Ask HN: Any solo game developers here?

171 points by YesBox 5 days ago

Hey HN,

I'm a full time game developer nine months into creating my city builder game. It's a lonely journey so I put together a very small group of other solo game developers.

We meet up every week (currently Tuesday nights, EST) to relate to the struggle, hang out, and rotate one person who presents for the night (they can teach or talk about anything game dev related, including their game). It's been a success and motivating for all involved.

I'm looking to add 1-2 people to the group who can commit to (preferably) weekly or bi-weekly meetups. I have a strong preference for other full time developers. Must be serious about finishing/releasing your game.

About the group:

We are late 20s - 30s and serious about releasing our respective games. We are pretty open and honest with each other, and will question each other/provide feedback freely.

Email is in profile

lijogdfljk 5 days ago

I might be interested, but this group sounds too "serious" for me. Ie i'm serious, but i have a full time job, and i'm obsessive so i'm yakshaving the foundations of my projects. I'm less concerned with the final game, and more concerned with building a platform that helps me efficiently create.

While the game is my goal, i focus on the platform because i feel solo devs have a ton of overhead. I figure if i can optimize my the creative aspects of my work i will have better long term success. Point being, i am interested in this space but not in pushing X game out the door asap. I expect my first/second/third/etc games to be failures, stepping stones. I'm here for the journey. With an eye on burnout.

So i suspect my approach may not be focused enough for your group. As right not i'm working on archival and automation of creative pipelines moreso than games.

  • YesBox 5 days ago

    Seems like a lot of people like your approach, so I'll clarify. I am focused on releasing my game because I want to continue working for myself and having the opportunity to choose/direct my creativity every single day.

    The journey is important, you'll probably have a hard time making it in this industry and/or burn out if you aren't deriving joy from the day to day work.

    For me, not releasing my game ASAP is not an option. I'm living off of my savings. That's why I prefer other full time devs because survival mode is very different than safe mode. (I feel 10 times more alive. Not sure how others feel).

    Anyways, Im mostly responding to encourage you to create your own group because there seems to be a lot of people who are in the same boat as you. I have to say, meeting up with people every week who share the same drive/passion as I do is a great experience.

    • lijogdfljk 5 days ago

      Haha, i'm pretty sure the stress of that would kill me. But i hope it works for you. Best wishes :)

    • allenu 5 days ago

      > For me, not releasing my game ASAP is not an option. I'm living off of my savings. That's why I prefer other full time devs because survival mode is very different than safe mode.

      I think you have the right mindset here, so you will probably be successful in actually shipping. Kudos to you. Looking for another person with that mindset for your group, I think, is the right one.

      I'm not a game developer by the way, but I am doing the solo indie dev thing, as of a few months ago. I think a lot of people who are dabbling in game dev or indie dev, like the idea of one day doing something with it, but what they really enjoy is the craftsmanship of building an engine, setting up their tooling, creating a process, etc. In my opinion, that's fun, but it doesn't really get you closer to shipping code and seeing what the market likes or dislikes. No disrespect to anyone who likes that aspect, but I think it's way different from actually needing to ship a product.

      So yeah, if you ended up including tinkerers in your group, I can see how that would change the nature of the conversations.

  • hypertele-Xii 5 days ago

    > While the game is my goal, i focus on the platform because i feel solo devs have a ton of overhead. I figure if i can optimize my the creative aspects of my work i will have better long term success.

    I've been researching solo game dev for decades now, and that definitely mirrors my conclusions so far.

    Just keep the end goal in mind and don't reinvent the wheel, unless you desire a career in wheel engineering. While you're working on your stuff, remember that others are also working on their stuff, and a lot of useful things are shared freely and continually popping up new.

    Have the courage to recycle your ideas, and the ruthlessness to streamline your development process. Going solo is all about coming to terms with your limitations, and building solutions to work around them. Maximize the impact of work you like doing, while minimizing the necessity of work you don't. Sacrifice your creative vision until only the core remains. Resist the creeping scope of scaling it up, but also keep firm in your artistic requirements. Keep your "must haves" short, solve the hard problems first, manage your expectations, and above all be stubborn enough to tread through it.

