4 things I learned building my first indie Android game

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Everyone seems to be talking about how easy it is to make money making a smash hit indie game for realise on Android or iOS.

Flappy bird and Candy Crush are so simple anyone can do it right? Well yes and no.

Yes, anyone can do it but they have a concept they like and the persistence to plan, design, develop and implement.

Below are four things that I have learned from my first attempt at indie games development, some of these I definitely need to work on improving myself, so I am not an expert.

To be clear, I am a self-taught amateur developer. My day job is as a strategic planner and so I had A LOT of assistance from developer friends and designer friends, but I am still proud to have conceptualised and produced a fully functioning Android app for the first time, which was released on the Google Play store last week.

Don’t judge me but my first exploration into the world of Android game dev is a ‘sexy puzzle game’, an odd genre but one that kept me motivated during the learning process.

These are some of the things that stood out for me as I progressed in this experiment.

1. Start with the end in mind

Plan everything down to the last button. UX is crucial. And targeting a specific user and the way you want a consumer to interact with the game. Who is he/she? I suggest actually getting out a pen and paper and drawing out how you want every ‘screen’ of the app experience as a flowchart.

2. Weigh up your monetization options or combinations of options carefully

IAP or ‘In App Purchases’ are essential if you are looking to make money from the game that is beyond regular advertising revenue from Google AdMob. The main options for this is either banner ads or interstitials are web pages displayed before or after an expected content page.

3. Understand the ecosystem before you begin

Although barrier to entry is lower than ever for indie games development there are things to be aware of. Google Play Store rules and regulations, Licencing fees for music and imagery, Admob account integration, Development platforms. Note: Google does not support merchant accounts in South Africa yet and so you will need to register for tax purposes in another country.

4. Media Support

Have a media support plan to help get your game noticed. This could include a solid PR strategy, Influencers drops, Paid media on Facebook / Twitter/ YouTube or even.
So yeah that’s basically it, I see this project as the first of many and look forward to seeing how the local indie gaming industry develops further in SA.



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