I recently met with the developers of two new indie games. One of these projects is in soft launch and the other plans to reach that goal in around 6-8 months. During our conversations I asked them for advice they would give other developers. A few days later, here are two games to look out for and plenty of tips from their developers.
Created by Jason Tuyen, Balls is an…odd title for a game. This mobile game has you tapping a ball to help it ascend through dynamically generated obstacles. This game is simple to learn but hard to master. Jason has managed a high-score of over 400, so why not see if you can get higher?
Balls is currently in soft launch on Google Play in multiple countries including Ireland and New Zealand. It has been in development for around two years and the game play derived from a Game Jam. With customisable features and online leaderboards, this game can be highly addictive.
In all honesty, I was terrible at this game only getting a score of around 14. This did mean I didn’t get the chance to experience extra features such as the wind zones and the increases of difficulty. It was a fun game and something I could get hooked on. The design was simple and not overbearing which kept your focus on the game. While not the most developed game of this genre, it had its charm!
With around 5 years of experience under his belt, I loved Jason’s confidence. When asked if he faced any challenges he replied with a simple no. He did, however, have some great advice for developers starting out. The first one is to do Game Jams, understandable as his game originated from one. Game Jams are a great place for indie developers and there is pretty much always one going on!
His second piece of advice is to start simple. This is very good advice and something I have been told before. Starting simple and making the game you can make -not the one you want to – can help you avoid burnout. It also means that you don’t get disheartened trying to do a massive project, when you haven’t learned how to yet.
Bouncy Cat Rescue
A game created by Erno Lehtonen and Pyry Mäkinen which is super cute and just as fun. This mobile game places you as a cat trying to save kittens falling from a tree. You bounce the small fluffy kittens to safety by moving your cat side to side. The game allows you to start at any difficulty level and once an area is complete you will unlock an endless mode.
Having on and off development for nearly two years this is the first game our lovely developers have created. Not currently released they do hope it will be out on soft launch soon. The gameplay is beautiful and has so many cute cats.
I did not get to play this game but it did look brilliant. I could definitely see myself investing a lot of time into saving those poor kittens. Presentation wise the game is beautiful and looks professional. It has a brilliant variation in difficulty and some levels I can imagine will take a lot of practice to master.
Erno’s and Pyry’s advice
While not as overwhelmingly confident as Jason, these two did admit to some challenges they faced: like optimizing the game to work on all devices. When they showed it to me. their game would work on one tablet but not on the other. Erno did also admit that design was tricky and took a lot of time.
Their advice also covered more than just game development. In the development area they say make a project you find fun. There is no point making yourself miserable and creating something you do not enjoy. Create something for fun, not because you have to. They also said to make sure you finish your projects, never leave anything half done!
When it comes to pitching. they learnt a lot from The Big Indie Pitch at Pocket Gamer Connects. It is important to structure your pitch, this is the first piece of advice they gave. After they finished their pitch, they realized they had tried to explain so much they ended up bouncing from idea to idea rather than having a set plan.
Another bit of advice was to plan the little things. From target audience to monetization, these things are important in pitches. While as developers it is not the first thing you may think of, it is what the investors want to know.
Here is hoping this helped
If you are a developer, I hope what these guys had to say helped. If you have any other advice for developers, feel free to comment. Indie developers must support each other and teach each other. So lets share everything we have learnt!