    • boredtofears 5 days ago

      This is pretty much exactly why I (as a complete hobbyist) ended up with Godot. I spent two years writing things from scratch in various languages and lots of time Yak-shaving. The experience itself was worth something, but I don't really have a lot to show for it. I don't love godot - but it's far beyond anything I'll be able to accomplish on my own as a hobbyist.

      I find art to be the most limiting factor at this point. I'm not a great artist (what I can do takes a painstaking long time to finish) and it's hard to satisfy a creative vision with free art assets.

      • lijogdfljk 5 days ago

        For context, i don't suspect Godot has too much of what i'm focusing on built in. Versioning of my assets, build pipelines for asset source to optimize it or generate variations of it (2D images, renders, etc), generate configuration of available assets for use in game, etc.

        Though i am purposefully using Rust, so even if Godot did it's a bit more awkward. There are Rust libs for Godot, though i'm not entirely sold on the libs quite yet.

        My basic thought process is never do anything more than once for the creative work. If i can't find a way to keep overhead obscenely low then long term i will drown in one-offs.

        I think the same way with game code. A heavy emphasis on testing, integration testing, etc. I don't have the time to Q&A for all possible regressions, so i have to ensure i do everything i can to make the engine very testable.

        Minimizing repeat work is my goal with everything. Also insanely stable builds, i suppose. Ie i don't want a change in an asset to break historic builds or source. My source is tied to the assets at that time. etcetc

        edit: And to be clear, i'm not writing a game engine myself. I'm using Bevy atm.

      • verteu 5 days ago

        Have you tried Upwork/Fiverr/Behance/Dribbble? In my experience you can get decent art for quite cheap.

        • thn-gap 5 days ago

          Depending on what kind of art you need, Midjourney or similar models are becoming a more visible option for solo gamedevs to make decent art cheaply.

          • meheleventyone 5 days ago

            The problem with ML art outside of concepting (and even then) is repeatability of scene elements. If you’re illustrating a children’s book you usually want each illustration to keep the characters and scenes consistent. The same is mostly true for game art and concepts.

  • mrandish 5 days ago

    > "i'm obsessive so i'm yakshaving the foundations of my projects."

    As an aside, an indie developer should make a literal yakshaving game. Just because.

    (extra credit for an Ultra setting which squanders GPU power on ridiculously high-fidelity fur simulation)

  • sershe 3 days ago

    We should create a group for developers who will never finish their game.

    I also work full time and also have other hobbies, plus I really don't get motivated by the proper process of developing a series of games with growing complexity, so instead I keep designing my dream game as I'm working on it. So, I dunno if I will ever finish. But hey, if I wasn't chipping away at it I would probably just be playing more games instead, so why not?

    My wife actually suggested I join some group, but I suspected the exact feelings the OP has - serious developers rightfully would not want me in a group :) Maybe there's potential in a hobby-slacker group :)

  • parentheses 5 days ago

    I agree with this mentality. I have always believed dev journeys are what excite me - not dev destinations.

    I don’t think I’m in a small minority despite the vast amounts of literature (on HN) mostly that is about the destination alone.

  • otachack 5 days ago

    I wouldn't look at this as "serious" but more as a light accountability structure. You can only hold yourself accountable for so much, having a team that has your back and a way to vent or rubber duck against can help your project progress. And no one is going to demote you or shame you. If they do, just leave the group!

  • olivierva 5 days ago

    That's exactly what I do, don't mind hanging out once a week if you're up for it

  • lovehashbrowns 5 days ago

    I’m in the same boat! I just started my journey maybe two weeks ago but it’s been rough with a full time job and having just moved. Seems this group would be too “serious” for me as well.

  • wccrawford 5 days ago

    Same here! I'm "serious" about making a game, but I don't devote enough time to it yet to be considered "serious" by their metrics.

    And that probably means I'm not a good fit for the group, but it feels dismissive to tell me that way.

alberth 5 days ago

https://itch.io

Itch is a great indie game community where individual developers are easily share/sell their games.

psahgal 5 days ago

I took 3 months off last year to get a game project finished up and released to Steam! Glad to see other indie developers here on Hacker News. I can't commit to weekly meetups, since I'm back at my job full-time, but I wish you the best of luck on your game!

aranarquelion 5 days ago

Semi off-topic (?), but I'm a developer and researcher working on moving into game audio and composition. This may or may not be amenable to solo devs (depending on where you feel game resources fall), but I'm looking for games to produce audio/music for so I can gain more experience! Some composition examples are on my SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/superlumic. Can also provide some small demos including actual gameplay.

