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Indie Game Devs Should Give Up 226

Red Herring is covering an indie game panel held this week at E3, at which Warren Spector essentially told independent game developers to just give up now. From the article: "Fellow panelists echoed Mr. Spector's sentiments, telling a room full of game company representatives, industry consultants, and members of the media that the path to entering the $7-billion market is fraught with more pitfalls than Tomb Raider. While opportunities do exist, small companies and startups find it difficult to secure funding and distribution for their work. They often have to deal with past projects that pigeonhole them and potentially hamper future expansion."
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Indie Game Devs Should Give Up

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  • Yeah (Score:5, Funny)

    by linvir ( 970218 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:33PM (#15321515)
    All your game industry are belong to us.
    You have no change to survive make your time.
  • NO NO NO!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:33PM (#15321517) Homepage Journal
    No, they should not.
    Creativity is vital, and an indi dev gets more lattitude than any shop dev would. Hopefully the big shops will be less afraid and buy indie title rights (funding the dev for their next title) and enhance it into mainstream.
    -nB
    • Hopefully...
      Hopefully, Sarah Gellar will leave that Prinz dude and realize that I'm the man of her dreams. But let's talk reality...
      • Re:NO NO NO!! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by networkBoy ( 774728 )
        True enough, I just don't want people to give up.
        I buy through allofmp3 for mainstream stuff often, but a good indie group, I buy the CD(or a good mainstream group for that mater, but I make an effort on the case of the indie).

        Maybe if there was some good disti method for indies that was low cost (say $3.00 overhead per title on average) then there would be more sales of small games. I know it would work for me. I rarely have time for games, but I can justify $10 for a game that I'll play for maybe 20 hou
        • Starting an indie band is nothing like developing a game. Anybody who can play and has access to recording equipment can get an MP3 onto the net. To get a game out that anybody wants to play requires a huge layout in people, software, and hardware.
          • Re:NO NO NO!! (Score:4, Insightful)

            by sheol ( 153979 ) <recluce&gmail,com> on Friday May 12, 2006 @08:19PM (#15322623)

            Have you ever started an indie band? How about an indie software company? I think that perhaps you really don't know what you're talking about, either way.

            Anybody who can play and has access to recording equipment can get an MP3 onto the net.

            Anyone who can write a few thousand lines of code and has a computer can get a game onto the net, just the same as an indie band. You qualify the latter half of your statement with "a game ... that anybody wants to play" without also qualifying the former with "music that anybody wants to hear."

            Either of these undertakings require an incredible amount of skill, and an incredible amount of time and dedication to produce a quality result - one that people want.

            • Anyone who can write a few thousand lines of code and has a computer can get a game onto the net...
              Like I said, we're not talking about remakes of Tetris.
            • I'm a programmer with a commercial game publish. My brother is a musician. Getting a music CD made is just as much work as creating "garage game".

              To make a music CD or even an MP3 you can't just record a live a gig and put it out - no one will listen to it unless you have an established following for live concerts. Getting to the stage where a band can get regular local live gigs is HARD. You think managing programmers is hard? Try managing musicians.

              To create a good music CD you have to do the following

  • Hrmph (Score:5, Insightful)

    by revlayle ( 964221 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:33PM (#15321520) Homepage
    Certainly didn't stop PopCap... ;)
  • by 9mm Censor ( 705379 ) * on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:35PM (#15321538) Homepage
    If Indie companies want to compete with the big boys, dont try to do so as a "big boy" do so as an Indie. You dont need huge ammounts of funding to make games. If you have the talent and the ideas, then make games. Start small, self publish and re-invest in your company until it has grown until you can finance the projects you want to make. Have games you make, which you make money and hone your skills, be your stepping stones to a blockbuster, not VC funding.
    • self publish

      On which platform?

