To start with, I will be working almost entirely on my own which comes with a lot of issues that might not appear if I was working in a team. Because of this, I've been researching everything I can about the mistakes to avoid as a solo dev. The best thing I have found so far is a recently published video by Ask Gamedev on youtube which is embedded below. I highly recommend any solo dev gives it a watch.
For some of those points, I already have things in place to deal with them or they are problems I have long ago learned to avoid but others are things I really need to watch out for.
The first point in the video talks about needing to get feedback because as a solo developer, you live in a small bubble where you will only ever get your opinion on how the game plays and an outsider won't have the background knowledge of the game's systems or a personal connection that makes them think better of it.
I plan on leveraging both my personal circles of friends and things like Reddit to gather feedback on my game as it gets put together. Hopefully this will help refine the bits of my game that I'm not entirely sure of right now and will allow me to chuck out the bad bits earlier, giving me more dev time.
There are also a few points about the actual coding side of the development, some of which I need to look in to but others are already being dealt with. I have always used version control for pretty much anything I do and this project will be no different. I also have access to a large amount on space on a cloud storage account and multiple HDDs so backups shouldn't be a problem. I do need to decide on some coding standards but I will likely just stick to the same code style I use in all my other projects which is fairly consistent anyway.
The video does talk about custom engines and I will admit I have done exactly that before when working on a smaller game but for something the size I'm planning on it would be completely unfeasible to try and build an engine for it. It took me a long time comparing the various engines on the market but I think that due to it's quality and the availability of tutorials and other community content specific to my needs, I will be using Unreal Engine 4.
The initial build of my game will not be a level in the game but an arena-like level used to showcase the various mechanics. This will allow me to test anything that needs testing before any game content gets built and can also serve as a small piece of non-story demo to get feedback on which helps solve the "Lack of Demo Build" point in the demo and also becomes part of the test plan.
I do need to do some real research on test plans and actual project management because I know I am very unorganised and scatter brained which does lead to trying to do many thing in parallel, causing conflicts. Hopefully, with a real plan in place I can just focus on the details without getting to bogged down in how the big picture looks until I need to.
Art, sound and music are going to be my weaknesses and this is something I definitely have to deal with as fast as possible. Thankfully, when it comes to sound and music there are a lot of resources to cover what I might need whether they be free or not so it should be less of a problem than I think. Art however is going to a major stumbling block if I don't come up with some way to cover that aspect of the development. Right now, I am considering a low-poly style instead of aiming for realism but with the intent to change it over if I can.
Overall, I think I'm in a good place to get things done but there is clearly a lot of work ahead of me. I do plan on increasing the team size as the project moves forward and adding people in could very well solve any issues I am having but right now I don't think I'm ready to open it up to more than me, myself and I.