Heavily inspired by Edmund McMillen's recent manifesto for independent game developers I set out to create a manifesto for beginners and hobbyist game developers who do not worry about creating art or the most innovative games. This list is mostly intended for those who dream of making their own game and will be proud to create a simple FPS or platform game.
1. Make a small game
Don't aim to make the next World of WarCraft. At least complete some small games before moving on to some of your grand ideas.
2. Be open about your game
Don't be shy about developing games as a hobby. Upload your game to a website as soon as the first playable version is ready and share the link with friends. If you have concept art then share that even earlier in the process. Create videos, take screenshots and release early demos for the world to see.
3. Let your game evolve
Your game will never end up quite as you expected. If something does not work or feels annoying then change or remove it and maybe add something else to the game if it needs to be improved.
4. It is YOUR game
While input from friends can be useful don't forget that it is your time being spent developing it. If you love space themed games then set it in space. The target audience is probably you and it is really just a bonus if other people happen to like it.
5. Find help when you are stuck
Join communities and forums to find people who can help you when things get over your head. This can also lead you to a possible collaboration with someone who is talented in areas you are not.
6. Learn when creating your game
Game development allows you to learn a lot of things. Improve your skills in design, programming, graphics, sound, music and even creativity. Game development will naturally make you more creative.
7. Learn from other games
Play games that are comparable to what you are creating and draw inspiration from them without simply copying them. Even board games can be an inspiration. Improve their formula if possible or create something entirely new the world has never seen before.
8. Finish your game
Ten unfinished games will not make you half as proud as actually completing one game. Always strive to finish the game you are working on.
9. Give your game away
Free is the keyword here. Don't charge people for wanting to play your game and make it easy for them to share the game with their friends.
10. Have fun
Do it because you love it, you want to do it and because you have fun doing it.
Over time one will learn what works best so change the rules when they no longer work for you.
This article is also posted on my site: http://www.yourgamedesign.com/hobby-gamedev-manifesto