The Gamedev Guide to Getting Started with Mastodon

Posted November 19, 2022

Twitter is imploding, or exploding, or just falling apart. Or maybe it’s completely fine, who the hell knows at this point. But are you a gamedev worried that your main marketing platform is gonna go away? Then this guide is for you.

Here I’ll show you how to quickly set up a Mastodon account and transfer some of your Twitter followers, without getting stuck talking about instances and federated networks or whatever. I will probably write a more detailed guide soon, but this one is just to get your ass over to Mastodon as quickly as possible, so that you can get back to making games.

So without further ado, let’s get tootin'!

1. Join an Instance

Head over to Gamedev Place and create an account. Yes, there are many, many instances catering to different interests, but if you’re a gamedev, you’ll most likely want to be on Gamedev Place, the oldest gamedev-related instance on Mastodon, as far as I know. But the choice of instance doesn’t matter for now, because you can always move your account to another instance without losing followers. No need to stress out, just get started. Once you have your account, you’re ready to start using Mastodon. Just go to Gamedev Place again to log in.

You can always switch instances later, without losing your followers. Joining an instance is not a lifetime commitment on Mastodon.

2. Look For Your Followers

There’s a service called Debirdify that helps you check which of your Twitter followers and mutuals have Mastodon accounts. Simply click on the link, log in with your Twitter account and use the search functions. If the users have specified a Mastodon account in their bio or something, Debirdify will find them and list them, sorted by what instance they are on. If you click on their names in the list, you’ll get to their profile pages so you can follow them back. But…

3. Following People

This is a stumbling block for many, and Mastodon really needs to improve this in my opinion. If you’re looking at the profile page of a user that is on a different instance than yours, you won’t be able to follow them immediately; instead, the page will tell you that you need an account. This gives the impression that you’ll need a separate Mastodon account on each instance where you want to follow people, but that is not the case.

You’ll only ever need one Mastodon account.

Instead, here is what you do: Copy the full ID of the user (for example,, go to your Mastodon account, and paste it into the search box at the top-left (where it says “Search or paste URL”). The user will pop up as a result, and you’ll be able to follow them by clicking on the icon next to their name.

Is this a pain? Yes, it is. But it’s better than creating and managing multiple accounts on various instances.

And that’s basically all there is to it: You now have a Mastodon account and you’re following people. The rest is (more or less) the Twitter experience. I’ll get into the “more or less” part in another post, but here’s a final tip: See that “Local” option in the right-hand menu? That’s the local timeline, showing all posts made by people on your instance. And since you’re on Gamedev.Place, you’ll mainly see awesome gamedev people doing awesome gamedev things. This is the best way to discover new peeps to follow.

The Local Timeline shows posts from your instance only. This is the best way to discover new people with interests similar to yours.

I hope this guide helped you get started with Mastodon. Let me know if you want to see other guides or if you have any questions about the whole thing. And if you want to get some practice in, feel free to follow me on Mastodon!

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