sábado, 27 de abril de 2013

What, Why and How?

The purpose of this post is to answer three fundamental questions:

  1. What is an indie developer?
  2. Why do I want to become one?
  3. How can anyone become one?

Regarding the first question, you may find several definitions out there and a very interesting reflection about Derek Yu here. In summary and from my viewpoint, an independent developer has usually no publisher behind. I say 'usually' because during the last years some companies have launched frameworks to help developers to create games for their platforms. As an example, Microsoft's XNA.

The main advantage of indie developers is that they can create whatever they want, without the fear of being analyzed or penalized by a 'superior entity' that judges whether the game adjusts or not to some pre-defined standards. On the downside, resources and budget are often much more limited. However, this can be turned into an additional advantage if these limitations push you to pursuit a simple but original idea.

Last part of the previous paragraph answers question 2). I want to become indie because I want to create my own games, and I want to transmit something more. Jonathan Blow states that videogames should aim to create an added value beyond fun. And I completely agree. The game industry is still immature, as it was the industry of cinema during the first two or three decades of the XX century. As in the case of cinema in its early days, games are often seen nowadays as a technical challenge that can engage players into fun mechanics. However, I think that as the game industry evolves, this vision will also evolve towards considering games another form of art; and art moves people, makes people think and changes their world and set of beliefs. This, in my opinion, must be the ultimate goal of videogames. We have to stop thinking in the simple terms fun or entertainment, uncover the blue velvet and look inside: we may discover something fabulous.

Regarding question 3), the answer is simple: you can become an indie developer by... simply making a game. Ok, this may not be as straightforward as it seems, but I guess that it must be definitely easier than you're thinking right now. And I will guide you through this process by posting my own experience, the difficulties I find on the way and how I get over them (fortunately I will...).

See you in the next post!

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