Indies versus everyone

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by Reactor, Aug 18, 2004.

  1. princec

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    It is a basic feature of people that they like to join gangs to feel more secure and stronger. We band together as "indies" because it creates a social group from which we draw support and encouragement and assistance. Other than that, myself I couldn't care less if we were called wage slaves or code monkeys.

    Cas :)
     
  2. BongPig

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    Indie is a rubbish word for a gang.
    I n d i e .... yew!

    How about Flimbolians?
     
  3. Dan MacDonald

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    We use it because it has a connotation that is familiar to everyone in our little community. But as we all know a general idea or connotation does not imply that a hard and fast definition exists. In the most general connotation and one that I think is the most pervasive, indie developers are people who make their own games. "Indie" games are generally made by individuals or small teams working from home for the most part.

    You can already see that in terms of a definition of indie these "connotations" are already failing, however those are the types of things that (at least amongst game developers) that come to mind when think of "indie developer".

    And hey, if your going to have a moniker to try and encompass the diverse characters and contexts that indie developers hail from, you might as well have a useless one like "indie", because any attempts to come up with a more precise definition are bound to fail :)
     
  4. Coyote

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    Oh, no! We're getting into the "more independent than thou!" wars!!!

    My goal is not to produce games independent of any outside sources of investment, distribution, or publishing. IMO, that's a stupid goal... it doesn't go anywhere. It gains you bragging rights, I guess. Maybe if you are very insecure it might help you gain confidence. But sheesh, folks --- if you want to be successful, you have to learn to work & cooperate with people. Make partnerships and business agreements. Negotiate mutually beneficial positions. If done right, the total is much greater than the sum of its parts.

    To me, where I see the spectrum, is that "independent" means you do business without involving the major powers that control most of the industry. You don't NEED EA's blessing (or cash) before proceeding on your next project. To the independent developer, the publishers are commodities, rather than the other way around. I consider id software to be independent - even though they've sold their last several games through major publishers. But their independence has meant that they can pick and choose their offers for publication --- that's success in my book.

    But I don't see that by calling myself independent that I need to become an 'artiste', don a black beret, grow a goatee, and eschew good business decisions for the sake of 'my art' - or turn my nose up at those who do.

    A great quote from skotos.net:
    Being an indie isn't so much what you do, it's simply how you go about it.
     
  5. BongPig

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    That'll do me Dan.

    ... untill the next 'what is indie' thread. ;)
     
  6. formfarbeminze

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    peter molyneux expresses better than me, what in my regard is the most important and rewarding issue of being 'indie':

    "You know, I can think of something and make it real. How cool is that?"
     
  7. Coyote

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    I like his answer better than mine...
     
  8. impossible

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    There are a lot of people calling themselves independent now. Basically anyone that isn't a big publisher, or owned or funded by a big publisher could be considered independent. I'm pretty sure this is IGDA's definition of independent, and for that reason Savage was considered an independent game. I've heard everyone from kids making tetris clones and unfinished 3D engines on gamedev.net to self funded major mainstream industry developers referred to as independent.
     
  9. gmcbay

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    Well, technically, any company that funds their own developement *is* "independent".

    Same with movies. In strict technical terms, the Star Wars prequels are indie films....
     
  10. EpicBoy

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    You'd be hard pressed to argue that Epic Games is not an indie developer. We are entirely self funded and have no obligations to anyone but ourselves. Sure, we have product that needs to be delivered in a reasonable amount of time but we are the ones who decide when something is ready to be shipped.

    So ... even though 50+ people work here and we crank out some of the best selling FPS games of all time ... we're still technically indie developers.
     
  11. grimreaper

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    Epicboy has a point. Where does one draw the line at "indy"?

    Anyway, I never understood this "indy" thing. Sounds more like a romantic myth to me: lone back-room coder against the world...

    My experience in working for other people has been great. At my current job (IT security-related software house) we work on really interesting tech. I spend most (~90%) of my time on R&D and my manager is great enough to give me the time and resources to do it the way I want. Incredibly, I'm paid for this! :D

    Writing games too involves a certain amount of R&D but if you're an indy you have to fund this yourself. What's more only 20% of a game's code is sexy - the rest is just grunt work. Being an indy is hard. And if you're lucky and really hardworking it can be financially rewarding.

    So please stop wailing against those corporate "monsters". That regular pay check at the end of the month is effectively subsiding your indie game.

    grimreaper
     
  12. paulm

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    Of interest to Reactor

    @Reactor: You may regard the "us vs. them" aspect of indie development as baloney, but in some cases it is quite worthy. For instance, I'm in Adelaide, as I notice you're in Perth, and there is a small, but growing independent scene growing here through a website known as Adelindie.

