Photo by 3rd Wheel
How do you get from here to there, where: here = dream about massive game success, and there = massive game success?
Well there are 6 steps as I see it:
1) Learn to program. Hopefully in a language conducive to game programming!
2) Fiddle around making incomplete games and engine code. This is where you get better at applying programming and begin to learn about game design.
3) Make a complete free game. Many people never reach this stage. Making a 100% complete game (even a small one) is not easy and takes a lot of staying power.
4) Make a commercial game. This is a complete game that is commercially viable that you sell and actually make money from. Many people never reach this stage after stage 3.
5) Make a successful commercial game. I added a word, but oh it’s an important word. Almost everyone reaching stage 4 will not have made a game that makes any decent money, and so many people give in at that stage. The ones that carry on may have to make several games, honing their craft (game design AND marketing), before they reach stage 5.
6) Make a massively successful game. Once you hit stage 5, stage 6 can be achieved by further improving yours skills, investing money, getting a lucky break etc. It is possible, but only a few developers will ever achieve this final accolade.
I’m at stage 5.5 Stage 5 has been done a few times, and now I’m part of a team working on stage 6 which I believe is inevitable based on everyone’s skill and the financial backing we have. (We recently released a popular Facebook game called My Tribe that is now scaling rapidly. It’s very exciting to be part of it).
Think of these stages as belts in a martial art. Stage 5 is your black belt, but Stage 6 is becoming the master. To progress through the stages needs regular hard work, determination, and skill. Wimping out at Stage 2 or 3 because it hurts or you are tired won’t get you a black belt.
Which stage are you at?