Why you need to join a community before you build a community for your indie game or studio.
Whenever you are looking to create an indie game, one of the first things that you will read about is how valuable an active community is for your game’s success. One thing that may not cross your mind as an indie game developer is finding a community to help you in the development of your game.
In this article we will help cover a handful of resources; forums, communities and much more to give you, the indie game developer the means you need to create your game.
So what exactly do we mean, when we say a community for you the developer? To put it simply it is a place for you to meet other indie game developers who are experiencing the same ups and downs that you may be facing, or have faced them many times. Having this pool of talent is going to really help you as the developer to network and ultimately find some needed guidance.
If you happen to get stuck on some art work or need to seek proof of concept for your game, that is where having a number of friendly developers can help you finalize the concept and move forward with it. Not just that, those in indie game developer communities will be forthright with you. If they think your game needs work, or is missing something, they will make suggestions. So be open and allow yourself to be somewhat vulnerable to their insight.
Slack Group Chat for Indie Game Developers
With how popular chat apps are becoming like Slack, why wouldn’t there be a Slack Group specifically designed for indie game developers? The Slack Group is organized and managed by indiegamedevelopers.org, and they have been able to attract well over 1,000 users, which are made up of indie game designers, artists, programmers, marketers and more. It is a giant group of individuals that have a common interest, which is indie gaming and proving a product they feel will interest a certain gaming audience.
In the Slack App Group, you will be able to join specific channels like #businessandmarketing, and #hangout, which will allow you to introduce yourself, your game, and ultimately start networking.
If you have a specific question you want to ask someone, you can send them a direct message on the app, or even start a group conversation for more collaborative communication. Ultimately you can create your own support group.
Slack is both for desktop use, and for your smartphone.
Join the Slack group: indiegamedevs.slack.com
Discord for Indie Game Developers – Game Dev League
Much like Slack, Discord App is both available for mobile devices and for desktop. Which gives developers the flexibility to communicate with others at any time.
The Game Dev League Discord channel is a great place for not just indie game developers but it is also a place for coders, designers, artists, composers, sound-designers, and even students looking to explore game development a bit deeper.
The channel does a great job of providing users a very large list of resources ranging from books, to individual text channels designed to help with specific discussions such as;
With hundreds of talented individuals ranging from coders, artists, composers and marketing professionals it is a great source for you to learn even more about the finer points and process of developing your indie game. Join the Discord channel here: https://discord.gg/zkmkpJQ
Facebook Groups Worth Joining for Indie Devs
There’s a lot information in the digital world that provides indie game developers the help they need to properly develop and launch their game. One area that seems to be the most active is within social media. Now Twitter is great for quick communication and networking to some degree, but Facebook is where you want to go to find an actual community to help you in your indie game endeavors.
What Facebook groups are out there for indie game developers?
Great question, and the answer is a ton! The real question should be what Facebook groups are worth joining and participating in? The key word here is participating. There are a lot of Facebook groups, and even other communities outside of social media that were created for indie game developers to share ideas and insights with one another, but not many of them provide consistent participation or value to their community members.
Here are a handful of Facebook groups we highly recommend:
Indie Game Developers – Public Group. They also have a few other “sister” groups that are worth joining as well, which are the following;
- Indie Game Promos – here is where you can post demos, and even find testers for your game, and a great area to promote your game or services to other indie game studios or developers.
- Indie Game Chat – here you can talk with other developers about their game, your game, or just about the indie game industry period. More casual less business.
- Game Industry Talent – now if you are in need of talent to help in developing your game, or work your game through the concept to creation process, this is where you can post and try to find talented individuals to help with your game. Or you can share your skills with those who might be in need of your experience.
- GameDev Assets & Tools – here is a great place to find what tools and certain assets other game developers may be using to help with their game development.
Another great group to join, and it has some of the same membership, but has a slightly different approach, is Indie Game Developers – Sunshine, which is a group created by the online magazine with the same name. Their group is created solely for indie game developers to post a lot of their work-in-progress, game play and receive constructive feedback.
These are just a handful of active communities on Facebook, but from our experience, and the experience of indie developers that we have worked with, these are the indie game communities you should look into participating in.
Reddit for Indie Game Developers
A lot like Facebook, Reddit is an abbreviated conversation, but it also is very much like forums. For an indie game developer, you will find a lot of subReddits that you might think fit your needs. But much like Facebook, there are really only a few that you should really ever spend time with, and they are the following:
- /r/GameDev – this one here is the granddaddy of them all. This is the subreddit that has the most activity, and will likely provide you with the most information and communication you will need to help with whatever questions or concerns you may have in regards to your games development.
