Ok, so the first post in this series was a long post with a lot of "startup" nostalgia, and an overall statement on helping those new to the platform get their game going! We had some great discussion and lots of opinions were thrown around. Since all of this is about opinion...I think that's great! Lets get started on Post 2... In this post, my goal is to help those newbies overcome some of the more intangible decisions. When you start out, it's pretty easy to show up on the forum and ask programming or networking questions, but what about those harder decisions. The ones related to "should I?" rather than "how do I?" - Lets jump right in! Hey, so you've decided to start to make your game. What are the first steps to ACTUAL game design when it's done in the studios, do you follow those closely, which ones will work, and which ones wont for an indie developer. So to start with. Here's a pretty rough flow of how a brand new game with brand new IP gets started in a game studio. 1.) It always begins with the game idea. If you set-out to make a game without an idea for a game then you're doing it backwards. Trust me, it happens. There's plenty of people that start into making games without an idea for one, but with an idea that they want to make one (for money usually). This really doesn't work especially for the inexperienced. Luckily most of the people on these forums have more game ideas than experience making them, so it's not really a problem. 2.) Prototypes. A studio, will take over all game ideas, and they'll start prototyping on paper, the world, the characters, the rules, the technology, the concept art...then they start to transfer some of those individual prototypes on paper into game or tech prototypes of discreet systems. These little tiny disconnected demos are fast to create, answer a lot of questions (and open up a lot of questions) and pave the way. IMPORTANT: Make these prototypes with the FULL intent to throw them away. DO NOT make these with the intent of refactoring them into game logic. That will defeat the whole purpose, and no mater how many times you tell me you "wont" do it...you'll start to invest to much time and energy into it because it "may" eventually become part of the game. 3.) Start Setting Budgets. You need to realistically know what you can spend to make this game, in terms of money AND time. If you're an indie developer or a big studio, this is a great exercise. Budget your time and your cash and decide what your maximums are. 4.) Develop an agile delivery and development plan. Agile iterations save software projects, which include games. You'll love it - start using agile iterative development now...and you'll never turn back. Really understand the concepts. 5.) Finalize a small section of your rules well enough to get started, finalize a small enough cross-section of technology to base your start on, and GO! (this is where 4 comes in, you don't have to finalize it ALL up front) Ok, so now that you're started...now what? Do I really need to do all of these things as an indie? Maybe, maybe not. It depends what your goals are. Do you intend to work for a studio someday? Do you intend on finding a publisher or investment backing at some point, do you intend on hiring other developers and making a real go of it? Then you'll want to get some of these things situated up front, or it can cost you time and money down the road. Ok - so you're happily cooking along, your game is in development, you're happy with your progress, and direction and you feel like your game is finally taking shape...BOOM! You hit your first major impasse... This can be really tough, because you're inexperienced, you're not confident in your ability to answer some of these hard questions correctly, and you may spin your wheels long enough to stall your project. 1.) Develop a decision "timeframe" - You'll research your options for X amount of time, and then you'll pick one and move on. 2.) Decide up front how important the problem is to solve and stick to your core values. Things like "How do we solve floating point precision loss in our world" when you're on your second terrain may be something you'll have to face - but you really don't have to face it right now. IMPORTANT: A lot of people will advise you early on, that making small mistakes can have ripple effects into your game later on and be really hard to fix. They aren't wrong, but there's a major problem with that line of thinking, later on your much better equipped to deal with the problem, you'll have a full scope for the problem, and MOST IMPORTANTLY you may spend months solving a problem up front, and your game changes and it would never have been an issue. Do not let large problems and the fear of making the "best" decision paralyze your ability to move forward. Ok, there's a TON more I could say, but at this point, I'd like to open up these posts for comments. I know I'm going to get varying opinions, and I can appreciate that - so don't hold back. If you're a game maker that has published a game to mainstream channels, please jump in and give advise to your experiences as well. It can only help someone wanting to go that direction.