Also, for non-solo folks, I have some game programming experience and am comfortable implementing audio [or figuring it out on platforms I haven't used] and would be happy to chat about possible collaborations. :) Email in profile.

gmjosack 5 days ago

I don't know if I'm what you're looking for but I recently quit my job to take some time and work on projects for myself. I've budgeted at least a year to see how things go. I've spent the last 20 years in the web space and honestly tired of it.

I've spent a lot of time adjacent to games in my free time, doing reversing/modding/speedrunning tools. I'm currently learning Godot and plan to jump into development hard next week working on a rogue-like platformer, in a similar vein to Spelunky.

amerine 5 days ago

FWIW, the programming section on twitch often has solo devs working away on projects. You should check that out too.

  • cableshaft 5 days ago

    What's the best tag to set if you're streaming your development on Twitch? I think I used Science and Technology the few times I did, but maybe that's not the best one. Been meaning to get back into doing that again.

    • yesthisiswes 5 days ago

      There is a category called Software and Game Development on Twitch now. It’s more focused than when everything was in Science and Technology. I watch PirateSoftware stream about their game heartbound on there it’s pretty cool.

andrewmcwatters 5 days ago

I own Planimeter. We publish Planimeter Game Engine 2D, which was previously called Grid Engine 9.[1]

I spend a lot of time thinking about how independent developers can better spend their time. A lot of developers get caught up in design documents, or thinking about how they want to make a game, but not seriously understanding how many hours a week you need to commit to a project and over how many years.

As a rule of thumb, about 20 hours a week over a period of multiple years dedicated to a single project seems to bisect game developers into categories of those who are productive and those who aren't.

We have had conversations with different developers in communities, like LÖVE's, for instance:

Surprisingly, many developers aren't interested in serious commercial efforts. A lot of them fixate over matters that don't make significant product impact. As an example, there's some sort of "ECS" fad going on right now. Years ago there was some sort of "push/pop game state" fad.

Professional game engines aren't built this way, so I have no idea where these fads originate from.

We are a group of former Source Engine contractors, game technology developers, and designers. We have written some articles on embedding Lua, multiplayer game networking, and introducing a CSS 2.1 compositor into game engines, among other things.

I'm interested in having conversations with other game developers, and as a like to have, we love talking with those who have written significant pieces of software in the open source community.

As a crude ballpark, a measure of "significant" might be any repository with over 75 stars, or development of a technique that is novel in game software, etc.[2]

[1]: https://github.com/Planimeter/game-engine-2d

[2]: https://github.com/andrewmcwattersandco/github-statistics

  • cupofpython 5 days ago

    Could you give me some advice on a related problem I have?

    I want to make a "game" which is more of a game environment sandbox. something kind of in-between game engines and actual games. I want to be able to create the feel of different game types like FPS, RTS, top-down adventure, side scroller, whatever - within a certain set of consistencies of my choosing. Like something to toy with different ideas for game mechanics in different settings while not needing to explicitly manage things like what a wall or door is each time i change things (things that would be defined as part of me creating the "game"). I want to be able to invite a friend into test environments as well (so multiplayer needed). I am expecting to need to make edits to the game mechanics outside of the game, possibly even through adding extensions to whatever game engine i use - so i will not be looking to set up a UI for tweaking settings. Just something that makes it easy to make changes to how the game functions, easy to spin up a dedicated server to run an instance of the created game environment, easy for another person to join that environment.

    Advice needed is: is this scope feasible for 1 person and what game engine should I look into for trying it out? I am not trying to do anything particularly fancy; no overall game design, no story, minimal amount of textures and assets. Literally just an environment to toy with game mechanics.

    I understand there is so much below the surface of what I am trying to do that I dont understand, i.e. I have seen an example for all the decisions that need to be made about doors, how interactions work, size, how changes are managed (this door, or all doors?) etc.

