July 27, 2004

Views From the Garage

by Andrew Stern · , 5:48 pm

Two new articles have recently come out interviewing advocates of independent game development — one on Armchair Empire with GarageGames co-founder Jeff Tunnell, and one with Jay Moore, “Evangelist” at GarageGames, on Gamasutra.

When asked how game development has changed in the last 15 years, Tunnell replies,

The standard answer here is that games are much harder to create, have larger budgets and larger teams.  I actually call bullshit on the conventional wisdom!  Games are easier to create than in any time in history and they will get easier.  … Making a game is a lot like being in a rock band.  Get together with a couple of like-minded people, learn your different crafts (programming, art, audio), and make a wildly innovative and fun game.  To quote a beaten phrase, “…the world will beat a path to your door.”

When asked, who are indie game developers?, Moore says they include:

the veteran game developer working on his own project and keeping a day job, or changing his lifestyle and teaching or consulting while working on their game is very common. Many of these guys are bored with, and in some cases burned out from, working in the game industry.

Moore follows with the warning,

[I]f you’re looking to break out on your own and become an independent game creator, you need other work lined up, or be prepared to go the starving artist route while you develop your game.

I can personally attest to the above, but wouldn’t want it to discourage anyone from going for it. Unlike in video games, you only live once, folks!

The Gamasutra article links to this year’s IndieGamesCon, sponsored by GarageGames, held near their headquarters in Eugene, Oregon. The gathering includes talks, panels, discussions, and an open exhibition for anyone who wants to show their work. Registration is pretty cheap at $150 — I’ve added it to our “Worth the Trip” list. Sounds great — except it almost directly overlaps with another big indie game event this year, UC Irvine’s Alt+Ctrl festival! This is really unfortunate, I’d love to go to both…

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