Maybe you are someone who is considering developing their own indie game in your spare time after work, or you are just a student who recently graduated and trying to enter the field by getting direct experience.

For me starting, it felt like I was embarking on an amazing journey, but the sea I was sailing was full of self-doubt. The vast ocean of design choices, development challenges, and uncertainties about player feedback or actual gameplay loop. It was pretty easy to be overwhelmed, really fast. And as for the finish line?

You see, that’s the problem.

Game Development is a hobby for many people, sometimes a job. But what those two different categories share is that their primary expectation is shipping a game in the end. There are pretty obvious start and finish lines for most projects. In this short article, I would want to argue for something that usually does not fall into common advice for the mindset game developer should have.

Starting your project, and being part of a small team that is making a game as a hobby, or on limited funds is pretty nerve-wracking because you typically feel so many different emotions during the process. Uncertainty and missed deadlines are almost a given. In the end, everyone should prioritize learning and dealing with that.

But how should you power through the urges to shelf the game project?

Ok, hear me out, this is easier said than done. But that does not make it any less important in my opinion. Focus on the journey at the sea. Not the weather or the winds, the accommodation at the destination. This allows you to muster full creativity while staying on track instead of panicking on every sign of missed milestone, discovered bug, or unpromising player feedback.

We can race towards the destination, but somehow, that never guarantees the self-demanded speed. But constant anxiousness rather, happens to increase our likelihood of making bad choices, delivering a completely different game from what was initially envisioned, signing bad deals, and finally selling way lower amount of game copies than we expected on Steam, for example.

This is simply a mindset that has to be practiced every day. It’s a general understanding that an Indie dev should develop. The fact is that to do the job well, are supposed to enjoy the journey, not some imagined destination or “finish” line. Especially so if we are fuelled by passion and not some regular salary.

Cheers, Nick Mt.

Reality Interactive 2023.

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