      • PC: Typically used with a screen too small to fit four players.
      • PS2: Lockout chip.
      • GameCube: Lockout chip.
      • Xbox: Lockout chip.
      • DS: Lockout chip.
      • PSP: Lockout chip.
      • GP2X: Tiny user base, and not sold in brick and mortar stores in English-speaking countries. Not many people have an idea that's strong enough to sell a $200 system by itself.
      • Smartphones provided by Verizon: Lockout chip.
      • Xbox 360: Lockout chip.
      • PS3: Lockout chip unless you buy the $600 version.
      • Wii: The big
      • "PC: Typically used with a screen too small to fit four players."

        Or you could use the magic of the internet to only show one screen per person. Theres also plenty of types of games where you don't need to splitscreen to have >1 person, like fighting games, party games(You Dont Know Jack is fun for the whole family), bomberman-style games, or any other number of innovative ideas.

      • PC: Typically used with a screen too small to fit four players.

        How is this a barrier to indie development?

      • "It also will be home to new games conceived by indie developers whose creativity is larger than their budgets."

        -- From http://wii.nintendo.com/hardware.html [nintendo.com] on the bit about Virtual Console.
      • PC: Typically used with a screen too small to fit four players.

        I realized you had to stretch to find something bad about the PC but that's all you could come up with, man that's lame. Four player spit screen is a workaround for a lack of networking, of having to get everyone in front of the same console and same TV. Now that console's are getting true networking you will see a move away from that. The console is moving towards the PC in this regard.
        • Four player spit screen

          Four player != split screen. Bomberman takes four players, but it doesn't need to split the screen, as the fixed camera shows the whole arena. Likewise, fighting games put 2 to 4 players in one shared view.

          is a workaround for a lack of networking

          If a family owns one PC, why should it need to buy three more PCs to play Bomberman?

          • If a family owns one PC, why should it need to buy three more PCs to play Bomberman?

            There you go, assuming all games are Bomberman. It's not like you aren't aware of them.

      • by jchenx ( 267053 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @08:44PM (#15322750) Journal
        PC: Typically used with a screen too small to fit four players.

        That doesn't make sense at all.

        First of all, the indie dev community is alive and well. You'll find most of them working on web games: from larger houses such as GameHouse and PopCap, to your Garage Games, Reflexive Entertainment, etc. You can play a lot of these games at sites like http://games.msn.com/ [msn.com] http://games.yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com] http://www.realarcade.com/ [realarcade.com] and more.

        Most of the games they make are single-player, but some can be multiplayer. And you're an idiot if you think that all multiplayer games must require broadband (as you alluded to in another comment).

        As for getting on consoles, MS is leading the way with Xbox Live Arcade, where you can find a number of games by indie titles. And they're selling quite well. Both Nintendo and Sony are hinting towards having downloadable games to consoles as well, although it's still unknown whether they are welcoming indie developers the same way. I would imagine they have to, and that would be a good thing.

        Now, if you're lamenting that an indie developer is never going to be able to create the next Halo or Madden title, then that's probably true ... since those games feature high production values. But that doesn't mean indie companies can't make fun games, or make money to boot. They can, and are.

        Once the indie developers start getting larger and have more capital, then you will see them start creating more traditional console titles. They'll work with the platform companies in the usual way, so they're more like regular developers now.
        • Additionally when it comes to PC games, if you're worried about cramming four people around a monitor then you're not playing the right game. PC games have been online for over a decade. Any developer, indie or otherwise, that decides to only offer up 4 player multiplay on a PC that requires four people to cram around a monitor probably SHOULD follow the advice of the article. They obviously are not developing to the strenghts of the platform and lare doomed to failure.
          • PC games have been online for over a decade.

            Online doesn't help in all situations. For instance, we have three school-age children in the same household and fewer than three PCs. How do they all play together? Are families expected to spend $2,400 to buy a router and four PCs if they want to play a four-player game?

            They obviously are not developing to the strenghts of the platform

            If the Games For Windows platform is the wrong target, then which platform is the correct target?

