Indie Game Budget Example: Can You Make a Design for Free?

As we all know, indie games are often created by small teams, which means that their budgets are quite modest. While the average cost of developing an indie game can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, you can always undertake a small project where you only need to invest your own time.

Indie Game Budget Costs Example

Understanding the Costs Involved in Indie Game Development

Indie game development can be a challenging and costly endeavor, and it’s important to understand the various costs involved in the process. For example, you’ll need software like game engines, design software, and programming tools. The total cost of this equipment and software can vary greatly depending on your needs and preferences.

You can hire designers, programmers, artists, and musicians as employees or freelancers, and their fees can vary based on their experience, expertise, and location. If you plan to sell your game, you’ll need to distribute it to your customers. This can involve selling games hosting your game on a platform like Steam,, or the App Store. Each platform has its own fees and revenue-sharing models.

By understanding these costs, you can better plan and budget for your indie game development project. It’s important to be realistic about your expenses and to plan for unexpected costs that may arise during the whole game development budget and process.

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Indie Game How Much Does It Cost

Indie Game Pre-production Costs Example

Indie game pre-production costs can vary widely depending on the size of the team, ASO soft launch process, and complexity of the game. Here’s an example breakdown of pre-production costs for a small indie game:

  • Concept art and design

Developing the initial concept art and design for characters, environments, and game mechanics is an important part of the project costs of pre-production. The cost of concept art and design can vary depending on the number of assets needed and the experience level of the artist.

  • Story and game design

Creating a compelling story and designing game mechanics are essential to the successful business development of an indie game. This cost can vary depending on the complexity of the story and the game mechanics.

  • Prototyping and testing

Developing prototypes and testing them with focus groups or playtesting is an important part of the actual costs of pre-production. This cost can vary depending on the number of prototypes needed and the length of the testing process. However, it’s important to keep in mind that these costs can vary widely depending on the specific needs of the game and the development team working on it.

Indie Game Concept Cost Example

Concept Art and Design Costs Example

The cost of concept art and game design for characters or environments is influenced by many factors, such as complexity, deadlines, and the professional skills of the artists. Overall, for example, our team of artists can spend up to a week creating concepts for simple characters and refining details. More complex work, for aaa game, for example, takes more time and can take a month or even longer to complete.

Storyboarding and Narrative Design Costs

How many quests will there be in your game? Will the story be linear, or are you planning multiple endings? It’s worth considering all of this to get an accurate cost estimate for narrative designers for your project. A good game story, like an interesting novel, can be created in 3-4 months with all the necessary refinements and revisions.

Storyboarding and Narrative Design Costs

Indie Game Production Costs Example

We all know that indie game production can be a challenging process, particularly in terms of financing the development and marketing costs of the game. Indie game developers often rely on their personal savings, crowdfunding platforms, or revenue from previous games to fund their current projects.

These production costs can vary significantly depending on the scope and complexity of the game. For example, a simple mobile game may cost a few thousand dollars to produce, while a complex indie game with 3D graphics and online multiplayer functionality may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop.

Programming and Development Costs

This is an important stage in the whole game engine development process, and you cannot skimp on time or resources. Otherwise, your game simply won’t be able to launch, and players will be disappointed. Be prepared to allocate your entire budget specifically to the programming stage if you want your product to function properly.

Indie Game Programming and Development Costs

Asset Creation Costs

Asset creation costs are a significant factor in the development of many indie games now. Assets refer to all of the digital elements that make up a game, including graphics, sound effects, music, and animations. These assets are necessary for creating an engaging and immersive game, but they can also be quite costly.

Creating assets from scratch can be time-consuming and expensive. For example, creating high-quality 3D models can take hundreds of hours of work, and hiring a professional artist to do the work can be very costly. That is why it is so beneficial when experienced game design studios offer their assistance, as it can significantly reduce all costs while still impressing both you and future players with the results.

Indie Game Budget Asset Creation Costs Example

Can You Make an Indie Game Design for Free?

If you need art for indie game, then we at RetroStyle Games offer a free collaboration that can solve two issues at once: your need for high-quality game art and graphics and our artists’ desire for creative challenges and opportunities to fill their portfolio with new work. This is a limited-time offer, but we would be happy to consider your applications and ideas to help you bring them to life.

Planning Your Indie Game Art Budget

Planning your indie game development budget and costs is crucial to ensure that your game has the necessary art assets for success. We collect some tips to help you plan your indie game art budget:

  • Determine the scope of your game.
  • Prioritize your art assets.
  • Research game art styles and costs.
  • Get quotes from artists.
  • Build in a buffer.
Planning indie game development budget and costs

Researching and Setting a Game Art Budget

A good solution to this issue would be to communicate with your competitors or colleagues from other studios. This way, you can gather more information and learn all the necessary facts to ensure that your game budget fully aligns with your capabilities.

