GameDev Protips: Reality vs Expectations of Game Development

You probably think that you’ll get to make the games of your dreams. Wrong. Don’t get it twisted, the gaming industry is built based on a hierarchy just like any other job. If you go into it thinking that you can just create you own games and bam, millionaire, you’re wrong. Most of what you’ll be doing no matter your occupation will be given via top-down instruction. If you’re a developer working at a studio, then the game designers will tell what to code and you’re a creative then the art director will be telling what to make. Even if you’re a game designer most likely you’ll still have a boss or a publisher that will have their own “vision” for the game. Of course, as with any rule there are always exceptions — so feel free to think outside the box.

If you think that creative autonomy will come from starting your own company as an indie game developer, then that’s a great idea! But remember that any and every game is constrained by a budget. As indie developer this will be your biggest hassle-trying to not only get people to believe in your game, but to get people to put their money where their mouth is. No money equals no game. Sure you could launch a Kickstarter, but even that takes time and money and is no guarantee for success.

And if you do happen to get some private investors, more than likely they will want some input and request periodic meetings to see how things are going. Keep in mind that any investor is a businessman and all they care about is a return on this investment. While that Kickstarter may have initially seemed like a great idea, your supporters will also want to be kept abreast of the progress and they will encourage you to stick to the initial vision. Sounds easy right? But what if your vision changes midway through? If your supporters pumped money into you because of one idea, they don’t want to be sold on another. If this happens then your supporters will most likely feel cheated. A career in game development isn’t as glamorous as many people make it out to be, so make sure that you’re ready for the challenges if you’re considering a career in game development.