
“What was the most directly applicable or useful single piece of creative or life advice you’ve ever got, summarized into one single tweet?”
In this article, we’ve handpicked our favorite responses from the thread!
Timo (@TimoTolonen) warns, “‘Perfect is the enemy of good.’ I get so much more done now.”
One of the main problems that indie developers encounter when creating a game, especially if it’s their first time, is the fear of not being able to do things perfectly.
The thing is, sometimes you really don’t have to be perfect– you just have to do it.
Tabitha aka Star (@starbittz) says, “Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.”
Many of us, not just indie developers, have experienced pouring hours and hours into creating or working on something, only to realize later on that it actually sucked.
If you’re like most people, you probably had a hard time letting it go, right? However, you should realize that a ‘mistake’ is a mistake, and a ‘failure’ is a failure, regardless of who created it.
If that someone is you, then the best thing to do may be to just move on and try again next time.
Just like the first tweet in this list, sometimes you just have to get something done first before worrying if it’s perfect… or even if it’s already good enough. Just do it now and leave the checking for later!
Irene Koh (@kohquette), illustrator, says, “Make the work you want to be hired for.”
This is very useful advice, especially for aspiring indie developers who are only just starting out.
If you want to work in the future for a studio that specializes in fighting games, practice making fighting games.
If you want to be hired for mobile games, then maybe you should focus on creating your own mobile game.
Whatever you decide on doing, make sure to build your portfolio right from the get-go.
Jennifer Scheurle (@Gaohmee), game design lead at OPX Space game studio, advises, “You are what you love and not what loves you.”
What loves you does not define who you are as a person, and that applies to the game development industry as well.
As you gain more and more exposure, you’ll gain fans as well as haters.
Always remember that these people do not define who you are.
What you do defines who you are, so make sure you love what you’re doing.
Ryan Maloney (@ryanmm65) shares, “A mentor once told me that he doesn’t like to call himself ‘busy’, because everybody is busy. Everybody has stuff going on. But, it’s 100% possible to be ‘at capacity,’ and it’s important to recognize when you are so you don’t burn yourself out or drop the ball on anything.”
We’ve all heard these lines: “I’m too busy for this”, “I’m too busy for that”. But Ryan’s mentor is correct; we’re not really ‘busy’, we’re just choosing to put our time and efforts into something else.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day– what matters is how we use each hour.
Byron (@xiotex), game designer, admits, “‘It doesn’t matter how you make your game, as long as you make it.’ Up until that point I was obsessed about making my own engines and being the most efficient code. Was a life changer for me.”
This is the third tweet in this list that practically gives out the same advice, and it’s for good reason.
Just like Byron, many people focus so much on getting everything perfect that they end up not doing anything at all.
In the end, your players won’t care about how efficient the code is or how well you wrote it; what matters is that you made a game that they find worth playing.
Torbjorn van Heeswijck (@TVHEES), shares, “‘We’re just going to fake the hell out of it’ – my boss any time the client asks for anything new.”
This may seem like bad game dev advice, but it’s so bad that it’s actually pretty good.
Sometimes, if you’re not sure of what you’re doing, all you have to do is to wing it.
You know that old saying, “Fake it ’til you make it!”.
South African Articulate Dolph Ziggler (@_benjamming), game designer and co-founder of indie game studio Nyamakop, quotes, “80% of success is showing up.”
You don’t have to be the cream of the crop in order to stand out in this industry. Many times, you just have to be in the right place at the right time to gain the crowd’s attention.
That’s why it’s important to have a good social network especially when you’re in the indie game industry.
You never know who can help you become the next big hit.
Tim Schafer (@TimOfLegend), founder of indie game studio Double Fine replies, “‘Move toward that which you love.'”
This agrees with a previous tweet in this list, and it’s also very useful game dev advice.
Think about the genres that you really love and work towards those.
Remember, if you love your work, you’ll never have to work one day in you life.
Christian McCrea (@christianmccrea) quotes, “‘Please refrain from cannibalism.'”
We can’t stress this enough. There’s nothing else we can say other than this is absolutely correct.
Lastly, LeHubert (@LeHubertGames) gives us this golden advice: “Never gonna give up, never gonna let down, never gonna run around and desert, never gonna make cry, never gonna say goodbye, never gonna tell lies and hurt.”
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