What made *you* become an indie? And if you didn't yet, why not?

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by dcfedor, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Yeah, exactly.
     
  2. hippocoder

    Indie Author

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    Why did I become indie? frankly because there's a lot of cash to be made if you know what you're doing. Yes I love making games, but I can make them for free and for me, or I can make them for a living. If I had a choice I'd make films. I can't, so I make games.

    I like Applewood. He reminds me a bit of me. I'm old and I'm cranky and I rarely ever post here because of the bollocks. Last time I posted here with any frequency was in PM to Applewood, and what he said made sense so I buggered off and did it. I'm catching him up on that million though due to less forum bollocks and more work :)
     
  3. mwtb

    Original Member

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    When writing "relationship with a publisher" I should have been clearer and stated "funding relationship with a publisher". Can't fight the tangents, I guess.

    The list was a bit of a joke, but I think it does illustrate the range of opinions I've heard on this. Personally, I think drawing arbitrary lines concerning financial success is bound to raise hackles and invite argument. To take Applewood's trade example, if someone sets themselves up as a sole trader bricklaying business for small jobs like garden walls, but that business doesn't do well, are they wrong to still consider that they're an "independent" bricklayer? It seems odd to think so, or that someone who owns a restaurant isn't a restaurateur if it doesn't make a fat profit or an independent motor-racing team isn't so until they win a race or two.

    I know a number of freelance artists/writers/musicians who are clearly devoted to their craft, work regularly in those fields and run it as a business but yet still need to keep a "day-job" to pay the mortgage. It's such a common situation that the idea that they somehow don't qualify to be considered as "actual professional" artists/writers/musicians is ludicrous.
     
  4. papillon

    Indie Author

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    I know internationally-award-winning authors with day jobs! More because of the US problems with health insurance if you don't have a "regular job" than because of a lack of cash earnings....
     
  5. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I think to use the word "indie" as a true adjective, there has to be an implication of the word "professional" in there along with it.

    Now that's a very grey and wooly word also, but I think it's important. If you have a day job as a brick layer but write games on the weekend then you are a brickie, even if you don't earn much laying bricks. (Not the case in the UK!) but at a dinner party you might try to stun your guests with how you write games in your time off.

    If you write games for your full time income, but lay bricks from time to time, then you are a game developer. You can make lots of friends building walls at mates rates, but it's not your profession. When you've established yourself as a professional developer you can stun your friends by boring them with the additional adjective detail that you're doing so independently but the chances are that they won't care a toss anyway tbh.

    I'm sure there are many on this board who've traded time for space and developed a decent game in their (lots of) spare time, and good for them. However they're not indies because imo they're not professionals either - that's something at odds with the phrase "in spare time". It's this band of people who I think cause the fights with the pedants (like me) as they're confusing "professional" with "professional standard amateur".

    And just ftr, I'm more impressed by the latter group - I'm too old to do two big things well nowadays, so hats off to them.
     
  6. SkinnyLuigi

    SkinnyLuigi New Member

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    My partners and I share the common answer to many: to have complete freedom and creative control over the games we make and to channel our nerdy passions.
     
  7. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Long story, really. Started programming in 1986.

    I was clever at school and always got top marks, but I drew the attention of bullies and discovered that if I pretended to be as thick as they were, I got left alone a bit so for the last two years, I was a slacker. The upshot of that was I only got 4 C+ grades instead of the 9 I was expecting. Went to college to do a 'computer engineering' course as I was told it was mostly programming. Got there the first day, and found out that only six weeks of the two year course had anything to do with programming (and it was probably Cobol or some shit - never really listened after that), so I quit straight away after just three hours. Taking computers to bits was not what I wanted to do, and it was too late to change.

    After that I ended up doing a Business Administration NVQ which was basically Maggie Thatcher's Youth Training Scheme, and worked in insurance for two years for less than £30 a week, this was at the age of 16. And they say slave labour was dead?? I was promised a 'proper' job at the end of it, which is the only reason I stuck it out for so long. A week before I was due to finish my NVQ, I got a polite "fuck off" from the office manager, who basically could go on taking more slaves instead of paying me properly. Spent four years unemployed after that, thanks to my brilliant be-all and end-all NVQ!

    Then I got a job at Gremlin Interactive in QA, where I did four months before I moved into motion capture and my salary doubled. Thought I'd finally found my vocation in life, until three years later when Infogrames bought them out and I got made redundant in 2003, at the time my then-wife was eight months pregnant. So, that went down like a lead balloon and I have resented Infogrames (now Atari) ever since. Got a job with a small software publisher a few months later, and got the boot from there as well just over a year later. The games market around South Yorkshire was a little 'dried up' at the time so I ended up taking a crap job at British Gas Customer Services, which I hated with every fibre of my being. Left there in 2005 due to stress (and my mum being ill, and a divorce).

    By this time you can appreciate that I was sick of being shat upon. Ended up on antidepressants, pushed to the brink of a nervous breakdown in 2006, and a load of stuff happening that I don't want to talk about in 2007, and I'm still not right even now - still on medication and pigeon-holed as being a 'mentally ill' lost cause. So rather than spend the rest of my days being stressed and shit upon by people in suits who don't do any work on the next floor up, decided to give it all the two-finger salute and write games. I don't have to do a job I detest, I don't have a commute, which is good as I don't like to drive any more. I don't have to be around people (I literally cannot stand being in crowded places), and I'll never make myself redundant, so it seemed like the sensible way to go.

    At least this way I have a slim chance of retaining what bit of my sanity I have left.
     
  8. dillweeds

    dillweeds New Member

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    I'm from the music side of things, so for me it was just natural. I'd be awful at making games for big companies. I could, I guess, but they'd get lost in the shuffle. Just as with music, I need something to be passionate about and explore.

    I think the best thing I've brought with me from the music industry is that even if you're on a major label - you're still on your own. In fact, some of my favorite bands have been on majors and just completely bombed and got dropped, but they didn't lose an ounce of credibility (some even put out their best albums on majors) and the ones who treated it the best got big cash injections.

    I think that gives me a bit of a leg-up when it comes to the indie game thing, because I've been a part of something where everybody but the people actually conceiving the art and creating the product are employed and on salaries.
     
  9. James Coote

    James Coote New Member

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    Because I was young and naive!

    I did computer science at university because I thought that was what you needed to do to get a job in games. Didn't realise there were all these other jobs in the industry that required all sorts of other skills. This was back in 2005, when games were made by big studios and hundreds of people.

    After uni, I went backpacking, and when I came back, worked for my Dad for 6 months helping his company develop an app. I heard that making games for mobile was something even a one man band could achieve and be successful on, so I started my career in games as an indie. That was over a year ago, and I wonder whether it would have been better to go into an established company for a while, rather than try to go it alone with no experience. I guess I've learned things I never would have working for someone else, but things certainly have gone a lot slower due to me making noob mistakes along the way
     
  10. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I don't really agree with that. You need to be writing games that will be selling when they're finished and that greatly limits what you can do.

    If you're writing games for yourself, you will fail*. If you're writing games with your target audience in mind regardless of your own genre preference, then you've a fighting chance.

    * = most likely.
     

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