Indie Game Dev For Humans
Author: Damion McKinnon
Indie Game Dev For Humans : For those like myself who can remember the ‘old ways’ – a world where games were developed in living rooms and coded in garages, we’ve seen what was once a hobby transform into a million dollar industry. We’ve seen a quantum leap in terms of graphics and technology but as investor expectations soar we’re seeing risk management strip the exciting and the new from our titles, leaving a game industry that is steadily transforming into the film industry with its focus on creating bankable IPs rather than memorable gaming experiences.
However there is a fringe community still faithful to the old ways. A community that work in the alleys and backstreets of a city skyline dominated by the skyscrapers of the mega-publishing houses. The indie game market has never been more alive than it is now with a calibre and creative purity that’s higher than ever. Developers are bypassing the banks and boardrooms and going straight to the gaming community, presenting their ideas and their passions and inviting feedback and involvement – bringing the fun and curiosity back to gaming rather than trying to produce the most profitable result.
The internet is filled with videos, courses and blogs on how to develop your indie title from woe to go. But indie development can be a long and demanding road – a journey that begins with fire but it will inevitably becomes an uphill climb that can exact a very human cost. Poor planning, skills gaps and the real-world need to eat and pay your rent will pit themselves in direct opposition to your passion, leading you to dead ends and tough calls. You will find a wealth of information online on Unity or UDK and limitless guides and tutorials on how to market your creation but there is significantly less on how the indie game experience will affect your life – the problems you can expect to strike along the way, the risks and challenges you may face and the skills required in bringing your project to completion.
I can’t promise that this article will do any of those things, but in this regard there is no substitute for experience. I approached four indie game development teams and asked them to share their journey – who they are, how they came together, how they manage their creative vision and how they channel that vision in the development process. They share their strengths, some of the strategies and shortcuts they have learned to overcome the challenges they’re presented with and how they balance their identities as indie developers against their roles as students, friends, colleagues or as parents.
As gamers we all carry the DNA of our perfect game in our heads. Some of us take it a step further, developing mods. sketching ideas or building spreadsheets. This article hopes to inspire you by proving it can be done to completion by giving you a snapshot of the indie development process from those who are bringing their vision to life. Hopefully their insights will alert you to the challenges ahead, and encourage you to make those first and most important steps forward.