It’s been a whirlwind of a journey figuring out making games and being an entrepreneur.
I thought I’d share with you what I’ve learned as well as the resources for learning.
My Entire Recorded Education
Here’s the big stuff:
My Entire Informal IndieDev Education since leaving the military.
I’d suggest reading the things in the Gold and Purple Tier for whatever category interests you.
Start Making Games Here
I’ve learned a lot along the way. In trying to figure out what to blog about, I realized that there are so many useful resources out there for the technical work of making games, that I couldn’t compete as a beginner.
When I started, I went to Pixel Prospector for just about everything in that category.
The most important thing is to start.
Marketing Skills That Are Actually Quite Useful
Unfortunately, when I started I dove heavily into Business to Business Marketing (B2B / Other Game Developers) without really realizing it. I should’ve focused more on Business to Consumer marketing (B2C actual gamers). Not only that, but I also learned the techniques for blogging for large teams, not solo developers.
I actually detested the word marketing. But the more I learned about marketing, the more I found it to be about relationships. I adjusted my marketing mentality to this revelation.
In trying to figure out blogging, I had a separate blog that encompassed everything, but then I switched gears (here’s my first post on figuring out what to write about).
After about two years, I pivoted my blogging plan again to try to focus more on marketing to gamers and talking about my processes. I also got rid of a bunch of website stylization to focus on just getting more content out.
I also read that the key to succeeding at marketing is to just start. Here’s how you can get started with your own blog in 5 minutes. This is actually a remnant of B2B marketing called affiliate marketing, but, I still think it’s good to start your own website, just to get familiar with it.
After you get your website set up, you need to choose your template. Here’s a list of the templates I use.
You’ll also need some plugins if you go with wordpress. Here’s some WordPress Plugins that I use to run my blog.
Oh, and by far, the most common thing all the marketers talk about is making sure you have an email list. I summed up everything I know about email marketing in a post titled “Sine Qua Non of Email Marketing.” That title triggered my email to go to a lot of spam folders, so, pretty much, there’s still more that I need to learn.
One of the techniques I learned to get emails is to give something of value in exchange for someone’s email. I posted two different posts where I used it and my site-wide email opt-in, but since I’m not focused so much on attracting other developers, I’ll just list the posts, and their respective attachments.
- 11 Ideas for Creating Your Own IndieDev Email Incentive – Here’s the Adobe InDesign File. Also, here’s my site-wide email opt-in, 40 Resources I Use as a Solo IndieDev.
- My Evolving IndieDev Analytics – Here’s the spreadsheet that goes along with it.
I also wanted to figure out how to manage my social media. My most comprehensive post on managing Facebook and Twitter is really effective.
If you want to learn how to retarget site visitors for Facebook ads, then I sum up an expensive course I took with my own procedures applied to Video Games.
You’ll need to record how effective your marketing is at getting people from your social media channels back to your website. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. I even give a free template on what I’m using.
You Don’t Need Formal Education
I have a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the United States Military Academy, and spent 5 years in the U.S. Infantry. At 28, I needed a job I could do from home that I enjoyed, so I could follow my wife while she finished her time in the military. So I started teaching myself.
Perhaps the most important asset, is to find your local library and request as many free books as you can. I talk about all the ways you can use your local library to help with learning to make games. Combine your local library with the books I read in my IndieDev Education pages, and we’ll have a similar knowledge experience.
People who are self taught are called Autodidacts. The ability to learn by yourself without formal education can be daunting, but its a valuable skill. Help yourself become an autodidact.
Some Motivation to Help
It’s going to hurt making games.
I’ve had good days, bad days, and really bad days. Sometimes even bad weeks.
The truth is, The Resistance is out there. It’s that unseen force that pushes against you when you want to become great at something. You can fight the resistance.
But maybe you’ll do something stupid, like change your company name two times, or buy $3000 worth of hardware and software you wind up not liking. It’s okay, we all make mistakes. Laugh at them then get back to working hard.
Just make sure that when you’re working hard, you don’t burn out. I developed eczema from too much stress when I was in the Army. Here’s some tips to avoid burnout.
If you have been through hardships in life, like when I had the death of two dreams, become stronger because of it.
You’re probably going to fail at making some games, but that’s okay. Learn from your failures, and keep going. Hold onto your grit, and keep going. Here’s my write-up on the first game I released on iOS, and how I’ve made almost nothing from it.
I’ll see you at the finish line.