Tips for Reducing Game Art Styles Costs

Game art is a crucial component of any video game, but it can also be a significant expense for indie developers. Here are some tips for reducing game art style costs:

  • Simplify your art style
  • Use vector graphics.
  • Reuse art assets and indie game art sprites.
  • Limit the number of unique assets.
  • Outsource art production.
Tools and Software for Innovative Indie Game Art Styles

Tools and Software for the Best Indie Game Art Styles

There are many tools and software options available to help indie game developers create visually stunning and innovative indie game art styles. The best tools and software options for indie game art direction art are:

  • Adobe Creative Suite includes tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign that can be used to create graphics, icons, textures, and other assets.
  • Unity’s 2D and 3D graphics tools make it easy to create game assets, and its asset store provides a wealth of pre-made assets and templates.
  • Blender is a free and open-source 3D creation software that can be used to create 3D game assets.

Breaking Down an Average Indie Game Budget

The budget for an indie game can vary widely depending on the scope and complexity of the project. However, here is a breakdown of an average indie game budget:

  • Pre-Production: This phase of development includes concept art in indie game marketing, storyboarding, and prototyping. It can account for up to 10% of the total budget.
  • Development: This phase of development includes programming, design, and production. It is typically the most expensive phase and can account for up to 70% of the total budget.
  • Art and Audio: This phase of development includes creating game art, music, and sound effects. It can account for up to 20% of the total budget.
  • Marketing: This phase of development includes promoting the game through advertising, social media, and other channels. It can account for up to 10% of the total budget.

Sample Budget Breakdown for a 2D Indie Game

Phase of Development Cost
Pre-Production 2 weeks
Concept art and Design 15 – 16 days
Storyboarding 10 – 20 days
Development and Programming 1+ month

The actual budget breakdown for any given project may vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size and scope of the game, the number of team members involved, and the various marketing plan or strategies used.

Sample Budget Breakdown for a 3D Indie Game

Phase of Development Cost
Pre-Production 2 weeks
Concept art and Design 25+ days
Storyboarding 10 – 20 days
Development and Programming 1+ month

Calculating the real art cost of making an indie game before starting work can be challenging. However, with the help of this table, you can have a rough idea of what to expect.

Factors Affecting Budget Allocation

As we mentioned earlier, the methods of designing art for indie game, the expertise of the professionals involved, the scale of the game, and the deadlines for completing tasks are the main factors that affect the budget of your future game. Therefore, if this is your first project and you want to break into the gaming industry with it, think about ways to reduce your production costs for bringing your idea to life.

Pros and Cons of Designing an Indie Game for Free

Designing an indie game for free can have both advantages and disadvantages. Here are some pros and cons to consider:

✅ Pros:

  • Lower financial risk: Designing a game for free means that there is no financial investment required. 
  • Greater creative freedom: When designing a game for free, there are no financial constraints that could limit your creativity. This can allow solo game developers to experiment with different gameplay mechanics, art styles, and storytelling elements.
  • Improved skills: Designing a game for free can be an opportunity to learn new skills, such as programming or game design. It can also be a chance to improve existing skills and build a portfolio for future paid work.
  • Community engagement: It can help to build a community of players who are passionate about your game. This can lead to valuable feedback, word-of-mouth marketing, and potential future revenue streams.
methods of designing art for indie game for free

❌ Cons:

  • Time commitment: Significant time commitment can be challenging for solo game developers who have other commitments, such as a full-time job or family responsibilities.
  • Limited resources: Designing a game for free means that there is no budget for marketing, hiring professional artists, musicians, or developers, or even for software and hardware. 
  • Limited revenue potential: Designing a game for free means that there is no immediate revenue stream from sales. 

In summary, designing an indie game for free can be a good way to test skills, experiment with creative ideas, and engage with a community of players. That’s why, as an outsourcing art studio, we offer you a unique opportunity to collaborate with the best game artists for free! Contact us to learn more about it.

Frequently Asked Question

FAQ line Indie Game Art Style

Why is art important in indie games?

Art is an essential component of indie games, as it plays a crucial role in attracting and engaging players. Indie games are often developed by small teams with limited resources, so indie game art style can help them stand out from larger, more established game studios. This creativity can make indie games more interesting and engaging for players who are looking for something new and different.

What is the exclusive offer of RetroStyle Games for indie game developers?

Our proposal is that we can do work that could cost thousands of dollars completely for free. If you are a solo developer or an indie studio, we would be happy to be a part of your project.

What is the main goal of RetroStyle Games when collaborating with indie developers?

Our main goal is to give game designers and art specialists a creative challenge. Everyone wins. You get professional art for your game, and we get a cool case for our portfolio and reliable partners for implementing future ideas.

How do solo game developers effectively manage their budgets?

As solo game developers, you can face some challenges when it comes to budget management since they are often working with limited financial resources. Here are some tips for effective budget management for solo game developers:

  • Define your budget.
  • Set realistic goals.
  • Use free and open-source software.
  • Outsource wisely.

How do solo game developers keep up with industry trends?

Keeping up with industry trends is important for solo game developers to stay relevant and competitive in the gaming industry. 

You can stay up-to-date with game industry and trends by attending gaming conferences, following industry publications, joining developer communities, following influential game developers, participating in game jams, experimenting with new technologies, and continually learning and experimenting.