    Basically, I am not trying to send my friend a new .exe everytime I make a change to a game mechanic - since that's expected to happen a lot as the primary use-case for the thing. If I add assets, then yeah - although ive seen games have the ability to download assets when connecting to the server, so maybe not even that. Ideally, I'll have a fixed set of assets that cover everything of interest, and the way they are rendered and the multiplayer networking and all will be consistent throughout.

    hopefully this all makes sense

    • andrewmcwatters 5 days ago

      > Advice needed is: is this scope feasible for 1 person and what game engine should I look into for trying it out? I am not trying to do anything particularly fancy; no overall game design, no story, minimal amount of textures and assets. Literally just an environment to toy with game mechanics.

      To answer your question more directly, we have not seen the engineering, design, and marketing skills required to do this widely available in the market, or open source space. We know of a small handful of people in the world who have the combined knowledge to do it, but none of them are working on such a product except for some of the engineers at Facepunch and Planimeter.

      One person can absolutely do it, but statistically we haven't seen it.

      It requires you to primarily have an exceptional background in general software development, game networking, embedding scripting languages, user-interface design, and marketing (if you actually want people to use your product/play with your software).

      The guys that I know of who have the skillset to do this are all working for studios.

    • reidjs 5 days ago

      This is why I’m making an html5 game, they just go to the URL which is the most recent version of the game.

      • cupofpython 5 days ago

        this was my next step. webassembly? what engine are you using, and do you still need to code the multiplayer networking yourself?

    • andrewmcwatters 5 days ago

      At Planimeter, we're doing this internally with a game product called Planimeter Game Sandbox. Over a decade ago, under a different team name, we published an open source game called Half-Life 2: Sandbox. It was closer to a game than a game sandbox, which I would, like you, categorize as different than a game engine or a standalone game.

      But the idea is the same. We see that there is a market for developers who want to play with game software, they don't want to publish a full blown game. We do want to provide a hatch for them for when they want to graduate to creating a standalone product, and that's what Planimeter Game Engine 2D is for.

      So we provide abstractions like game modes, and the ability to send game mode code over to people connecting to a server who don't have it installed.

      And so that developers can work on the game mode as it is being played with friends, the game engine includes live reloadable assets and real-time scripting.

      Is this feasible for one person? I mostly built the game software over a decade with other volunteers from Planimeter.

      I suspect we don't have many products like this in this space because most game developers aren't successful in simultaneously creating their products with a very focused scope and marketing them through discussions like we're having here now. It's literally just a constant function of engineering labor and time spent on sites looking to help people out.

      It makes sense. It's what we've been trying to do for years. There are basically no products on the market that do what you and I are looking for, and my team has slowly been trying to build it up.

      We have some internal projects where we have spent time looking into other game engines besides our own to see if we could move faster on established products while minimizing risk, but the landscape is amazingly poor.

      For example, Unreal Engine doesn't have a fixed timestep, and its entire networking model since the late 90s, early-2000s was one based on the premise that connected clients are approximations. This is a hard departure from, say, the Quake-family of engines or engines that are designed similarly.

      Believe it or not, for reasons like this, Unity is probably more appropriate for games like first-person shooters as a result. Larger studios have to jump through significant hoops to get Unreal to behave properly in common FPS scenarios, which is a technical reason why players report poor "netcode" in Unreal Engine games. You can't create reliable replicable states in UE 4 or 5.

      While Unreal has some rudimentary networking out of the box, as far as we understand, Unity has issues with not providing multiplayer out of the box essentially at all? It's been some time since I've looked into it. Anyway, we expected more from the larger two institutions.

      Godot also doesn't provide multiplayer out of the box, you have to write it all yourself with some bare bones abstractions you are provided, but they barely built on enet itself.

      So ideally you and I would have access to a 2D or 3D engine that had multiplayer out of the box, could write game mode code that was networked to connecting clients even if they didn't have the game mode, and allow them to download assets they were missing as well. And while you were playing the game, had the ability to change the game code on the fly and send it to clients so you could develop and play test in real-time.

      It doesn't exist as far as we know. Garry's Mod, Half-Life 2: Sandbox, and Planimeter Game Engine 2D are the only products I'm aware of that allow you to do this, and two of them are Source Engine games/mods.

