Indieklem : Do you want to start a new game?

Hi, my name is Clément “Indieklem” Jacquelin, and this article marks the beginning of a new adventure for me. Indeed, after over seven years of juggling between web development and interface design, I am immensely pleased to embark on the journey of creating indie video games (you can pop the champagne for me, or wait until my first game is released).

Through this blog, my primary goal is to share my experience as a creator. This involves regularly updating on the progress of my game, explaining the various stages and processes of creation from conception to release, describing the implementation of a monetization strategy, and shedding light on the successes and failures of this new endeavor.

This blog is for you if:

  • You want to understand the ins and outs of video game creation.
  • You enjoy discovering games that break away from the norm.
  • You appreciate pixel art.
  • Game Maker Studio and Aseprite hold no secrets for you.
  • Entrepreneurial adventures pique your interest.
  • You aspire to make a living from your projects.
  • You want to know how to monetize your game.

What is an Indie Game?

The video game industry is teeming with a multitude of diverse professions, and developing a triple-A title can involve engaging hundreds of different people (developers, game designers, concept artists, etc.) for years. However, this is not necessarily the case for indie games. Creating an indie video game often means working alone or with a relatively small development team, without significant financial support, but still enjoying a creative independence that is sometimes lacking in studios backed by publishers.

Celeste, FEZ, Stardew Valley & Hades – few of my favorites indie game

What skills does this require?

In my case, I feel comfortable enough with development, design, and marketing to be able to handle these main aspects on my own. Equipped with a BTS SIO (Information Systems Management) that taught me development, I am self-taught when it comes to design and pixel art, and I have had the opportunity to take part in several entrepreneurial ventures that have given me a good grasp of marketing. In the end, only a few pieces of music, illustrations, and videos will be created with assistance, simply because these are skills I do not currently possess, and I consider that it would take me far too much time to acquire them and release my game on schedule.

Creating independently thus means wearing the hats of game designer, developer, pixel artist, tester, level designer, social media manager, sound designer… Fulfilling a multitude of roles, having the ability to switch from one subject to another, constantly learning, and questioning oneself. I think you get the idea.

What will be my creation process?

My typical journey for the next few months

If I share with you the roadmap that I have in mind at the moment, it looks like this:

  • Find a game concept, preferably with original gameplay or graphic style that can be capitalized on for marketing purposes.
  • Design the game, define rules, understand the limitations and constraints to impose on the player.
  • Develop game mechanics, fix bugs, worry about performance.
  • Design graphic assets, animate them, add lighting and particle effects.
  • Test the game, gather feedback, adjust difficulty, understand what’s annoying.
  • Design music, add sound design.
  • Communicate on social networks, create a newsletter, grow your audience through a Discord server.
  • Create a game trailer, upload it on YouTube, and collect the first orders.
  • Release the game on download platforms like Steam, the Nintendo Store, or GoG.
  • Make money, buy a house by the sea, and retire at 30 (and marry my girlfriend)

Of course, this is by no means exhaustive. I imagine there are as many ways to design a game as there are games themselves, but this gives you an idea of the (colossal) scope of the work to be done. It’s no coincidence that licenses like Skyrim, Zelda, or even Elden Ring require substantial resources spread over several years. And while some games eventually become classics, reaching the top of the charts and breaking all sales records, this is not the case for some highly anticipated titles. I’m thinking particularly of No Man’s Sky and Cyberpunk, which despite the resources invested, media success, and anticipation generated, encountered numerous setbacks upon their release.

Despite a chaotic launch, No Man’s Sky managed to redeem itself.

My sources of inspiration and favourite designers

Games that made an impact on me

I am a huge fan of MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games), and specifically of World of Warcraft, on which I spend countless hours of enjoyment. I have also spent a lot of time on Guild Wars, which falls into the category of CORPGs (Competitive Online Role-Playing Games – yes, I’m discovering this term as I write this article).

What attracts me to these games is mainly the PvP (Player versus Player) aspect, the RPG element, and the multiplayer aspect. Unfortunately (or fortunately for my free time), it is almost impossible to develop and sustain these types of games as an independent developer, mainly due to the numerous technical constraints of content creation and balancing. Nevertheless, I will certainly draw heavily from the gameplay of these titles to build my universe.

It would be unthinkable not to share a bit of World Of Warcraft with you

Independent games, stories, mechanics and graphics

I also play a lot of indie games like Celeste, Dead Cells, Stardew Valley, Hades, Fez, Loop Hero, Don’t Starve, Baba Is You, Risk of Rain 2… to name but a few. All of them offer an incomparable experience, whether it’s the story in Celeste, the gameplay in Fez or the graphics in Loop Hero.

You will have understood from this list that I have a real passion for pixel art. It is with this graphic style in mind that I will design my future indie game, firstly because I love it; visually, it’s very enjoyable and it leaves a lot of room for the player’s imagination. Secondly, from a technical point of view, it’s a style that I have been practicing for a few years now and it’s more easily approachable than 3D or illustration.