- /r/gameDevClassifieds/ – this subReddit is a lot like the Facebook group in regards to finding talent, or sharing your talents in hopes of finding work. If you are looking for talented game developers, artists, programmers or even composers, this is a great place to look, or post a classified.
- /r/INAT/ – then you have this subReddit which is like the classifieds one, but this is more designed to help with forming collaborative teams. For instance I may have zero clue how to develop a game, and have a concept. Posting on this, it will allow me to find people who can help finalize my concept and move forward with it.
Reddit is always a great way to bring exposure to your studio or game. If you can share content or media, Reddit can prove to be a very powerful community and tool to help market your game, but also become a means of development for your indie game.
Indie Game Development Forums to Join
How to find forums to help with your indie game development?
The quickest way to find anything you are looking for on the internet is to go to Google, and simply search for it, and the same goes for finding a forum for indie game developers. So doing a simple search like “forums + indie game development”, you will likely pull up dozens of forums. From our experience there are just a few that actually provide the depth you will actually need to help with your games development.
The first one you will want to check out is IndieGamer.com. Here you will find a very active forum, full of excellent and experienced developers, marketers and even some publishers. The forum provides a lot of discussion threads that cover educational material, business material, technical coding insight, feedback requests and even a thread for you to share your work or portfolio. We recommend you start here and work down the list that follows.
Next is GameDev.net, and much like Indie Gamer, it will provide you with a lot of variety of threads that cover anything from “coding horrors” to how to develop a game for mobile and/or consoles. Even though there may be some minor overlap between this forum and Indie Gamer, it is surely worth reading into both forums to gather the details you need, or to ask the questions you need answered.
Lastly, we have Indie DB, which is a very popular medium for everything in relation to the indie game industry, but also provides a very active forum community of indie game developers, gamers, marketers, etc. With these three forums for indie game developers and indie game talent, you really can’t go wrong. You will almost always find the answer you need when posting on these forums, or even just searching and reading similar questions in relation to those you might have.
Local Meetups & Networking for Indie Game Developers
So you have gone ahead and joined a number of communities on social media, got involved with some active indie gaming forums, and chatted it up with other developers. But now you want to meet developers face to face. Well if you can’t afford to attend a gaming convention like MAGFest or PAX, you can still meetup with other developers in your area or region.
Meetup.com is a community that is designed to help form local groupings, in which you can then gather together for drinks, food, or simply just to network. Through meetup.com organizers of each group are able to share content and information about the group, they are also allowed to schedule local events for others in the group to attend. Photos can be shared, discussions can be formed, and strong relations can be cultivated.
We would recommend that you find an Indie Game Developer meetup.com group near you before you attempt to create one yourself, just so you can really get a feel for what is involved with organizing such a group, and managing an active calendar. Also if you want to get some exposure for your indie game studio, you can sponsor any given meetup group. Some might require fees to do so, but are likely a very small price to pay for a quality link to your site, and a great way to improve your studio’s brand awareness.
Now that you have all these communities to tap into, there is no excuse for you to not seek advice and guidance as you work towards developing your very first or next game. As an additional bonus to this article, RenGen has done some digging to help build up a growing list of active meetup groups for indie game developers across the country and internationally. If you come across a new indie game meetup group in your city, please let us know about it, so we can add it to this list.
Here are some Meetup Groups we would recommend for anyone, or specifically for developers in that given local area.
North American meetup groups for indie game developers:
https://www.meetup.com/SeattleIndies/ (Seattle, WA)
https://www.meetup.com/The-Cogg/ (Central Ohio)
https://www.meetup.com/IGDA-New-Hampshire-Game-Development-Meetup/ (New Hampshire)
https://www.meetup.com/St-Louis-Game-Developers/ (St. Louis)
https://www.meetup.com/Indie-Game-Developers-of-Silicon-Valley/ (Sillicon Valley)
Central & South American meetup groups for indie game developers:
European meetup groups for indie game developers:
Australian and New Zealand meetup groups for indie game developers:
https://www.meetup.com/Game-Developers-of-Wellington/ (New Zealend)
https://www.meetup.com/MelbGameDevs/ (Melbourne, AU)
https://www.meetup.com/Game-Development-Brisbane/ (Brisbane, AU)
Asian meetup groups for indie game developers: