Making an Indie Game Pt.1: Beginner’s Block

Making an Indie Game Pt.1: Beginner’s Block

A Little Intro:

Hi there! I’m Tom, an Indie Developer at DawnWorks. For people who are working full-time jobs or have families to support it can be a tremendous undertaking to set aside even an hour a day to work on video games. Even though I have lots of free-time, it is very difficult to maintain motivation and dedication in attempting to create an Indie Title, especially because of my complete lack of understanding when it comes to artwork. However I truly believe incremental improvement over a long period can really push you forward in achieving a new level of knowledge and opportunities. In terms of my own background, I did two years of Computer Science at A-level along with putting countless hours of my own time into coding 2D games and even still, simple platformers can be a difficult idea to grasp, especially because I (like many) want to just jump into designing games immediately without the want to grasp the fundamental principles of the software I am using (in my case, Unity).

Where to Start:


The annoyance is that you have to work on building yourself up to the larger projects and that can take a lot of time. Going through every single Unity tutorial is a start, however this still doesn’t give you the ability to understand concepts that are unique. For example, if I want to design a story card game, it is incredibly difficult to find code tutorials on cards and how they can be utilized in an indie game (at least high quality ones anyway) I would have to learn enough from other tutorials to be able to implement my own ideas, and that can be incredibly time-consuming. A good video to watch to get some perspective on the extent to which you may need to gain experience is to watch “What I learnt by making 30+ GAMES in UNITY !” by Blackthornprod who is on his 32nd and finally commercially viable game “The Dreadful Whispers”. People like this, Thomas Brush at Atmos Games, and Brackeys are good places to start to learn a lot of what you will need to know.

My Start:

Originally, for me to learn the fundamentals for the Unity Engine I worked my way through gamesplusjames’s tutorial “Unity RPG Tutorial #1 – Setting Up The Basics” (along with the fundamentals of Computer Science A-level in my college classes). The series may end quite abruptly and is very long and laborious as well as taking me around 3 days (almost non-stop) to completely understand how the character could be hidden behind an object (it is not that complicated and it still would take me a long time to explain) but it did allow me to understand how the engine worked and how I could use it (in a 2D world at least). I would NOT recommend YouTube tutorials however, they don’t give you the full range of capabilities you will need as I have wasted hours on what I thought were very literate commentators however the Unity step-by-step guides are 100% more intuitive and useful in the long run. Although it may take longer to read through it all, it is essential.


2D Indie Project Plan:


Objective: Complete a short original indie game inside of a month with FREE software.


Ruby’s Adventure: 2D Beginner – Expected 14 Hours 20 Mins Available at:


12/05/2019 12:39 PM Ruby’s Adventure: 2D Beginner – Starting off a little late as being a University Student has allowed me to royally mess up my sleep pattern. Although I have worked with 2D sprites and C# coding before that was about a year ago and you have to constantly make sure you are up-to-date with all knowledge of the type of code you want to use for your real games, no matter how little, if you ever want to fully understand the system. This particular guide has similar technical knowledge that I’ll need for what I want to design later on (the principles of 2D design, RPG elements, and directly translated into platformers) but we’ll get to that later on. Today I plan to add motion and code keyboard input for my main character.



Pixel Art – When working at such a small scale as pixel art, it is important to find on the software of your choosing the interpolation method, or more specifically, the Nearest Neighbour option in your interpolation settings (commonly it is within Image on your version of Photoshop) this allows you to scale up pixel image without it becoming blurry as to allow you complete control of size magnification within Unity. Obviously the best idea would be to get Photoshop as it allows you to have a wider ability of things you can create (and commonly within jobs nowadays they require experience in this) however there is free software out there for creating for free such as Pixelart or by using a simple Paint file. These are a couple I cobbled together tonight (I know they are dreadful but they are going in the right direction).



Short Note on Creativity: As a suggestion, you can make any form of unoriginal game entertaining and interesting by adding an element that no one has done before. Good examples of these are Undertale (2D RPG) and Pinstripe (2D Platformer), they may have basic fundamental mechanics but that added dynamic of story or artwork can really turn something from mediocre into something great. The ones I have thought up (although obviously not as good as the ones mentioned above) include a 2D platformer where the goal is to go up instead of right across the screen with a teleportation mechanic (taken from a combination of Spelunky and Portal 2) as well as a simple robot programming puzzle game, taken from very old learning software used to teach thirteen year old me how to correctly understand numbers. You can really find a game in everything (as Accounting (The VR Game) and Capitalism 2 has shown us).

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