      I'm surprised it's considered a niche, but a lot of people seem to like the game engine with UI design thing over game software with robust multiplayer and live reloading.

      Worst yet, a lot of amateur game developers don't seem to think multiplayer is important, or they think games vary widely in networking implementation. They really don't.

      I hope more game software comes out with "game sandbox"-like features, because we didn't want to be the ones building it 11-12 years ago, but Planimeter and Facepunch seem to be the only orgs doing it.

      If you have found some other software like this, though, I'd love to hear about it.

      • cupofpython 5 days ago

        >we have spent time looking into other game engines besides our own to see if we could move faster on established products while minimizing risk, but the landscape is amazingly poor.

        i hadnt done a real deep dive yet, but from introductory readings on a few engines this was my impression too on what we are looking for in general. Glad to know im not the only one to feel it.

        >So ideally you and I would have access to a 2D or 3D engine that had multiplayer out of the box, could write game mode code that was networked to connecting clients even if they didn't have the game mode, and allow them to download assets they were missing as well. And while you were playing the game, had the ability to change the game code on the fly and send it to clients so you could develop and play test in real-time.

        Yeah pretty much, though the last part would be icing - restarting the game / reconnecting to the server in response to anything more than parameter tweaks is okay. just really want to avoid excessive manual file management

        >If you have found some other software like this, though, I'd love to hear about it.

        I wish. If there are, then they dont support 3D PC games, because my search has been limited to that.

        given how long ago garysmod was, i would be very surprised if no one has tackled those principles from the game engine standpoint already. I'm guessing any team that prioritized multiplayer sandboxing in building the game engine must have made the engine propriety and built a game studio around it.

        Is Planimeter Game Sandbox something I can check out? or is that more of a target and Planimeter Game Engine 2D is the current iteration?

        My next research step for myself was going to be to look at the tools in the WebAssembly ecosystem

        • andrewmcwatters 5 days ago

          I am happy to send you an internal build. It's an unreleased product on Steam.

          Edit: It's probably just easier to mark our private repository as public for today. It contains copyrighted material as well as some assets from commercial games we use for internal testing so I'm essentially leaking an internal codebase, but we just don't have enough eyeballs on this for it to matter. I'll mark it private by the end of the day.

          Keep in mind the main branch is probably broken from our experiments with uplifting the UI to use Yoga. CSS 2.1 and Flexbox are on the product backlog, but I may end up ditching Yoga since it's becoming too much of an engineering time drain. Feel free to git bisect it until you find the working commit. My apologies.

          That being said, the Planimeter/game-engine-2d repository is only a few major features behind this branch.

          https://github.com/Planimeter/gridsandbox

          • cupofpython 5 days ago

            thats awesome, i appreciate it. im mostly just going to poke around to gauge level of effort, update my internal checklist on things that need to be accounted for and such. also make sure i dont try to reinvent a wheel youre already building. Will be following you guys for sure. maybe ill get competent enough to contribute, but my skill level is more towards making use of a game engine than building one at the moment

  • hpx7 5 days ago

    Hi there! I started a company this year focused on multiplayer server infrastructure. We also built a multiplayer game framework for Typescript that has gotten 400+ stars on Github in the past few months: https://github.com/hathora/hathora

    Would love to connect and exchange notes about multiplayer development -- if you're interested, my email is on my profile.

    • andrewmcwatters 5 days ago

      I have watched your company build up this tech for a little while now, I suspect there are realistically really only handful of us in game software who really know this stuff inside and out and who are contributing back their knowledge.

      Thanks for dropping a reply on HN.

      I can be reached at andrew at andrewmcwatters.com. I'll shoot you an email.

  • edf13 5 days ago

    Links on your README to getting started and docs are 404

    • andrewmcwatters 5 days ago

      Thanks, we're moving to a new documentation site. So the GitHub wiki, where the documentation pages are stored and read from is our fallback at the moment.

vrartdude 5 days ago

Hey, I'm in. I'm making a skating game set in Palestine, with a small team of unpaid volunteers. We're trying to go after funding. Imagine a combination of Jet Set Radio, Arabic electronic, and an Adult Swim treatment of Palestinian history (banksy did something similar at his hotel in Palestine, the Walled Off Hotel)

https://bit.ly/psgproto1

https://bit.ly/psgassets1

15charslong 4 days ago

Wish you all the best on completing your city builder game!

