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A member registered May 29, 2016 · View creator page →

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Never go back in these games...just don't do it...! Awesome game for such a short game jam

Last year I hadn't shipped any indie games in years. So in 2022 I set a New Year's resolution to ship 12 small but complete hobby indie games, one each month. This was hard with a full time job and kids.

This month I hit my goal and shipped my 12th game. To my surprise one of them was even picked up as Official Selection in Out of Index Festival. If you're interested in doing something similar, I wanted to share some lessons I learned in case it was helpful to anyone else:


Probably 80% of my ability to be so prolific this year is because of this one rule. David Whele who made The First Tree calls it "never have a zero day", and it's also shared by lots of successful authors. I found it very helpful to set a low bar of 15 minutes every day, no exceptions. If I missed a day, I made sure I didn't miss two days in a row.

This small goal helped because even if I was super unmotivated, tired and not starting until 11:45pm, I could still get in 15 minutes and call it a win. And what ends up happening most of the time is that I end up going for far longer, sometimes 2 or 3 hours in a day.

Of course I don't think this is healthy for your full time job - everyone needs breaks and vacation. But for creating a ton of games as a side hobby, this got great results for me.


I was surprised how many mental battles came along with this challenge. Within a coding session if I didn't get as much done as I had anticipated, I felt like a failure. "My only time to work on this today was wasted on this stupid bug that I didn't even fix".

This is frustrating but I learned to tell myself it still counts as a win because I put the time in. And if I keep going the next day, eventually progress will be made. Not every session is going to be a blowout success where you finish 5 features, that's just reality. Keep going tomorrow!

I also think it's important to not just work on the fun stuff, also put time into the boring stuff. Don't just work on the power ups, also make sure you optimize the load time. Don't just add new special moves to the boss, also fix that bug that makes the camera jitter too much. I think this is one of the differences between amateurs and pros.


If you think to yourself, "Right now I'm suffering grinding it out and not enjoying myself, but one day I'll ship my game and it will be a big success, then I'll be happy," then you are doomed.

You can't delay your happiness to some point in the future. If you want to keep going long term then it's important to enjoy the process and have fun today. The victory and reward is not getting to the end - the reward is getting to sit down and work on your game today. That's the fun part and the part that should be celebrated.

Beyond this just being a more fun way to live, there's a lot of science behind this. There's a neuroscientist at Stanford named Andrew Huberman who talks about dopamine and how for anything that you want to excel at long term, it's important to attach the reward to the pursuit, not to the final reward. Otherwise you will eventually give up because it takes so long to get to the reward.

I found it really helped to have this present mentality. "I am a indie game developer today. I am living my dream today, right now. Sure I have plans for the future, but it won't get any better than this moment right here where I get to write this line of code, and that's awesome!"


A "microtask" is my phrase for a tiny next step, no more than a few minutes of work. For example: "Make it so you can detect mouse clicks", "Make it so mouse click creates a GameObject", "Make it so the GameObject is a projectile".

Each night when I stopped I would leave myself a reminder and some microtasks of where I needed to pick up the next day. "You were working on the UIButton > Pause() function, next step is to make it so clicking it pauses the game." This helped me get going faster so I could make tangible progress in as little as 15 minutes.


I tend to get caught up in wasting a lot of time around planning. Planning out the design, planning out the story, sharing on social media, etc. I can waste months on these things. But the most important thing is writing the code, fixing the bugs, and getting the game out the door. I found that focusing more on that and less on everything else helped me be prolific.


There are many goals you can pick for indie game development. You might want to: make money, get lots of reviews and views and downloads, build a big team, make the games you loved playing as a kid, make innovative or original ideas, win awards, develop your skills and craft, work on everything yourself.

These are all really different and would result in different approaches. To figure out what I truly wanted, I asked myself lots of hypothetical questions: Imagine I made a Candy Crush clone that made a lot of money, would that make me happy? How about a game that I thought was beautiful but no one ever played it? What about a game that didn't make any money but won lots of awards? What if I was on a team of 50 people and worked on just a single part?

I found the answers to these hypotheticals helpful in setting what was my goal, and what were explicitly not my goals. For me personally I wanted to make things that were creatively interesting to me, work on things solo or in very small teams so I get better, and I explicitly did not care about making any money.


Another negative mentality aspect I sometimes found myself in is I would get really intimidated by seeing other indie games. "Wow, this team of people spent 6 years on this game...I will never be this good". I think that this is a distraction that can be very demotivating.

Instead I learned it's more useful to focus on the present and the next step for me personally: what is the next level I'm trying to get to? What is the next modest goal? For example, I had done 2D games for a few months, so my next goal was to do a 3D game. Not an incredible mind blowing 3D game that got 10,000 of downloads - just a simple 3D game out the door. That's the next step. Thinking about anything beyond that is a waste of energy.

One caveat is if you aren't clear on your long term goals, this is harder. You might worry that you're not going in the right direction long term fast enough to get to where you want to go. It is useful to step back every few months and reassess your overall approach. But doing this every day is counterproductive.


