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ritzmax72

Why is solo development looked down upon?

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I see tens of results come up on youtube and other social platform that are very skeptic of solo development. They always discourage the solo dev by saying 

it is too difficult and one should not take risk. I didn't find a single source that encourage solo development. I will not take names, but if someone can do it, some other can do it as well. Having a defeatist mentality that something is very difficult and one should not do it has been in trend lately, not only in the field of game development. What is your opinion? Replies from solo developers would be great! 

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It might be that solo-dev at first glance does not exhibit scale-up promissings.

But other than that, it is absolutely flawless? Ask John Carmack.

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4 hours ago, ritzmax72 said:

I see tens of results come up on youtube and other social platform that are very skeptic of solo development. They always discourage the solo dev by saying 

May be just a unlucky correlation of samples leading to a wrong conclusion.

My impression is more the opposite: Single man made games are rare, but if they look anyhow promising it gets extra reward. Example is recent attention to Russia 2055, an older RTS/FPS mix and a spaceship shooter i forgot the names, and Minecraft ofc. (Unfortunately that's all i can list)

But i also have the impression that 'game developer' is often looked down to in general. 'Lazy ports', 'greedy publishers' and all those arguments typically coming mostly from disappointed PC gamers.

The latter surely is worrying, but personally i think solo / small team development is a promising option to help out here.

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Game development is always hard, and success/completion rates in the hobby sector are always low, now matter if the work is done by a team or by an individual.

For an individual, the biggest problem is loss of motivation along the looooong stretch of time that is required to finish the game.

For a team, the biggest problem is to keep the team together and coordinated and not fall apart due to disagreement and loss of motivation along the looooong stretch of time that is required to finish the game.

So, when you work alone, at least you have one problem less 😁.

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I've developed a game (a voxel RPG in space) basically alone for the last 5 years and I have to say it is indeed very hard to do it successfully. I guess it is not easier with a small team. You basically need money or a very dedicated team if you want to do it seriously.

If it's just a hobby, you can do what you want. Do it alone or find a team, it doesn't really matter, you are unlikely to finish a game either way unless it is very small - it is just too much work to do it as a hobby and you and your teammates will lose interest after a while.

The thing that motivates me the most after that long time is the belief that it may be successful - and I won't give up until it is. If I did it as a hobby, I had quit a long time ago.

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I have been working solo on a project as a hobby for a few years as well as my main job for almost a year now, which means I have experienced two vastly different phases of the same project as a solo dev. These are my thoughts.

It is indeed very difficult to work on a project all by yourself for a long time. The exact reasons why it is difficult varies between people, but I doubt there is anyone who feels it is easy. For me the biggest issue has, perhaps surprisingly, been motivation. As I said, I have worked on this project for many years now during my spare time, and motivation never seemed like an issue for me. I would come home from work and get to work on my own project and feel good about it. When I decided to concentrate on the project full time it never struck me that motivation could be an issue.

However, working alone on a thing for a longer period of time does strange things to your brain (at least it does for me). There have been days when I have known pretty much exactly what to do and how to do it, but still something has been holding me back, draining my energy.

Luckily I still work for my previous employer one week per month. I find that just being around other people gets the creative processes in your head flowing. You might discuss a particular problem with a colleague or friend, and immediately feel like you want to try out a solution.

Obviously you can discuss these things with anyone, your friends, your significant other, etc. but to get the full positive effect you should talk with people who are genuinely interested in what you do. I am currently building a website for my company and project to get the word out there. Obviously I need to do this as part of the marketing I do, but it also helps you tremendously if you know there are people who are actively looking forward to your work.

In closing, I would not discourage anyone from working solo on a project, it is quite liberating. But don't work ALONE on a project. Make sure you have people who are cheering for you, and you'll reach the finish line.

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Some projects have different requirements, and some only require a single person who is a jack-of-all-trades.

Back in the days of the home computers( C64, Apple II and Spectrum ) a single person or "lone wolf" was able to make a small game and get it published. Floppy disks and cassettes were cheap enough for a lone wolf operation and yet as Cartidges and CDs made their entrance, the quality of games sky rocketed not to mention their expense( CD obviously became cheaper over time ).  For those old, limited home computers the game's quality was acceptable, but with the power of carts and CDs players came to expect T2:Judgement Day-level graphics, soundtracks that rivalled Blade Runner and the game to have greater sized levels and content.  Oh, full-motion-video was the big thing too, so one needed a background in music and commerical video broadcasting.

Suddenly that lone wolf was not only fighting the programming but the increasingly complex tools required to create the art, music and game levels - let alone the skill required to produce work to an acceptable standard.  And the tools were not cheap either - for example, one did not have Blender back in those days, and chances are your 3D package would cost a couple of grand.

So, no, the solo-developer was no longer a recommended path.

Thankfully the internet and mobile phones came to the rescue as all most of us need is a "quick fix" rather than a sprawling epic like Command  & Conquer or Skyrim.  Also, Unity and Game Maker arrived to take care of the game engine woes, Digital art software became more affordable and even free in some cases.

And now lone-wolves are a thing once again.  No, they will not make FarCry 5 on their jack jones, but games for mobile or browsers - where the idea is just fun for short sessions - are feasible.

Speaking personally, I'm going it alone on a Myst-style game( ditched Android phones for the Oculus Go...which is technically a glorified Android phone. DOH! ) but I would fancy joining a team to make 3D models just for the experience...

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