Last year I started my own indie studio. [1] The game I have released right now, is an interactive fiction game. Its pretty short - just 15 minutes. I originally created it because I wanted to release a game jam project I had been working on. A first person 3D adventure set in a retro inspired world that was evolving as you played. I ran into a lot of problems because I realized I architect-ed the game poorly in Godot.

But thankfully messing around in Godot leveled up my skills there, so I've been hard at work on a new game. I am trying to launch it right on steam. I'm not really ready to show this one off to the public just yet.

Its honestly been pretty challenging doing all this by myself, I've been trying to release a commercial-grade game since I was maybe like 12 (I am now in my late 20s).

For the other solo developers in this thread, its absolutely hard, but don't burn yourself out, and don't forget about the world around you. Its tempting to pour every single waking moment into your work. Sometimes taking a step back is enough to solve that issue you've been having in your game's logic.

[1] For the Heart, For the Soul - https://heartsoulgames.itch.io/

jokoon 5 days ago

Yes, I'm interested in writing a game centered on non-voxel procedural generation, in an single open world, online, in low poly, with networking split on multiple servers per square area, to allow creators to submit their content for some sort of theme park for players.

I've learned a lot, but being solo is a massive obstacle for motivation and funding.

I guess there are a lot of wannabee game developers like me.

opyate 5 days ago

Howdy, here are a bunch of communities that I shoot the gamedev breeze with asynchronously:

- https://twitter.com/IndieLegion

- https://howtomarketagame.com/ Discord

- https://twitter.com/gamediscoverco Plus subscription's Discord

- Godot Engine's Discord

I've connected more deeply with some of the folks I've met on there, so it hasn't felt lonely at all.

I'm also doing an indie dev masters via Falmouth, and my cohort meet up weekly (and we have a Discord for daily chatter), and it's a great community, but I'm not sure if that will last past graduation in a few weeks.

(I'm on the marketing video super cringe)

https://www.falmouth.ac.uk/study/online/postgraduate/indie-g...

levmiseri 5 days ago

Not a full-time developer, but I have been struggling with developing my first game a lot as a side project next to a regular day-job. It's already in a kind-of beta state (https://yare.io), but still far from finished and would love to be part of such group!

  • Trasmatta 5 days ago

    Hey, I've had my eye on your game for awhile! To be honest it's really similar to ideas I've had in the past. I've always like the idea of programming based games, but I've found I no longer have the energy for them outside of work.

cloudmike 5 days ago

This is a good idea. Thanks for posting about it.

It does get lonely. I'm a former YC founder and I left Apple earlier this year to be a solo game dev. Making games (compared to apps or tools) is especially hard because "fun" is so nebulous that "make something people want" is a blurry goal at best.

I also work on my own tools and I'm using them to build the game. I'm very interested in tools that help a very small but talented team (1-4 people) build ambitious games more successfully.

I post progress here if anyone's interested: http://twitter.com/kineticpoet

nickflw 4 days ago

I don't know if this might interest you but if you have a browser-based game my cousin is a PM at https://www.sportsbook-software.com and they're looking for basically anything that can be monetized using a stake/rewards model, eg if you can add a game room to your game with support for small transactions you'll be making a killing.

k__ 5 days ago

Half-OT:

Anyone got pointers to game engines for solo devs?

Something to get 2D multiplayer games out of the door quickly.

  • qikInNdOutReply 5 days ago

    For rts games, i recommend the spring-engine. Its kind of date visually, but the core multiplayer tech is rock solid.

    There is a fresh fork developed by the team behind https://www.beyondallreason.info/ and they are working on performance improvements. In addition, you get the whole infrastructure developed by that team for free (Server tech, matchmaking, map editors etc.)

    Its hyper specialized on RTS though. Dont try to make a jump and run with it. Although they tried: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1D295mRqdE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNGe4KTdVN4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FnmQUgR5RQ

    Ludum Dares are pretty hard core engine tests, as in can you iterrate, pivot and check wether its fun quickly. Unwieldy beasts do not survive that.

