Put Yourself Out There!
My starting point for this entry is this... I've been a hobbyist type developer for a number of years. I have, at various times, started a project (always on my own) worked on it for a few weeks, then dropped it. Most of the time I would move away from programming entirely in between projects. I never talked about my ideas, got input on my design, or anything like that. In some sense that's fine... until the more recent past I never viewed myself as a game developer, I was just a guy who messed around with code once in awhile. But that said, now that I really am making this a focus in my life, I realize the importance of putting myself out there.
I've been keeping this journal here. This is Entry #4, so its not exactly a huge achievement, admittedly, but its one thing I'm doing. I have a small website with terrible looking screenshots, and I keep a more informal journal there as well. That journal details the game itself and the direction I'm moving in on that game. I've also started attending meetings of my local IGDA chapter, and if I am able to make the time I'd like to catch on with the indie developer community in Boston (the biggest city near me).
The thing is, all these things help me in two ways...
- The first way is obvious... it puts my name out there, it helps me network, meet people, and it gives me additional resources when I'm doubting my design, or I'd like some individual guidance from someone who might have been in my position before. I had some business cards made, and I have a small collection of them from other people.
- The second and less obvious way it helps me is that is pushes me forward. See, when I kept everything to myself I had no real reason to push myself to finish anything. It was just a past-time, nothing more. Now, not only do I have a lot more desire to make progress on my project so that I can show it off, I've also gotten a great deal of encouragement from many different people. It's easy to look at the process of making a game and just despair at the enormity of it all. Having people around you that are going through the same thing is an amazing feeling.