      • If you have the homebrew stuff, you can flash GBA/DS games that will run
        in any unmodified such handheld.
    • Obviously you don't work in the industry in any way. I work for a small yet well known game company that has a pretty good track record so I know the industry a bit, and its not something you can just ease into. Now a days, you have to have a big budget to be able to make anything that competes with games the big publishers are putting out because making games is probably one of the most difficult and expensive areas in software development. And self publishing? There's a little more to it than just put
  • by DaHat ( 247651 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:37PM (#15321542) Homepage
    Why not expand that to other areas... like music, sports and movies? Countless people want to be make it and become a professional musician, athlete, actor, etc.

    I don't think anyone would dispute the fact that few ever make it to such a level in such fields, but should that prevent a person from trying? Absolutely not? If people don't at least try to make good on their dreams they've got zero chance of making it... they just have to be realistic and recognize that they may not make it and have a backup plan... like an English or Communications major so that they can play football in college.
    • It's not quite a parallel situation. A better parallel might be to discourage people from trying to make it as a solo unpublished musician, or a professional athlete unassociated with any professional sports franchise, or an actor making only undistributed films .... it's very hard to be independent in most fields. If popcap can't make it big with their innovative, fun games, it's going to be that much harder for someone without even that kind of backing.

      People who want their own game house should go the
  • Sad... but True (Score:4, Insightful)

    by yeoua ( 86835 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:39PM (#15321554)
    Looking at where the game market is heading in terms of PC, PS3, and XBox360... more is better. People want their pretty graphics, isn't that the whole point of the PS3? HD this, Bluray that, massive res, cool lighting, explosions, gore...

    Except all of this content doesn't just magically appear when the hardware is made. Someone has to make it. And that someone has to be paid. So at this point, the entry into the big name game market is similar to the entry into the big name movie market. If you want to push out a blockbuster title in either industry, you have to put down the big bucks.

    Luckily... with the PC and Wii market, there is a chance for indy developers to make cheaper title that are still fun, similar to the small indy movie developers. It won't be huge in terms of special effects and big name actors, but it's still got a chance to be good. Good movies do not require millions upon millions of dollars, and the same with games.

    The sooner people realize a good game doesn't need great graphics (like how good movies don't need great special effects), the easier the lives of the indy guys.
    • Re:Sad... but True (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jchenx ( 267053 )
      You're also forgetting XBLA (Xbox Live Arcade), home to many popular indie titles: Bejeweled, Zuma, Outpost Kaloki, Wix: Fable of Souls, etc. You've got hundreds of indie developers clamoring to get on-board, which is "good thing" for gamers.

      It's still unknown whether or not the PS3 marketplace will have support for indie developers, or whether they will just continue to cater towards the big name companies. What they demoed in their press conference was Namco's Ridge Racer, downloaded onto their PSP, which
    • not entirely (Score:3, Insightful)

      by snuf23 ( 182335 )
      The "casual" game market has expanded substantially over the past few years. Companies like PopCap have been publishing lots of little games and seeing great success with ones like Bookworm and Bejewelled.
      Console networks such as Xbox Live are creating new ways for these little games to get into people's houses. Hopefully Nintendo's Wii and the PS3 will offer the same.
      Lower development costs also mean lower cost to sell the game. The same goes for distribution - no need for retail packaging and fighting for
  • by JanusFury ( 452699 ) <kevin.gadd@gmai l . c om> on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:41PM (#15321582) Homepage Journal
    If you actually RTFA, you see that he's specifically saying that indies shouldn't try to work with existing publishers like EA. He's not telling indies to give up entirely.
    • Agreed. The Slashdot summary should have used the last line of the article (which also happens to be a floating quote in very large type on the page):

      'Look where the big guys aren't. ... Embrace the chaos.'

      That point is stressed a number of times in the article: Don't try to compete with the offerings of huge companies. The result will be all budget and no substance, if you even manage to complete it at all.