I have quite a few concept ideas at the moment, but I’ll need to sort through them and focus to come up with something feasible. To help me in this quest, I’m taking the opportunity to dust off my Steam library and try out a lot of new releases that I had on my wish list: VRising, Slay the Spire, Borderlands 2

In short, all I know for sure at the moment is that it’s going to be a pixel art multiplayer game. It’s something.

The game Dead Cells

YouTube channels to follow

It’s important for me to share with you the channels of some of the Youtubers whose advice has helped me get this far:

  • Game Anatomy – Here we’re talking about creation, video games and anything that comes remotely close
  • Game Next Door – “a chronicle where we talk about video games the way we’d like to be talked about”.
  • Game Maker’s Toolkit – about level design, game creation and production.
  • Game Spectrum – free and independent documentaries on video games and their relationship to the world.
  • Shaun Spalding et Pixelated Pope – two great references for development in Game Maker Studio.
  • Masahiro Sakurai on Creating Games – trying to contribute to making games around the world a little more fun by the creator of Kirby & Super Smash Bros.

If you have other channels to recommend, I gladly accept!

The challenges I will encounter as an independent

For me, there are currently three major difficulties in creating an independent video game:

  • Money – how to live while I design?
  • Technical challenges – what to do if I don’t know how to develop or design?
  • Time – how long will it take me?


As for money, there are several ways to hold on and get financial support. Among the examples I have in mind, we can mention Kickstarter or the subscription system on Patreon. Some creators live off their savings, while others manage to negotiate a conventional break and ensure tranquility through unemployment benefits. There is also the option to turn to a publisher, at the risk of losing freedom. I don’t believe there is a good or bad situation; the best one is and will always be the one that works for you. It’s also important to keep in mind that 50% of independent games that are released generate no more than $4000 (I could write an article on the reasons behind this if you’re interested), which is very little to hope to make a living.

Technical challenges

Regarding technical challenges, I’ve been fortunate to develop skills related to game development (programming, design) both during my studies and in the workplace. Although it promises to be challenging (I can already see myself sweating over implementing lights or generating levels), I can breathe a little on that front.

I plan to use tools that I’m familiar with: Game Maker Stu for development, Aseprite for pixel art, and Figma for my marketing assets. As mentioned earlier, I’ll make sure to seek help for areas I’m less proficient in, such as music, illustrations, or creating videos for a future trailer, for example.

Aseprite software to make beautiful pixel art


Knowing myself, the biggest challenge will be not to scatter myself, whether it’s in terms of graphic style, story, or gameplay. I have the bad habit of wanting to do a thousand things at once and never finishing anything. Without a doubt, this is one of the biggest challenges ahead of me: staying focused. I’m fortunate to be unemployed for now, but I also don’t have an unlimited creation time. My game will need to generate income at some point. To succeed in this, I will first carefully consider what I want to create, set deadlines, and finally develop a game that I like and that reflects me above all. One of the major mistakes to avoid is trying to design a game guided only by what works best at the moment. Far be it from me to criticize studios that ride trends; following this logic, we still see very good games coming out. However, I know I won’t be able to motivate myself if I proceed in this way.

This website, a blend of motivation and sharing

This site is primarily a space that will allow me to keep my motivation intact as time goes by. Creating a writing routine and seeing my work exposed to the public is a good way to stay on track. I will also be able to more easily share games, development tutorials, and other graphic inspirations that come my way, and hopefully help other video game creators. Finally, this blog is another brick in building a community around indie games. If you want to be notified when I publish a new article, or when I’m looking for beta testers for my game, I invite you to follow me on social media or sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of the page!

My ultimate goal

As you may have understood, creating solo is above all about knowing how to combine different complementary skills, having the mental resilience to persevere over time, and optimizing resources to achieve one’s goal. It’s a long process that can be exhausting, demotivating, and time-consuming. Success is never guaranteed, and many independent creators struggle to make a living from their creations. Personally, that’s my goal: to be able to live off my games. Developing one? That seems achievable to me. Selling it? I need to be able to sell a few. Being able to live off it? That’s really the ideal, and that’s my primary goal.

The final word

Thank you for reading, this article is the very first one here, and I’m excited to see what the future holds. If you have any questions or comments, you have a fresh comment section just a few pixels below these lines. As for me, I’ll go back to my next step: deciding on which game concept I’ll spend the next few years.

See you later!

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4 commentaires

16 June 2022

Superbe aventure ! J’ai hâte de voir où tu nous emmènes et j’espère que tu y trouveras ton bonheur aussi 🙂

16 June 2022

Merci l’ami. On va tout faire pour que ça marche 🙂

3 July 2022

Le feu 🔥
Compte sur moi pour les retours acerbes, néanmoins constructifs ♥️
C’qui compte c’est pas l’arrivée, c’est la quête 🎶

3 July 2022

Je savais que je pouvais compter sur toi. 🤍

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