  • psahgal 5 days ago

    Unity and Godot are the most popular choices, based on my time spent hanging out with other indie developers. If your game is a 2D RPG, RPG Maker is also a great way to get started. You can also use GameMaker if Unity and Godot seem intimidating.

  • savanaly 5 days ago

    Hard to say without knowing what kind of game you want to make. I would say look to the games you play that inspire you and to which you aspire to make, then look up what engine they use. For instance, I really like Nuclear Throne and might some day try to make something similar. If I did I would use GameMaker since that's what they used and thus it can probably let you do a lot of what I liked about that game with ease, such as the ultra-juicy hit feedback.

    If on the other hand you like Slime Rancher, well it uses Unity and probably that would be a better choice than GameMaker for that kind of game.

    I also second Godot though, which is not widely used by many projects but seems awesome to me and totally capable of moving a 2d game out the door quickly.

  • tomtheelder 5 days ago

    If your priority is shipping it, and it's multiplayer, then Unity 100%. I don't actually really like Unity, but it's definitely battle tested enough to ensure that you can do everything you need with it. GameMaker is a reasonable choice as well, I just wouldn't be as confident with their networking stuff. Would recommend against Godot. In my experience you end up spending more time fighting the engine than developing your game.

    Just my personal thoughts though, others will have had different experiences.

  • throwaway743 5 days ago

    If you're looking for something where you don't need to worry about licensing fees and is good for 2D, checkout Godot. The language used is also very close to python syntax which is nice

  • otikik 5 days ago

    Let's set up some expectations first.

    Games almost never "get out of the door quickly", with very few exceptions.

    That goes multiple for multiplayer games.

    What you might be able to produce quickly is prototypes. "A moving rectangle which shoots circles" - kind of thing. That is a super power, don't underestimate it.

    LÖVE is a nice game engine, I used it a lot in the past, mostly for personal stuff. And released some open source libraries in the process.

    • onlyrealcuzzo 5 days ago

      LÖVE is great - but are there any good engines / libraries built on-top of LÖVE that make it easier to create certain 2D games?

      I.E.

      A top-down tile-based extension? Ideally just an integration with some existing 2D tile map editor.

      Or an isometric extension?

      Or a side-scrolling extension with gravity and parallax and a tile map, etc?

      When I tried LÖVE years ago, it seemed like there was a little bit of engine-building before you could really start making a game. Like figuring out how to do the rendering and tiling and jumping between scenes/rooms, etc

      • otikik 5 days ago

        You may find some examples in the forum and wiki, but they are community-(un)maintained. There's no guarantees that everything will work and be up-to-date with the most recent versions of the engine (I have not maintained mine, for once). A lot of people are attracted by the minimalism and the DIY approach, but I understand that's not for everyone.

        If you are looking for a more "batteries included" approach, then probably Unity (with its plugins on the Asset store) would probably be a better fit.

  • andrewmcwatters 5 days ago

    Maybe consider https://github.com/Planimeter/game-engine-2d? We have multiplayer with client-side prediction out of the box. Example code is included to demonstrate the ease of networking entity fields, and there is an included payload abstraction for creating networked events.

    You can set the tick rate for your game based on your needs as well. And prediction is robust, supporting exceptional packet loss and smoothing over latency concerns for player movement.

    Even Godot doesn't support multiplayer networking out of the box: you have to write it yourself.

    • meheleventyone 5 days ago

      FWIW Godot has had multiplayer support for a while. Albeit without some of the elements you include built in.

      https://docs.godotengine.org/en/stable/tutorials/networking/...

      • cridenour 5 days ago

        I think Godot 4.0's new multiplayer nodes get closer to what they're promising but even then, you still have to write some code around it to use it.

        I prefer Godot's approach but it's not as ready to go as they're describing.

  • Kivutar 5 days ago

    I'm using love2d, which is good if you want to see only code, no graphical interface.

    • mephos 5 days ago

      I always love to see Love2d mentioned. Love2d + Lua were my introduction to game programming, and really helped me catch the "bug" for game dev.