      My favorite example of game innovation is still Tetris. It reinforces that the path to success is
  • by merreborn ( 853723 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:43PM (#15321601) Journal
    ...that indie game devs stand to make _more_ money than those working at game companies.

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/issue/8/14 [escapistmagazine.com]

    Great article.
    • Yeah, the big winners win, but thats rare these days, REALLY rare. Instead of dealing with EA and UBISOFT, your now dealing with MSN games and RealArcade, etc... that are charging upwards to 50%+ royalites just to distribute your games. The Indy market isnt what it was when bejewelled made millions.

      Dont bother coming back with the whole self publish line, as frankly without traffic driving your site, you arent going to get the sales. There are exceptions, but in the end they are exactly that, exception


      • Man, it takes virtually NOTHING to drive traffic to your site. Games? How about putting "CHECK OUT MY NeW GAME!" link in your sig on slashdot and posting in every single videogame discussion. You get traffic, trust me.

        As horrible as it sounds, use MySpace. You can generate a disgusting amount of traffic on there.

        Cough up the $100 - $700 it takes to get a press release out on PR web. That generates a suprising amount of traffic.

        It isn't that hard.
        • How about putting "CHECK OUT MY NeW GAME!" link in your sig on slashdot and posting in every single videogame discussion. You get traffic, trust me.

          I've tried that, but then people started foeing me for being "that guy who talks about Luminesweeper [pineight.com] in every freakin' thread that mentions the DS or PSP".

          • If your post isn't worth reading, you're just spamming. Make a worthwhile post and you won't piss people off. Besides, was the traffic worth it in spite of some foes?
    • Umm .. the article says the "big" money maker is the little known guy making upwards of high 6 figures or low 7 figures. But then it has John Carmack on that list as one of the guys that work for big companies that don't make that much.

      Whoever wrote that article isn't too smart. a) John gave away one of his ferraris, how do you think thresh got his start? b) as a hobby .. he builds rockets [armadilloaerospace.com]! That's not a cheap hobby.

      read for yourself [cyberfight.org]


      "I should say that after Doom II and Quake releases the id Softwareper has b
    • Lottery winners make even more. What's your point?
  • by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) * on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:44PM (#15321604) Homepage
    Don't "just give up". Instead, come to terms with the fact that you can't compete with the big guys on their home field. It's true that the bar is much, much higher for indies than it is for the big guys. A mediocre sports title from EA will still fly off the shelves; a mediocre sports title from Bob's Country Games Bunker will languish on Bob's own downloads page. You, the indie developer, have a very difficult--but entirely navigable road to success:

    1. Know your strengths and play to them.
    2. Know your weaknesses and how to compensate for them.
    3. HAVE A REALISTIC PLAN AND STICK TO IT.

    You may have a hand for sketches; put this to use in making creative game content. You may have an eye for scene; use this to construct compelling environments. You may have a knack for math and physics; use this to enhance your engine design. Basically, know what it is that you do well, and do it well. Yeah, "duh"--but it's very, very easy to lose sight of this once you get elbow-deep into game development. Your strengths can act as a catalyst to help you get through the more tedious parts of game development.

    That said, know and accept your limitations. Mine is time management; I'm absolutely miserable at keeping on schedule, and it shows in the fact that I've been sitting on a half-finished tech demo for the past couple months. If art isn't your strong suit, avoid making games people expect to be "pretty", and do something novel with words or physics instead. If you can't write dialogue to save your life, don't make a story-driven RPG.

    Finally, and most importantly, make a plan and do your best to stick to it. Avoid feature creep like the plague; it is virtually guaranteed to sink your project. If you think of something cool to add on, make note of it and do it after you finish the current version. Don't bite off more than you can chew; ask yourself what you think you could realistically accomplish in twelve months, then cut that estimate in half. Save your masterpiece for later; get a few basic titles under your belt before you embark on that grand quest. Don't get hung up on any one aspect of the game; if you're constantly unhappy with something, walk away from it for a few weeks, focus on some other part of the game, then come back to it and try again. Don't just dive headlong into making your game. You'll just end up with a spaghetti mess of nothing particularly good. (Of course, once again, I could benefit from a bit more of my own medicine, but I digress. Do as I say...)

