Indie Developer Survival Guide: Key Things to Note to Succeed

Mega Cat Studios
4 min readApr 1, 2024

Making it big as an indie dev is a difficult thing. Your games aren’t guaranteed to succeed, you don’t have the marketing presence that big-budget games do, and the products you push out don’t have the gravitas that older franchises have.

Knowing all this, how does an indie dev actually make it in the big leagues? Take note of these important things when starting out! They’re invaluable at making sure you leave your mark.

1) Think Big, Start Small

Keep your dreams in mind when you start, but always take them step-by-step. It’s tempting to rush and make plans to develop the next big RTS or shooter, but even games like Fortnite had to start from somewhere! If even the vaunted Epic Games needed to take it slow, you do too!

Courtesy of Kelly Sikkema

Just take it slow, assess what you want to create, and lay out your plans one by one. You’ll find things easier to manage, and you won’t need to commit until you’re certain your plans will push through.

2) Concrete Goals Over Inaccessible Dreams

When you’ve set your goals, remember to prioritize the ones you can achieve first. Dreaming big is good, but you’ll never reach the stars if you don’t start climbing from rock bottom. Plenty of other developers have tried and failed because they soared too high!

Courtesy of Markus Winkler

Instead of reaching for the sun like Icarus, do it like Daedalus and aim for what you can accomplish. Once you’ve made a name for yourself and have a sizeable following, that’s when your bigger dreams can come true.

3) Adapt; Flexibility is Key!

Failure can strike at any time, but what’s important is knowing what you can learn from it and how you can avoid it in the future. Being flexible might mean giving up on some of your ideas, but learning how to adapt is vital for success.

Courtesy of Brett Jordan

Stubbornness never benefits anyone, and a company lives or dies by how well it can react to the whims and wishes of its audiences. If you want to make it big, learn how to be flexible and cater to your audience!

4) Learn From Your Peers! Make Contacts!

When you’re starting out, be sure to listen to the ones who came before you! Plenty of other independent developers have come and gone, and the lessons they’ve learned are vital to making sure you succeed as well.

Courtesy of Kenny Eliason

There’s also the added benefit of making friends too! Having media and game development contacts will make the future easier, especially if you need to reach out to other people. At the end of the day, relationships with other prominent figures in the industry will only benefit you, and their experience (and advice) may prove vital in the future.

5) Note Your Failures And Successes

When your products are finally released, note how they do and determine whether they failed or succeeded. Failure is temporary, but repeating your mistakes ensures things don’t improve. Likewise, your success might not last, but the things you’ve done to make it happen can carry over if you take note of them.

6) Appreciate Your Fans

Above everything else, be sure to take the time to thank your core audience. These are the people who go out of their way to support you, and without them buying your products, you would have never succeeded.

Courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez

Indie developers live and die by their audience, so never forget to make them feel appreciated! Your fans will remember the developers who appreciate their devotion, and a loyal fan will remember your games to the end.

We at Mega Cat Studios know firsthand the trials and tribulations of an indie developer starting out. If you want to share this experience with us, consider dropping by our LinkedIn page or heading to our website. We’re always looking for passionate, talented indie devs who want to create the best games possible!

This article was written by Alexander Cuaycong.

Originally published at on April 1, 2024.



Mega Cat Studios

Mega Cat Studios is a creative first company based out of Pittsburgh, PA. We love creating games. From retro cartridges to PC & VR, come play with us.