It’s that time of year again!

New Years Fireworks

Happy New Year!

For some of us, that just means it’s another year gone by. But for others, it’s a time for change. A time to look back at our past year and move forward. What could we have done better? How can we improve in 2011?

New Year’s Resolutions

Perhaps you’re already at the pinnacle of your Flash development skills. Maybe you think there’s nothing left for you to improve upon. But for those of us who are never complete, for those of us who wish to evolve, let’s take some steps towards improvement in 2011… even if it’s just a few baby steps in the right direction.

1. Improve your coding

Code is the backbones of your game. Without code, there can’t be a game.

So take some time this new year to improve your proficiency in coding.

Whether it’s a new coding language, a new framework, new concepts, or just a new way to approach game development, learn a new way to code in 2011. You’ll thank yourself later when you’re able to code fun features and mechanics you never knew were possible.

2. Read a Book

Book Cover of Sh*t My Dad Says

Perhaps something more appropriate...

That’s right. Before you go off practicing all that code you’ve taught yourself, take some time and read a good book. You might even learn something.

Switch over to Actionscript 3, learn how to design better games, study up on your business skills or, if you’re feeling particularly loyal, pick up a copy of Getting Your Flash Game Sponsored.

3. Change your Development Clock

Looking for some variety in your New Year’s game  development?

Try taking on projects of different scales.

Develop a short, quick game. Make it into a challenge. How fast can you do it? One week? Two?

Or, take on a long term project. Plan it out. Collaborate if you have to. Make it amazing.

4. Participate In the Flash Community

Get to know other flash game developers.

They will open your mind to new ideas, teach you new concepts and can even help you out when you’re in over your head in code.

So participate in a flash game forum, email other developers, attend a conference, or start up a game development blog. You might just be surprised by how nice we can be.

5. Develop Games For a New Medium

Who says you can’t create games for other devices. iPhones, mobile devices, Xbox, downloadable, Facebook, RTS; they all have their own market of players, ready to become your next big fans.

But they’ll never hear about your games if you limit yourself to Flash. So give another platform a try:

  • Learn the language
    • Create a whole new game
    • Port a game
    • Profit?
  • Hire a developer to port your game for you
    • Pay, then Profit?

6. Collaborate

Collaboration Two is better than one.

This year, try working with another developer. Sure, you’ll have half the profits, but you’ll also have half the work.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll become friends and form your very own game studio together.

Collaborations tend to work best when each developer has a specific role. That way, you can play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses. One of you might be strong at art, while the other is strong at coding. Combine those skills and you’ve got a top notch game, ready to take over the flash gaming world.

7. Diversify Your Revenue (and Try a New Form of Monetization)

Want to make more money?

Sometimes it’s not putting more effort into your monetization stream, but about coming up with a whole new form of monetization.

If you always do contract work, try doing a sponsorship or two. If you always do sponsorships, try adding microtransactions to them. If you use microtransactions, try developing a game portal.

Not only will you make more money, but you’ll learn to create games differently. A game designed for a client is going to be constructed differently than one made for sponsorships, or microtransactions. You can even incorporate the new approach you’ve learned into your next game, adding to your skills and resume.

8. Set a Goal

What do you want to accomplish this year?

Even if you just develop games for fun as a hobby, setting a goal (or goals) for the year can really help you focus.

Maybe you want to produce 2011′s biggest hit, perhaps you want to reach the Newgrounds front page, or maybe you just want to make a fun game. Regardless, take a couple minutes to think about your development goals.

Those goals will come in handy later when you’re low on motivation and would rather be doing anything than bug test and polish your game for the gazillionth time.

9. Form a Concrete Plan

PlanWant to really accomplish something this year?

Make a plan.

You don’t need to plan out your whole year. Actually, I wouldn’t recommend doing that. Just make a simple plan.

Your plan doesn’t even need to include dates. When I was writing my book, I found it useful to create an outline with the order the sections would be in. By just creating that outline, it made it much easier when it came time to write because I knew what I was going to be working on.

You can do this with your game development by creating an outline of the type of games you want to develop. Or maybe just outline each game on a game-by-game basis that includes what the development process will include, and the order each part needs to be completed in.

10. Have Fun

Making game should be fun. If you don’t enjoy the goals you’ve set for yourself, you it’s going to a lot tougher to complete them.

Enjoy the experience and process of making games, and the coming year should be a great step forward in your game development experiences and skills.

Good luck!

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