    You're never going to be able to go toe-to-toe with the Big Boys and win. You stand just as much of a chance as running faster than a Ferarri in a 100-meter dash. Instead, poke around and find one of the many, many, many niches that the Big Boys simply don't cater to. Remember, though they'll beat you at their own game, they're not interested in anything that won't make them lots and lots of money; if they don't even show up for the game, you've got a real chance at winning. You'll never beat them at making a realistic football game. You can bypass them entirely by making a wacky football game with exaggerated physics, corny sounds, and goofy images. If people like playing it, you'll be in business--regardless of whether or not it has AAA production values!

    • by mcvos ( 645701 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @08:38PM (#15322723)
      Don't "just give up". Instead, come to terms with the fact that you can't compete with the big guys on their home field.
      Although the summary doesn't sound like it, this is exactly the message of TFA. "Just give up" would make no sense whatsoever; there are tons of successful indie game companies.
      1. Know your strengths and play to them.
      2. Know your weaknesses and how to compensate for them.
      3. HAVE A REALISTIC PLAN AND STICK TO IT.
      That sounds pretty much like what I'm planning to do. I'm hoping to make a start in the game business (and I'm probably one of the millions), and I figured it's best to focus on a niche that I know and love, that'd not too demanding in areas I'm not so good at, and has lots of room for improvement and good ideas. So I'm going to make complex strategy games.

      There are lots of 2-man teams writing good strategy games, gamers are still enthousiastic about 11 year old graphicsless games like Stars!, and although I love the genre, with every game I play, I see tons of things that could be improved, the most important one being the AI; it's usually awful, while I majored in AI and am reasonably good at strategy games myself. Sounds like this is exactly where my strengths lie and where my weaknesses (graphics) don't matter too much. So it's a tiny niche, it's still big enough for me. I don't expect millions, but making a living this way would be really nice.

      The plan: choose a game that's not too hard to write, get the basics working, and release it. If it's not good enough to ask money for it, just give it away, so people can try it and want more. Meanwhile, that's what I'll be writing: better interface, better AI, more depth, possibilities and what have you, and the next version is going to be sold for actual money. If I can sell 5000 copies for $10 each, I can eat for a year. Doesn't sound too ambitious, I think. I hope.

      Ofcourse I have no idea if this will work, but hopefully you'll know in a year. Maybe two; I haven't quit my day job yet.

      • If I can sell 5000 copies for $10 each, I can eat for a year. Doesn't sound too ambitious, I think. I hope.

        That's actually a pretty ambitious goal, but it certainly isn't outside the realm of possibility. More important is that you're clearly approaching this with a level head, which will be a lifesaver further down the line. While you're planning, consider some of the other essential facets of strategery games and tick off how you fare at them. A few off the top of my head: scenario-building, unit bal

        • Oh, horsehockey. If you want to do it, do it right. First thing, go out and lease the most office space you can afford. Second, make sure the office is set up "properly", or you'll never attract the kinds of investors you need. Third, use the incoming investment money to lease the most powerful servers and workstations money can buy. Fourth, hire fresh-out-of-college kids for as much as you can afford to pay them. You want the best, don't you? Money==skill is a rule to live by. Sixth, with everythin
  • Way to go! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cubicledrone ( 681598 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:46PM (#15321615)
    Give up now! You cannot overcome the intertia of middle management! Twelve publishers passed on Harry Potter! Disney passed on Lord of the Rings! Skeptics always become middle managers and when they say "it'll never work" they are ALWAYS WRONG.

