I recently came across a video on Youtube titled “Can you develop games as a hobby after work?” which caught my curiosity and so i decided to give the video a watch. For the next 10 minutes of my life i was watching someone cooking breakfast, working out and walking his dog and thought the video overall was a bit pointless because it fails to explain the true reality of what’s involved in building a game as a hobby on a part-time basis. As someone who spent 2.5 years building an action platformer mobile game i can tell you that there is a ton of work that needs to go into building a good quality game so the real question you should be asking is yourself “Should i develop a game as hobby after work?”. There are thousands of developers out there building games as a hobby after work and most of those developers probably never end up completing their project because they become overwhelmed with the workload or they lose focus and want to move onto something else…trust me there were days when i felt like calling it quits on my game project.

If you’re just a hobbyist who wants to dabble around with making games after work then go ahead and try it out…you might discover that building games is something you want to pursue further and possibly turn that hobby into a real career. Keep in mind though that developing a game isn’t anything like learning how to play a guitar – game dev requires a deep understanding of system architecture design amongst many other things. If you’re a seasoned developer however who already has experience building games then consider the fact that creating a game on a part-time basis will consume a lot of your time and energy at which point you should ask yourself “Should i do this?” and am i committed to seeing the project through to completion?

Either way if you are going to develop games on part-time basis try to determine if you can make the game entirely on your own of if you need external help to complete the project. In my case i needed a few talented pixel artists to create the artwork and animations for my game and an audio artist to create the game soundtrack…all in total that cost me around $17k US paid for entirely out of my own pocket using my full-time income.

Here is a list of things you should consider when developing a game:

  1. Identify your strongest skillset(s) and determine if you should outsource the rest of the skills required to complete your game to more qualified individuals.
  2. Define the scope of the game you want to build. Hyper casual games have shorter development times compared to bigger games such as action platformers or 3d RPG games…maybe start small and work your way up.
  3. Conduct some market research and try to identify who your audience is before you even start building a game.
  4. Research your competitor’s and see what they are doing in terms of game development and marketing.
  5. If you need a budget determine how much you want to spend on your project and try to stay within that budget.
  6. Look into asset packs – there a lot of great assets available for visual and audio effects which can help you save money and stay within budget.
  7. Attend game related events to get a deeper insight into the gaming market and read up on statistics and trends.
  8. Create a marketing strategy and look into partnering up with one or more marketing agencies to help promote your game…games don’t sell themselves.
  9. Try to be active on Social media such as Twitter, Instagram and Tiktok – these platforms are great for promoting your games.

The key takeaway here is to determine whether or not developing games is something you really want to do on a part-time because if you do its going to require serious commitment and dedication to getting something fully developed – don’t half ass it otherwise it will just be a waste of your time…but its your time to waste so choose wisely.

Until next time…play, build and have fun.