To put it simply: new developers make a lot of mistakes. It kinda comes with the territory of being, well, new. If you’re interested in spotting (and avoiding) some very common newbie pitfalls, have a quick gander at this checklist of what you should absolutely, positively, never ever do. It’s educational, we promise.

Don’t build an MMO

If you’re relatively new to game development, chances are that you’re not going to be able to match the efforts of dozens of industry veterans equipped with the latest in computer and networking hardware, slaving away 24/7 in a market where all but the most high-profile games are constantly running the risk of fading into obscurity and bankruptcy. Point made yet?

Look, it may be fashionable, but don’t launch yourself into a behemoth just yet. This advice applies to MMOs, projects of technical wizardry, and Fallout 3 clones. Sure, you may think that you have the time and dedication required. But consult the following professional-looking graph first:


Don’t try this one at home, kids.

Don’t go hardcore

This piece of advice is the bugger that has to be reinforced the most often. People will leap into C++, 3D, machine-level assembly coding, and those abstract DOS tools that nobody really uses anymore unless they’re trying to prove a point (you know the kind) and then produce… well, nothing. They’ve found themselves so caught up in all the little intricacies, that they’re actually struggling to make a product.

There is definitely an argument for using these sorts of tools: it’s a learning experience, to be sure, and the mad rep you get from it will certainly earn the respect of your Grove Street homies. But it’s not the route that you go down if you want to produce results. And if you think that coding 3D geometry from the ground up is cool, remember Einstein’s famous words:


Don’t hide

When you show your game to people, they’re going to give you feedback. Not all of it is going to litter your path with rose petals and chocolate bunnies, so you must accept that your game is going to be picked apart at some point. Even the best devs out there still receive crits for the projects that they make – you’re no exception.

waldoAlso, while idea theft is a sad, sad reality in the world of game development (particularly in the more mainstream areas, where legal things like NDAs suddenly become very important), chances are that it’ll probably not happen to you. Seriously: if you have a cool little idea and post it on a small forum somewhere, there is a very, very low possibility that somebody is going to be a dedicated enough dick to go ahead and sweep your idea from under your feet. Stop worrying.

In conclusion: just relax a little more with your game creation! When you’re a beginner, there’s no shame in doing beginner’s stuff. You’ll learn faster, better, and with a great deal more enjoyment. We promise.