    The developers on the board ranges from wannabe to seasoned professional, but all of us share a common bond in developing for ourselves and making people realise that Ratbag isn't the only games company in Adelaide (though it is now, because all the others have gone out of business).

    We've been considering lobbying the Government for some support in the way of some kind of assistance, and ironically, anyone in Government points you directly to the GDAA - a body of established game developers whose board members consist mostly of the heads of the aforementioned established developers.

    This doesn't bode well for startups and indies, as it seems most Government funding (if any) gets redirected to those in the establishment. So for now, it seems Ratbag will be the only games developer in Adelaide... for now.

    Cheers,
    Paul.
     
  13. Bluecat

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    Paul,

    There was a government funded organisation set up some time ago with a very Aboriginal sounding name. Njjarparti or something like it, I can never remember the exact name. It was set up to assist multi-media type companies I think. It might be worth looking up.

    I'd also suggest trying to make contact with the guys from Ratbag. I believe they started as an indie developer and managed to get a publisher for their games, so they might be able to give you some tips. I believe they also do talks at the AGDC, so if you attend that you might be able to catch up with one of them there. My understanding is that they are very approachable.

    Also, have you looked into Federal assistance. It's possible there are some grants and assistance that you can apply for there.

    Cheers

    John
     
  14. paulm

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    John,

    Thanks for the input.

    Ngapartji actually closed down some time ago, which was unfortunate. I had a friend who worked there, and they were just losing too much money. It was mainly a cafe, with courses to help people.

    As for the Ratbag guys, yes most of the employees are very approachable, and I've talked to many of the, but the two who started it are always busy. I've also spoken to numerous ex-employees (many of who are turning indie now) and even the guy who helped them start up their business at the local Business Enterprise Centre, who told me they were successful in building their brand because they focussed on racing games. I argued the point that they'd dug a hole for themselves by doing this, but 'money talks'.

    As far as State or Federal assistance goes, yes I've scoured just about every website and talked to as many people as I can about grants and loans. The Victorian Government has everything when it comes to that, and I applaud them, because its a wonderful scheme and they are taking game development by the balls. If South Australia even decides to get in that game, then we're going to be playing catch up for years.

    One thing that is possible is getting free PS2/GC/XBox kits, as long as the developers meet the criteria for getting accepted, it seems the Government will pay for the cost of the licence.

    So as far as getting support goes, I've exhausted pretty much every avenue I can think of, save moving to Melbourne. And that's not going to happen. However, I'm stout as an indie, and know that ultimately, we (the team) will be much better off for working up our own profitability than relying on a grant.

    So, viva la indie!

    Cheers,
    Paul.
     
  15. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I'm currently in the middle of full time (indie) game development, thanks to the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS).

    See here-
    http://www.missionaustralia.com.au/cm/Resources/neis/index.html
    It's for unemployed only (both my brother and I were that at the time we came up with the bright idea to go for it)

    We created a business plan (one of the tasks you have to complete) and submitted it, and amazingly, we are now being funded by the government to make games for a year. If you're unemployed, this really is the best way to go, assuming you can put together a sturdy business plan, and don't mind working on a minimum wage (dole payments) for your initial development. For us, it's been an amazing opportunity, and we've learned a great deal about development which, even if the business fails, will work wonders for the two of us later on down the track.

    In a few weeks we should know if the trouble has been worth it!
     
  16. cliffski

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    Its not so simple for peter these days. Being a big dev studio means a lot of compromise. I'm sure its not Peters express wish that The mobile phones used in his next game are 'sponsored by phone company x' or that the cars are sponsored by car company y.
    The moment you need publisher fuinding to make your game, any idea of creative control is thrown out the window. Unless you are 100% self-financed (the best way) then you are partly making someone elses game.
     
  17. Anthony Flack

    Indie Author

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    Yep. But then, tight budgets and lack of staff force you to compromise your vision, too.
     
  18. Diodor Bitan

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    I think the compromise is required even simply due to the amount of invested money. If a game should bring back $10M, that puts a lot of constraints on what that game can be like, whoever has to pay for it. One can definitely take more risks with $10K games.

    Given the pharaonic context of Black and White, I think that quote translates as "You know, whatever designers' wet dream I may have, I can make it real. How cool is that?"

    I have to agree, it's pretty cool :)
     
    #38 Diodor Bitan, Sep 18, 2004
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2004

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