Investing in a good PC in my opinion is a must for serious indie game developer. It will make a game development process more pleasant, it will speed up development process, there will be less situations that could break your development flow. Basically it’s the cheapest and easiest way to speed up development and reduce costs as a result. Here are some practical advices for people who are building or choosing PC for game development.
1. Get an extra monitor or better two. This increases productivity and makes development process more fluent and painless. I’ve read that Microsoft did a study that concluded, that extra monitors increased productivity so significantly that now it is almost mandatory at Microsoft for employees to have extra monitors. When I’ve worked in a small company and had two monitors I’ve brought my own monitor to use it as a third monitor, because it really makes a difference. I personally prefer to use 4:3 monitors as side monitors, despite having bigger extra 16:10 monitors in a house, because information on far corners of 16:10 monitor is just too far from my face and to see it I would need to turn my neck too much.
2. I use Unity to make my indie games. Font sizes in Unity were hard coded in 2006 and they don’t scale properly when Windows scaling option is being used. Because of this, it is really hard to see interface on monitor with small pixel size especially if your eyesight isn’t perfect. Here’s 2000+ people begging Unity to address this issue. As far as I know Unreal Engine 4 unfortunately has similar issue. Because of this I recently replaced my main monitor with 27 inch Full HD monitor. I did it simply to continue using Unity without back pains that was caused by my constant leaning towards the monitor. Of course video games started to look pixelated cause this monitor has big pixel size, but Unity left me no choice. I advice to avoid 4k monitors as a plague, because Unity and Unreal Engine 4 are not the only game dev software that doesn’t properly support huge resolutions.
3. Get an SSD. It will simply make everything load faster and this will of course significantly speed up development process and will save you a lot of time.
It is possible to make a game on a potato but I wouldn’t recommend it, since an indie developer already has to face a lot of struggles and he/she should use every opportunity to cut down development time and make development process as smooth as possible. It boggles my mind, that there are people who are willing to spend big money on contractors for sound, art, music, programming but are not willing to invest in a good PC.