Which project to choose?

Discussion in 'Indie Basics' started by MrGoldfish, May 18, 2008.

  1. MrGoldfish

    Original Member

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    Hey all.

    I have a long list of game ideas that I'd like to make which are all within my abillity to develop but I'm having a tough time deciding on which one to actually work on. This will be my first commercial game and I'm sure experience would let me know which one to go for but as I have non in this arena I'm asking you guys who do. Does anyone have any guide lines or tips on choosing your first project, or reasons why you wish you hadn't chosen the one you did? Just things that might bite me in the ass that, as someone just starting out, can't see yet.

    Thanks
     
  2. MrGoldfish

    Original Member

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    and if that's not a good enough reason to do it then I don't know what is :p
     
  3. defanual

    Original Member

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    If you've never made games before don't get your hopes up too high of making or charging money for your first game (of course it can happen).

    If it's your first choose something that is a good balance between easy to make and fun to make. It's probably a good idea to not attempt your best/star ideas in the beginning, this way they'll benefit from your previous experience and have the best chance in future of doing well from that experience. As you go along, you should work-up over time to the star idea(s).

    I use a project rating system I created in Excel to aid in the selection of my projects. It may help you too, but it only works if your honest to the questions posed. It's broken down into 6 key areas and is reasonably easy to do in excel or similar software. I have more description/specifics for each area if needed, but for now this will suffice. The areas are:

    1. Low Difficulty
    2. Completion Time
    3. Originality
    4. Enthusiasm (Your Enthusiasm)
    5. Commercial Potential
    6. Marketing & Other Benefits

    So in my current projects stats, it reads like this (Higher numbers are better):
    Difficulty | Time | Originality | Enthusiasm | Commercial | Marketing | Overall
    4 | 4 | 5 | 5 | 4 | 4 | 86%

    This project sits at the top of my the list of 32 something project ideas at the moment because it currently has the best balance of all the key areas. If the project had higher numbers in Commercial and Marketing but lower in Enthusiasm and/or Difficulty (as the reality check), it's set up to place such projects lower down the list.

    Tougher/larger projects are naturally placed near the bottom by the system to allow a more structure project selection choice without too much compromise.

    You can add other areas as well, just remember it only works if your at least 99.9% honest, regardless of the project. You also should update it regularly as project status changes and try to live by it for it to useful (no point in picking number 15 if 1-3 is staring you in the face).

    Regarding selling remember this, as soon as you decide you want to sell something, you not only have to know how to make the thing you want to sell, but you also need to know how to sell it in the first place (business). This means you'll have to gain an interest in non-game things such as cashflow, marketing/advertising, press releases, budgets, strategies etc. You will learn these things with research and experience. You can afford to ignore the business stuff if you intend to have little to no sells of your game(s), are more a hobbyist or making freeware in which the above is largely irrelevant.

    I'm sure others have stuff to add or things I may of missed, but thats an quick overview so to speak.
     
    #3 defanual, May 18, 2008
    Last edited: May 18, 2008
  4. Sol_HSA

    Indie Author

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    "Keep It Simple, Stupid", is pretty much the way to go. Expect much more trouble from your first project than you could possibly imagine. =)
     
  5. AlexWeldon

    AlexWeldon New Member

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    I think this advice depends heavily on how easily you come up with ideas vs. how easily you execute them. I'm a very imaginative, creative person, so I'm full of ideas. I'm just slow to getting around to starting them, and bad at seeing them through to completion.

    In a case like mine, I think the thing to do is go with the ideas that excite you the most and keep your motivation up, and resist the urge to "hoard" your best ones until you're "good enough," because the reality is that a) once you reach the level that you think is "good enough" now, you'll realise that you can be even better, and b) in the time it takes you to finish work on one good idea, you'll have four more good ideas that will all be more exciting to you by virtue of being fresher in your mind. Consequently, postponing a good idea means you'll probably never get around to it.

    Of course, at first, the thing to do is start with something that will be fun to work on and not too hard. In the past, I've often tried to dive right in to really ambitious projects, and tend to get stuck and lose interest early on. Now I'm working on a really easy game, and although I've only been working on the actual code for three weeks or so, I'm more than halfway towards having a playable beta done. This is great for my motivation levels.
     
  6. Christian

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    Motivation. Choose the one that yourself, personally, are exited to work on and see finished. Dont think on what would be best, follow your insctincts, otherwise youll suffer all along the development of it, your motivation will decrease and that will affect the outcome and even the time you work on it. Plus what others have told you, wich is really good advice.
     
  7. Nexic

    Indie Author

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    Totally agree with Christian. Your best work will emerge when doing something you're really passionate about making. The hard part is thinking of something you're passionate about AND will have a chance at selling.

    If you decide to go casual then remember that too much originality won't work. If you decide to go more hardcore make sure you can get someone to understand and be excited about your game from just a short sentance, since visibility is much harder to achieve.
     
  8. GeneralGrant

    GeneralGrant New Member

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    I also agree with Christian. And if you pick something you really want to do chances are that it’s not just "Dinner Dash with hotdogs" but something a bit more unique which could stick out from the crowd.
     
  9. Spore Man

    Indie Author

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  10. aliosa

    aliosa New Member

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    look

    i think target audience or how its called its the best. dont expect ppl who search for clues in images to play same game like video poker. or brake out arcade game or something. so if u whant to make your first game, find a target and hit it, see the game type u can have, what time u have and how much effort u can put into it.

    I wish you good luck on this project as i am too at my first game (as a producer this time)

    sorry about my english. i'm romanian.
     
  11. Netninja

    Netninja New Member

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  12. uli.s

    uli.s New Member

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    I also go along with most guys here, pick that idea you are most passionate about.

    Additionally, I would add: don't rush yourself for deciding and getting started. Take your time. Consider different ideas. Ideas also grow over time. It should really, really, really feel right when you make your decision.

    Like others, I also recommend you prototype your game before putting too much effort in it and have others play it, after all you want to charge others for it eventually. This reduced the risk of having picked the wrong idea to start with.

    Have a look on How to be creative, you will like it. (Sorry guys, I probably posted this link with all my posts everywhere here in the forum, it just seems so suitable).

    Another good link is Nine step recipe for good independent game design, By Damon Brown.

    Good luck.
     
  13. Nikos Beck

    Nikos Beck New Member

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    Just as an example, I had an interesting gameplay idea for months. I've toyed with the idea, thought up a campaign mode, a training mode, a theme, some art concepts. Now that I'm working on a prototype and it's not as good as I imagined. I'm using my fiancee as a sounding board. Thankfully I'm working in Javascript so I haven't spent a lot of time on it. I'm going to give it a few more weeks and then it's decision time: keep it or kill it.

    Some times you have to have something playable before you can see all of the problems with it. And it's better to find it early. It frees you up to start the next project, hopefully with more success.
     

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