Donít Give Me Something Iíve Played Before
Iím enough of both a gaming geek and programming geek to be intimately familiar with the thrill of getting stuff up on the screen that works the way you envision it in your head, or more particularly from another game. Remember: Your job isnít done there. Itís not enough to emulate your inspiration. If you are trying to appeal to me, as a fan of the original, remember that Iíve already played that game. I donít want a reskinned, low-budget rehash of a game I loved. I want something familiar but different.
Provide a new twist on the mechanics. Play with concepts that were not taken far enough. Hey, you are an indie on a budget, why donít you try scaling down the mechanics and distilling the experience into an even tighter core. Maybe your idea is a counter-terrorism version of X-Com. Seize upon that theme and think about what else could be done with that concept to make the gameplay more authentic to the theme and more interesting. IEDs? Hostages? Political twists?
Donít just clone an older game. Use it for a jumping-off point, not a destination.