More often than not there’s very little financial reward from developing an indie game. The market is so saturated that even a top quality product isn’t always guaranteed to make much money. For this reason I’d recommend that all indie developers run their projects like a real business even if it’s just something you’re doing in your spare time.
So what do I mean by that? Well firstly if you have any expectations of making some money you should be prepared to be very frugal in terms of your development costs. Keeping your cost down can be easier than you think. For a start, do you really need to spend money on an expensive PC and a whole range of expensive software? Probably not.
Dare the Monkey has been developed on a laptop that is almost 4 years old and to be honest it hasn’t hindered my progress in any way. I’ve also managed to make use of a lot of inexpensive software equivalents and trial versions of top line products that I can’t afford to purchase. When it comes to testing, I have two iOS devices of my own and the rest I borrow from various individuals from time to time. I also work from home which saves me from having to rent an office.
If you are working from an office or paying monthly subscriptions fees for software then it’s imperative you finish the project as quickly as possible. The longer the project takes to complete the more money you’ll haemorrhage. It’s as simple as that. To help with this I schedule all my work and try to operate the development as if it was being run by a professional studio. Luckily I have lots of experience within the industry so it’s not overly difficult for me to project manage the development of my game. For the most part it’s just my own time I need to manage but there are occasions when I seek outside help from others to do task such as UI design, testing and additional artwork. Without any proper project management it would be very difficult to manage everyone’s time even if such occasions are rare.
I’ve found that running my project like a business has greatly improved the quality of the product and helped prevent things for spiralling out of control. If you really want to keep your costs down and maximise your chances of finishing something then I highly recommend you do the same.