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Indie Game Developers Talk About Why They Struck Out On Their Own 49

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes Technology writer Jon Brodkin sat down with a group of indie game developers (as well as a professor at the University of Southern California's game-design program) to talk about why they decided to launch their own small studios rather than stick with comfortable (albeit stressful) jobs at major firms like Disney or Zynga. The answer, as you'd expect, boils down to control. "Working for a bigger company is a good way to gain experience, and learn how games are made," said Graham Smith, one of the co-founders of Toronto-based DrinkBox Studios. "It's also nice to have a steady salary coming in as you learn the ropes. On the flip side, depending on the company, you might not have much control over the game's design, or even be making the types of games that you enjoy playing." But startups come with their own challenges, not the least of which is the prospect of an economic downturn quickly wiping you out, or not making your Kickstarter goal.
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Indie Game Developers Talk About Why They Struck Out On Their Own

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  • by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @12:34PM (#47408037)
    While attending Apple's WWDC a couple years back and looking around during the lunch break, I noticed indie devs looking at the corp devs with envy, lamenting how great it must be working for a big company with all those perks, resources, tight social connections, regular paychecks, etc.

    Listening to the corp devs, they were all eyeing the indies, jealous of the perceived freedoms to set their own project priorities and schedules while eft alone to focus on whatever they liked at a given point in time.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @01:03PM (#47408253)

    The way to do it:

    Get a job for a big non-gaming company, if possible in IT. Shape your IT department into something that can run day to day without your meddling, but make sure that there is at least a few areas in which you are indispensable, or at least able to fix in minutes what takes everyone else hours.

    Arrange a four day work week for yourself, even a three day if you can swing it. It helps having half an year of unused vacation from the years where you did not have a department, worked weekends, and could not take any days off.

    Become active on the indie development forums of the games you like to play, participate in betas, offer input, and look for an opportunity to make a killer mod. Ingratiate yourself to the owner of the company. Make sure that his design vision matches yours, as much as possible. Make damn sure you use different handles for each indie, and do not mess them up.

    Get hired to write self-contained modules for indie gaming companies. Game AI, especially strategy in action games, or single (hero) unit specialized tactical routines... Shit all over NDAs, but be moral about not using code from one project into the others. Feel free to use what you've learned, though.

    So... you have the best of both worlds. A steady paycheck and great benefits from your CTO job, and the chance to do lean and mean work for gaming companies that are creating great games... or at least games you think are great.

    No recognition, and credits only under your forum handles, but then you also get the chance of kicking ass and getting a great reputation as a player.

    I love it.

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.