Let's look at the top four things which indie game developers should avoid, when working with their project. These are the things, which I personally keep stumbling (even after ten years in the industry) and which I hear people fighting against most often.
1 FORGET MARKETING
Of course, the top priority is to make as awesome game as possible. But by forgetting the marketing part, your hard work can be literally worth nothing. You should not see marketing only as "pain in the ass" since marketing is happening every time, you mention to someone that you're making a game.
2 START NEW PROJECT
The endless flow of awesome ideas is a problem for every game developer out there. There are moments when your current project starts to feel dumb and your fresh, new and epic idea are much better. In some cases, it actually might be true that you should dump your current project and go for a better idea. Most of the time though, this is not the case.
This is why you need some type of feedback and/or metrics for yourself to follow. Something which tells you that your current game is interesting for the players and you should keep ongoing. Without the feedback and/or data to tell you the direction, these "new awesome ideas" keep on coming and destroying your current goals.
3 GOING TOO BIG
The first design of your game might be simple (or it feels like it) but once you go forward, you get new ideas for features which have TO BE implemented. This is, of course, the whole point of making games, testing your game and figuring out new ways to make it even more fun. What you should understand though, is that when you develop your game, you play it for maybe hundreds of hours each month. The current features may start to feel boring or "not enough" for you, but do not forget the player, who jumps into your game for the first time. Will he/she spend hundreds of hours in your game as well, like you just did?
You don't need piles of different features, you need guides and tools for the player to understand the current features what your game has. Make him understand the "core fun" in your game because for the person who plays it for the first time, it's indeed not as obvious as it is for you.
4 FORGET PROTOTYPING
Your game won't be that much more fun to play with awesome graphics, effects, and sounds. When building the first versions of your game, it should be fun to play even without them. The graphics and such are the final touch for your design and work as the "selling point" when people stumble on your game in the store.
Make sure to reserve enough time for the prototyping part and do not proceed to create massive amounts of content and/or awesome graphics, before you've "validated" your design properly. It's much easier to make changes for your design at the prototype level, or maybe even dumb the whole project. Because you will be using months for your game, it's sad to use the whole time for a game, which is not interesting for most of the players.
Always try to search for people to play your game right from the beginning. Try to get feedback from the right people as soon as possible. This helps you to keep on the right track, keep yourself motivated and at the same time, you're doing the "pain in the ass" marketing!
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