This article is part of the ongoing series, “Our Ship It Journal”. Written by the team directly involved, the series looks at the full, uncut journey of creating an independent game studio.
The picture above describes any successful business or product. In our case, it’s a game.
We take as self-evident that anyone wants to be successful and get revenues from their products. While you may think that indie game developers are mostly fed by community praise and recognition, they still need money to share their creation to people and to sustain further cool products.
In our recent blog post, How to Choose Your Perfect Game Idea, we were happy to share how to explore creativity and convert ideas into reality. The next natural step was to challenge our ideas and cover all three important aspects above, with our game:
Here are 9 practical questions you should ask yourself when presenting your game idea (it worked for us!):
I. Is it simple?
- Is the game simple at the beginning, starting with very few options?
- What are the next, more complex, entities that should be introduced later on in the game?
II. Does it have a market?
- Who is this game for? What players are you targeting?
- How popular is this genre?
- Are there any fan communities for this genre/type of game?
- Is it a game people would watch on Twitch or Youtube?
III. Do you have an original secret sauce?
- Is there something in your idea that hasn’t been done before, or that no one has done it like that?
- Does it have an unexpected element/story?
- Is it memorable? (Will users care about what’s happening in the game? Are the characters emotionally attachable?)
- Are there any hooks? (e.g. beating the game, role-playing, high score, discovery, customization, relationships)
- Could it have a sequel? How about building a brand?
IV. Is it social-driven?
- Is it something people would want to spread the word for?
- Can you build any relationships; can you compete?
- Can you play together with a friend?
V. Is the gameplay fun?
- Do you get instant satisfaction?
- Will it stay fun in time?
VI. Is it challenging?
- What skills does it challenge or how does it put your mind to work?
- Does it have grow abilities and the possibility to gain mastery of new situations and challenges?
- Still, is it accessible to everyone?
VII. Can we keep the players on board?
- Does it have something that will keep the player coming back to play every day? Can it create habits?
- How long does it take to finish the "main" part of the game and how much does it matter to the player to complete the "extra" part?
VIII. Can it make money?
- Would you imagine this game in the top grossing charts?
- Can you identify a proven monetization framework that can fit the game?
IX. Can it be done?
- Is it something the team is excited to make?
- Do you have the skills and resources to make this game?
- How long, do you estimate, it will take to have a first release?
Choosing an idea is tricky because there is never 100% certainty that an idea is going to work. You’ll never know many things for sure until you actually start doing it.
Start iterating and don’t be afraid to kill your idea early on if you don’t feel confident about it. Get back to the drawing board and start over until you find something you believe in. For us it was lucky number 2.