Tips for Your First Project

Your first project. Start small, pick something interesting, and finish it.

You’ve learned the basics. You’ve built some simple apps or games with step by step instructions. Now it’s time for you to start your first project.

Building your first app or game is a long and arduous process, so here are some tips to help smooth it out!

Start small. Very small

Take a look at my first game, Ball is Life—it’s nothing fancy. The first version I released took me roughly a year to build, and it didn’t have ads, Game Center support, or powerups.

Whatever you’re envisioning, take it and shrink it at least ten times. Strip all the cool features off it until you’re left with just the bare bones. Your first app or game needs to be extremely simple.

If you pick something overly complex, you’ll likely end up getting discouraged and frustrated by the distant finish line.

Pick something you’ll enjoy building

When you choose what you’re going to be building for your first project, ensure it’s something you find interesting. Remember, you’ll likely spend the next few months working on it.

Even if you think it’ll only take you a couple weeks, you’ll probably be at it for much longer. It’s usually the final 20% of the work that takes 80% of the time to complete.

If you’re not set on a certain app idea, I would strongly recommend building games to further your learning. They’re (usually) fun to test, and it’s something all your friends won’t mind trying out (regardless of whether they find it useful, which can be an issue with apps).

Finish it

Finishing is essential when you’re just starting out because of the motivation it provides.

If you start a project, leave it unfinished, and move on to something new, you’ll be missing the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a project.

If you’re several weeks or months in and you feel like you won’t be capable of finishing, reevaluate your goal and modify it to the point where it’s attainable.

Along the way, I guarantee you’ll get stuck extremely often. This is 100% normal. Remember, the internet is your friend. Keep this list of the websites I use most often when I get stuck handy.

Completing your first project is an amazing feeling, so don’t stop before you cross that finish line.