Thursday, 28 June 2012

General thoughts on game creation and indie game development


When you’re a new start-up indie game developer creating your first major game, you have to accept two inalienable truths – firstly that you are a tiny, tiny fish in an unimaginably massive sea, and that developing your game is going to be a long process that will sometimes seem painfully slow.  In terms of getting your name out there and advertising your game, unless you either have a level of fame in another field, a large advertising budget or happen to get lucky and your game “goes viral”, it’s a case of just repeatedly trying to make one more person sit up and take notice of your game.  Every single person that joins your social networking sites (much as I hate them generally they are one of the best ways to promote your work without paying someone these days, each visitor to your development blog, every time someone looks at your trailer, adds to the snowball.

It’s much the same with actually developing the game itself.  At the start things can appear to build up very quickly, but after a while the expectation that each day you’ll make massive strides towards your game being the finished product becomes unrealistic.  Days, weeks or even months could go by without much seeming to happen.  This hasn’t happened to Captain Disaster yet of course and I’m desperate to make sure that it doesn’t – I’ve been involved in other games that have stalled for interminable periods of time, and it’s really difficult to keep your motivation going when some team members just seem to have disappeared into the ether.  I’m fortunate with Captain Disaster in that my two other main partners in crime have been very enthusiastic and maintained a high level of output, whether in the form of ideas, creating assets for the game or creating the next build; if we can keep it up then we should stay on course for our projected release before the end of this year.

Sometimes real life gets in the way of your project of course – illness, or a family member being ill, can take a team member out of the equation completely for months or even forever ;some things are just more important than game design of course.  In our case, one of our musicians has experienced a long delay getting the equipment he had ordered which was going to be used to create the tracks; fortunately this shouldn’t be too much of a problem as we won’t actually need the music for quite a while anyway.  You never know what’s around the corner, however…

Basically what I’m saying is that even though there are so many indie games and game developers around these days, don’t be fooled; every good quality indie game that makes it to full release is a minor miracle, and any indie game that becomes successful enough to become the developer’s main source of income is astounding.  (So if one day the members of Team Disaster are earning their living from making indie games, please do remember to be astounded!)

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