How to Make an Indie Game Trailer

3 min readJul 31, 2023


As I am almost ready to launch my game, I want to create a trailer for the game. But I have no idea how to create it and I don’t want to simply stitch together clips of playback.

I thought it would be nice if there were some guidelines on how to create it.

And I found a great video titled ‘How to Make an Indie Game Trailer’ by GMTK. This video helps me to create my first game trailer. And this is what I’ve learned from this video.

How to Make an Indie Game Trailer by GMTK

Purpose of Trailer

The primary purpose of a trailer is to tell people what makes your game unique. This could be game mechanics, settings, story, or art style.

With the trailer, you can get a chance to explain hooks in your game to the viewers. A hook differs by the game. Some of which are game mechanics, so it would be explained. An idea could be complex. In that case, it can’t be easily explained through visuals alone, and explicit communication can be a way to go. That might be popup text-based title cards or voice-over tracks.

Pacing and Retention

If you lose your viewer’s attention, that trailer is useless because the people won’t watch it anymore. So pacing is crucial. And this graph provides an excellent guideline on how to compose the trailer.

Game trailer pace graph

Cold Open

Start your trailer with an intense action moment, gameplay, or joke to draw viewers in.

And unless you’ve got some serious clout, hold back on the studio logos. This makes viewers bored.


And because we can’t keep that intensity throughout the trailer, we need to take a moment to slow down. Non-stop action is exhausting and makes the viewer stop paying attention.

This is an excellent time to tell the story, introduce the world, or explain the primary game mechanic. With the viewer’s attention acquired by ‘Cold Open’ and the basic understanding of the game introduced in ‘Introduction’ part, we can move on to the next step.


We can slowly increase the intensity, add more mechanics, show more explosions and reduce the time between cuts. It’s important to have lots of variety here.

If you always show the same enemy, pattern, or location, viewers think there’s not much content. Make a point to show different things with every cut.


‘Climax’ is where the action builds up to its most intense point and then stops. We don’t want to show everything. You need to keep your viewers curious and make them think about what’s out there.

And this is the time we reveal the game’s name, platforms, and release date. And maybe a call to action.

A Trailer is a Presentation After All

In addition to pacing, presentation for a trailer is also important because first impression is all we have right now.

The most important thing is making the trailer readable, which means we should make the viewer focus on the most important stuff. So it’s generally a good idea to hide user interfaces like the HUD and mouse cursors. And use crops, close-ups, or custom areas to highlight the important scene.

In addition to readability, we want our trailers to look attractive. So we need to care about composition and use tricks like a rule of thirds, tracking cameras, and heroic character portraits to make the game look good.

And we need to remember that as a trailer makers, we’re not just the director and editor but also an actor. So you want to show off gameplay that looks super slick.




Backend Engineer on work / GameDev after work 🔥 I want to make a game that will be a part of someone's life.