Being an indie developer can be hard work even if you have a small team working with you. As talented as everyone is there will likely be gaps in their knowledge and skill set. For example, you may have an artist on your team that’s great at illustration but might not be an animation specialist or have any graphic design experience. They may also be comfortable in 3D as opposed to pixel art.
The same goes for programmers, level designers, and sound engineers. Each of these respective fields are enormous in scope. Most individuals will probably have a fairly narrow range of expertise within each. Generalists are hard to find. Good generalists are even harder to find, and great generalists are as rare as unicorns.
Because of this problem each team member will need to be prepared to learn new skills in order for the project to succeed. If you’re going it alone then this issue can rapidly get out of control. As a lone developer I’ve experienced this first hand while creating Dare the Monkey. I’m constantly having to learn new skills or brush up on things that I haven’t had to do in years. It’s important not to panic though and not to let things get on top of you.
Thankfully we live in a digital age where knowledge is readily available on-line. There are so many amazing resources out there such as Pluralsight, Tuts+, The Recording Revolution, and even YouTube. Also hunt around for blogs by people who are experienced in a particular field you are interested in. Many of these individuals dedicate themselves to teaching others and ask for nothing in return. There really has never been a better time to learn new skills and there’s really no excuse for not doing so.
Over the course of developing Dare the Monkey I’ve had to learn new things or brush up on many of my existing skills. I’ve had to learn how to rig 3D characters and spent time improving my animation skills (It had been several years since I’d last done any serious animation). Along the way, I’ve also continued to learn new aspects of Maya and ZBrush. At times I’ve even forced myself way out of my comfort zone by learning to mix audio using Pro Tools.
It’s a lot of work but knowledge really is power. The more you learn, the better your game will be and the more chance it will have of being successful.