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3 Things Indie Games Can Do To Improve In 2015

 

1. Stop Using Early Access/Open Betas as a crutch

early access

Time and time again we've seen good games ruined by being released too early and losing all of their creative steam/money and a metric ton of titles drowning under mountains of bugs and bad design decisions before players can even begin to make suggestions on how to improve the game. Hilarity often ensues for youtubers, but the consumer is very likely to get burned out after it happens too often.

The best Early Access titles (or open betas) realize their potential by actually getting the game to a working state before unleashing it on millions of PC's and foster improvements by treating their customers with the respect they deserve. Once respect is earned, then the improvements can be made, goodwill will floweth through to launch and maybe, just maybe, you will justify the existence of the Early Access/ Open Beta concept.

Here's hoping.

2.Stop Cloning Each Other, For Fuck's Sake.

 

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Stop right there, aspiring game developer. I see you eyeing candy crush and birds of the flappy and angry type. Stop it, go no further than enjoying the games and learning what they did right and applying those to your games. Innovate, expand gaming into bold new frontiers, or tackle mechanics in new and interesting ways.

What you should definitely not do is copy other game's mechanics and concepts wholesale, slap a thin covering of pixels over them,  and sell them as "new". Nor should you spot an intriguing new title and furiously rush out a competing copy to deny the original developers the fruits of their labour.

[caption id="attachment_5303" align="alignnone" width="590"] Pictured: Asshole[/caption]

 

We are not impressed, your girlfriend/boyfriend is not impressed and potential employers will not be impressed by your blatant ripoff (and legal black hole) of Threes or Luftrausers. If you think someone's going to look at your clone and think "Wow, I really am impressed by how this game managed to add one extra pixel of jump height to Mario", then you are delusional and should be sectioned. Even if your game sells well, the sword of damocles that is your ruined reputation will certainly spell doom for your aspirations to be employable (or respectable) in the games industry.

This is a problem that has intensified over recent years but has been present ever since the dawn of video games, so stopping this habit will probably take a collective push from developers old and new. It's an infuriating habit and it has got to stop.

3.You Are Not A Rockstar.

 

Phil Fish

You are not an all knowing, all seeing god. You will screw up. An infuriating bug that only is noticed by players will cripple your game, a customer will hate your guts for not being able to address their issue and a critic will hate your game.  Heck, you may even find yourself staring into the jaws of insanity

A few indie developers will not take this well, they will choose to lash out at their critics and customers in very ill conceived ways. A spiteful few will wallow in their superiority-complexes, content to bellow out such cliche tripe as "So what if my game isn't fun or well made, my games shouldn't have to be good for me to earn millions of dollars and the respect of the industry" or classics like "My game is about something important, therefore it is".

No, darling. It doesn't matter what a game says, but how it says it. No one will care if a game happens to contain the cure for cancer if that cure is buried in a pile of feces with needles and random exploding PC's scattered along the way to the all-important "message". You. Are. Not. Special.

 

great indie games

The key to being special, a celebrated talent that inspires game developers and consumer bases alike, is to make good games. As history has taught us, your game doesn't even have to sell well, the only thing that will make or break your reputation, and your long-term legacy, is to make a good, or even great, title.

The road to making a great game is fraught with the potential pitfalls mentioned above, but in a world where games are for everyone, there are potentially millions of other developers and players willing and waiting to help you along the way. They could dole out useful advice, tip you off to the right way to craft and market your game, or even spread word of your exploits down through the ages.

You are creating whole new worlds for people to experience, make it a good one and I swear they will be grateful. make it a bad one and, well, that's how revolts are started.

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Kyle Arsenault is an avid gaming critic/composer who yearns to share the greatness of gaming with the world. He also likes nachos.