      It's a very great framework for learning the basics but will require extra work for a polished end result. The forums and documentation are a solid place to start! https://love2d.org

    • wsc981 5 days ago

      I also use LÖVE 2D. I like it as well (just use Sublime Text for dev, don’t need IDE), but I would guess it’s slower to get results compared to Unity.

    • zerr 5 days ago

      Another code-only way is Flutter.

  • hpx7 5 days ago

    If you're interested in using web technologies for your game, you may find the framework I've been working on to be interesting: https://docs.hathora.dev/#/

    I've had success using it as the backend+networking stack in conjunction with game UI tools like Phaser and Pixi.js.

  • 1ark 3 days ago

    Check out what people are using for Ludum Dare compo.

  • jsyedidia 5 days ago

    ebitengine is "a dead simple 2D game library for Go". I like it.

  • Mikeb85 5 days ago

    Godot, Defold, GameMaker.

amitmathew 5 days ago

Our company is building a community for solo devs and small teams around the Godot game engine. We’re a few months away from launching, but I’d love to hear what indie devs would want in a community and what resources would speed up their development (email is in profile). We’ll have tutorials, game templates, and art assets to that will help people get started. We’re also sponsoring open source plugins and tools for Godot. Let me know if you know of a deserving project to support!

  • cridenour 5 days ago

    Sounds really cool - glad to have you guys in the Godot space.

D3topsy 5 days ago

Been working on various unreal engine projects since ~2016, but always as hobby (already full time @ own company). Managed to get a multiplayer alpha up and running of a prop hunt inspired game, mainly to play with friends (which was a huge blast for a little while).

Tried to convince some fellow colleagues and friends to dive in to indie game dev and make something together, but so far with little success ;)

Would love to meetup with fellow hobbyist's!

atum47 5 days ago

I have like 60% of a game ready, but it's in the fridge while I finish some other projects. I intend to release it on a game console but I don't have the time to work on it right now. As many people here have said, I work a full time job as well. I would like to join, but I don't now if I'll have the time for the meetings.

mmphosis 5 days ago

I am in my late 50s, and don’t take things quite as seriously as I once did. But seriously, I would like to release some games!

zemo 5 days ago

here's a solo game project I just stopped working on, a short puzzle-platformer: https://jordanorelli.itch.io/the-seal

It has a full game loop but is very small. It takes 10-30 minutes to play through depending on how quickly you see through the puzzles. Right now I only have a Windows build :\

I worked on that for a few months full time, but have to get back to earning an income so I'm not working on it at the moment, interviewing instead. I did the game design MFA program at DePaul to find a group of people to learn to make games with, it was a lot of fun. I think without doing a program like that I would have wound up yak shaving in circles and making a bunch of tools instead of ever making any games.

  • astlouis44 5 days ago

    You should do a web build! Is this made with Unity or Unreal?

    • zemo 4 days ago

      it’s Unity with the HDRP render pipeline, which isn’t supported in WebGL.

ccvannorman 5 days ago

I'm a solo game developer! I love working on games in Unity and PlayCanvas. Thanks for starting this thread.

One thing I'm constantly surprised by and grateful for, is the enormous amount a solo dev can do on top of today's stacks and tools. And it's only going to get easier (I hope).

frenchie14 5 days ago

I've been making games (mostly solo) as a hobby for a little over ten years. It's been fun! I'm currently working on a blog post to document every single project I've started

guyhance 5 days ago

Hey I've been developing a game by myself for the past 7 months. Would love to be a part of your community to share ideas and contribute. Thanks!

  • YesBox 5 days ago

    Shoot me an email (in profile)

stuckinhell 5 days ago

Good Luck! I'm interested in game development as a side hobby to bond with my kids. I'd be interested in more of a hobby oriented meetup.

Razengan 5 days ago

I’ve always wanted to make a game ever since I was little but I made the wise decision of trying to make a game engine first :) (in profile)

tomtheelder 5 days ago

Something like this might have saved my game that I burned out on while trying to solo dev during the pandemic. Love the idea!

pornel 5 days ago

If you join devs of Egregoria and A/B Street you can create a support group dedicated to city builders :)

  • YesBox 5 days ago

    Thanks for mentioning those, I havent heard of either