Being a lone developer can be a daunting and difficult task. Get it wrong and you’ll spend a year or so of your life making an absolute turkey of a game or worse still the game might never actually get finished.

I’d originally hoped to build my game over a two or three month period but it quickly became apparent it was gonna take much longer. Faced with the enormity of the task at hand I decided I needed a strategy for tackling the development of Dare the Monkey. Here’s a breakdown of the plan that I decided to put in place.

1. Concept

Develop the basic concept and characters.

2. Prototype

Build a working prototype of the game as a proof of concept.

3. Create the art assets

Create the final game assets including animation rigs, models and textures.

4. Add the art to the game engine

Test the assets in the game engine making any required changes.

5. Build the game levels

Use the assets to build the game levels. I’ll typically build one level at a time. As I build out a level, I’ll move between building and testing.

6. Testing

Playtest each level, making changes and adding last minute improvements. As you’d expect, I very frequently have to jump back to step 5 based on user tests of each level. Of course, I heavily test the levels myself but I also rely on very valuable feedback from friends and family at this stage.

7. Presentation

Design the game’s user interface. I’ll also add the final sound effects and music at this stage too.

It’s not that detailed to be honest, but it has been enough to give me some focus. I’ve met so many other people who’ve embarked on similar projects without ever having put any kind of plan in place. Needlessly to say, they’ve all given up or are still working but unlikely to ever finish.

Honestly without a solid plan to stick to there’s just no way on earth this game would be possible. For a lone developer that’s an insane amount of work but somehow it has always seemed possible even when others were very sceptical.

I’m currently building the levels and although I’ve still got some way to go I am already proud of what I’ve achieved so far. Without a plan in place I would never have made it this far.

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