- Will Hendrickson
Game developers don't work well in a vacuum. Many of us, myself included, tend to be fairly introverted. I like to spend most of my time alone at home, quietly programming or making artwork, perhaps listening to some awesome retro future wave tunes on YouTube. And, many of my friends are similar. There is definitely something to be said for solitary concentration: seclusion helps me work with fewer distractions, experiment without judgment, and talk to myself out loud without any dirty looks!
But there have been times and it's often a temptation to work alone for very long periods. This can easily lead to perfectionism, a most insidious form of procrastination, and a general lack of perspective on my own work.
A few years ago, I started a local Meetup group so that I could meet other local developers. The local indie scene was somewhat lacking at the time, despite the fact that there are several high-profile development companies nearby. I realize that this might be a pretty big leap for a lot of people, and I totally understand the sentiment. Starting our meetup group was not only a lot of work in finding venues, but for an introvert like myself it was a challenge to get the courage to do it. And, it may be the case that networking events for game developers already exist in your area. If sso, I encourage you to try them out!
Anyways, having a community of like-minded developers nearby that i can meet with on a regular basis has been absolutely indispensable! I have accountability for my goals now, something that was sorely lacking when I worked alone, because I tell my group what I'm working on. I also show genuine intterest in their own projects, which is of course key to forming a lasting friendship or being part of a group. I also and share advice on game development with my group members, which has saved us all a lot of time and hassle over the past few years. Ever since forming our local group, I can definitely tell that my skills as a developer as well as my communication and teamwork skills have grown dramatically. And, of course I've also found clients this way. Sometimes, people seeking game developers come to the meeting to hire for their projects, and I'm always glad to offer my services if they are a good fit for what the potential client needs. This brings in easy leads for my business which I would otherwise have to work hard to acquire.
Even if you're just developing games as a hobby, I would definitely recommend becoming part of a local game developer's group or forming a new one of your own. You might be surprised at how many game developers really are nearby, I know that I was!