Game development is a game of hours. More hours put into the game means more and higher quality game. And the easiest way to boost the number of hours is to team up with other people. I did several collab games this year and each one was a ton of fun. 

The accountability really helps - when everyone else was posting updates, then it encouraged me to get going as well. You feed off each other's energy. This really accelerates towards the end when we all started throwing tons of hours at the project!

Collaborating can be a lot of fun but also comes with trade offs. If you're going from one to two or three people then you give up some creative control - you can't just do whatever you want, you all need to be aligned on a vision together. So it's important to talk at the very beginning what everyone is hoping to get out of the project. If you aren't aligned it can be frustrating.

Doing a retrospective, where you talk about what went well and what could be improved, is also a great way to learn from a project.


Thanks so much to everyone in this great community for your support. I hope one of these is helpful to someone. Best of luck and happy game development to everyone in 2023!

If you want to follow my stuff next year:

And my awesome collaborators:

Thank you!

Thank you so much for playing!

We had the EXACT same idea for LD51! A curse that makes you reset every 10 seconds, you can't change the world state, you need to collect knowledge to find the perfect final sequence to win. 

This is a far, far superior execution of the idea than mine though, bravo! Very inspirational, I hope to be able to make games as good as yours one day!

I totally agree...we had set a goal of getting the game out in a month and ran out of time. This was high on our list of follow ups. Thank you so much for playing!

So cool that this popped up in my updates...I participated in this Ludum Dare, it was one of my first ever. And I remember playing and loving your game! Crazy that we are both still making games. This made me so happy to see.

Fun art and theme, reminds me of a Kirby Epic Yarn Demake. Nice job doing another jam!

Haha thanks! I thought to myself, "How can I have a BIG ending?" And well...I took it literally.

Thank you so much for playing!

Yeah...that was a feature that didn't quite get cut and didn't quite get fleshed out. I think next step would have been to at least add a coin collect SFX and a counter, and after that maybe a high school with a bonus if you find them all. But ran out of time.

This is the most gameboy-ish game I've played so far. The points countdown at the end of each level (complete with gameboy SFX) really put it over the top!

Wow this is great info. I aspire to do better in jams myself - would you be willing to share what your plan looked like? I should do this!

Yeah I didn't really like the controller mapping either but ran out of time. I like the hopping out of pots idea too. Thank you so much for taking the time to play!

(Does a double take) You did this game all by yourself?!

Haha, thank you so much for playing!

Wow, I am completely blown away by this! I have always loved the idea of a medieval shmup on foot. The music is great, the gameplay is fun and balanced, the intro storyboards looks awesome, and it's so sad when you lose a party member. What could be better? Probably nothing. Congrats!

This was fun! You pack in a lot of atmosphere with very few art assets. Nice work.

This is fun! Interesting design decision to have the attacks automatic. This had the effect of making it almost feel like a shmup. And when that second soundtrack kicks in...oh BABY. Well done!

Pretty fun! Thank goodness they all have such narrow tunnel vision!

Wow thank you so much for playing and the kind words!

Looks great, TMNT or Batman for NES vibe! Thank you so much for sharing 

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Yeah thanks! There is so much more we’d eventually like to add 🙃 Thank you so much for playing! 🙏 

Thank you so much! The final boss wouldn't have the same punch without the amazing music!

We used one of your tracks in our game Venator and added your studio name as a credit. Thank you so much!

Link to the game here:

This game is super authentic! I love it

This made me laugh! Amazing writing. I loved the intro text.

Will there ever be a Mac version? I would LOVE to play this but I only have a mac :-(

This is awesome. Amazing visuals! Since this is an LD game, can we get the source code anywhere?

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Hi everyone, I'm Pandamander, a former game designer at EA and indie game developer. I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone in the community!

Some background: My 2022 New Years Resolution is to make a game every month, and we just released our February game. In the past I worked on an indie game for way too long (multiple years) without shipping anything before eventually cancelling it. So to remedy this and level up my end-to-end game dev skills, I'm focusing on shipping quickly as a way to learn and improve. This is the exact advice that I give to students when they ask me about how to get into the games industry, so I am taking some of my own medicine!

In January 2022 I shipped a unofficial tribute game to one of my favorite music artists. For February 2022 I teamed up with Coopal00ps to make "O Kraken My Kraken", a little platformer on the high seas. The name is a play on the poem by Walt Whitman, O Captain My Captain!

From the description:

The year was 1690. Captain Jules was on his final voyage to close out a lucrative 40-year career as a pirate on the high seas. He longed to return home to spend his final years at peace with his daughter and grandchild. "Mates, this be the last one for me," he said with a grin as he sipped his rum.

Little did he know how right he would be...Will Captain Jules be able to recover all of his treasure before the ship goes down?

It's free for PC and Mac and is probably about a 5-10 minute short game. We are pretty proud of it, though we have a lot to improve. The tentacles and water came out pretty well. Hope you all like it!

For March 2022 we are working on a WaveRace 64 inspired 2D game. Stay tuned!

Cool music!! Heart pounding