    Once success is achieved the cynics and the skeptics sneer with open contempt at the new ideas and the people who build them. Nothing turns my stomach more than the entitlement attitude of tall dollars. The arrogance is so repulsive there are few words to describe it. Business builds walls around the "free market" and then tells everyone how fucking stupid they are for not being able to figure out how to be an "entrepreneur."

    The fact is we, as a society, HATE ENTREPRENEURS and we do EVERYTHING WE CAN POSSIBLY DO to THWART and DEFEAT THEM. They're either "geeks" or "nerds" or circus acts on reality television after they got fired and laughed at on the other reality show.

    It makes me fucking sick. Congratulations, gentlemen. The game industry sucks ass. You got exactly what you wanted.

    • I'm not sure if you mean the movie or cartoon. However, Disney wanted Lord of the Rings, the cartoon. J.R.R. Tolkien told them no, based on Disney's inability to follow a story line.

      As for any thoughts I may have on big-name vs. indie games, A few years ago my wife wanted to buy a PS2. Her main reason for wanting the PS2 over the XBox was the complete lack of casual games for the XBox. As it happened, I won an XBox in a contest. We did pick up a couple of games for it, that are never played. I put Linux o
    • Re:Way to go! (Score:3, Insightful)

      Twelve publishers passed on Harry Potter! Disney passed on Lord of the Rings! Skeptics always become middle managers and when they say "it'll never work" they are ALWAYS WRONG.

      That's utter bullshit.

      For every Harry Potter that some publisher OUGHT to have snagged but decided not to, there's a slush pile a mile high of manuscripts that will never get published anywhere, because they're complete garbage.

      Sometimes when someone says "it'll never work" it's actually because It Never Will Work. Skepticism is heal
  • Really, this is like the big movie companies telling small indie movie producers that they don't have a shot in hell at getting a huge movie distribution deal. Duh. Of course the barriers to entry are monumental, but there are great indie films coming out all the time. Occasionally one will hit the radar of the big time and get picked up, but generally it is under recognized.

    However, indie film directors don't make films with the intent of securing a huge deal, they make them because they love the art. I assume the indie game producers think the same thing: I make games because I love the craft. If I happen to hit a big success, great... but it's not my driving motivation.

    Just an indication that the people on the panel are now tuned to business ideals, vs. the craft. Not surprising or unexpected, but still myopic. Fred.
    • The barrier for entry is almost non existant. Make a game, distribute on the web. Now if you mean the barrier for entry to get somethign distributed in major retailers, yes that's high, but you can just sell your game online if you like. People are used to that kind of thing and it does work. You won't get rich, but then getting rich is not the one and only yardstick of success.

      The Internet really is the ultimate equalizer for distribution. Provided what you are selling is something people accept as somethi
      • Re:Well with games (Score:2, Insightful)

        by linvir ( 970218 )
        You won't get rich, but then getting rich is not the one and only yardstick of success.
        And here we find the disconnect. To the sort of person who tells indie developers to "give up", getting rich is the one and only yardstick of success.
      • The barrier for entry is almost non existant. Make a game, distribute on the web

        The barrier is making the game. Making comics, blogging or producing a series of very short videos is a lot easier than making a game.

        I do think getting a good game deal is getting noticed and having a compelling project idea. Getting noticed might come in the form of collaborating on an open source or shareware game.
      • The barrier for entry is almost non existant. Make a game...
        That particular barrier is probably a tad bigger than you realize. Assuming, of course, that your game is more than just another Tetris clone.
    • Really, this is like the big movie companies telling small indie movie producers that they don't have a shot in hell at getting a huge movie distribution deal. Duh. Of course the barriers to entry are monumental, but there are great indie films coming out all the time. Occasionally one will hit the radar of the big time and get picked up, but generally it is under recognized.

      If this were a publisher speaking, I'd agree. However, it's developers, who're having their own tough times getting their games fun
  • by umbrellasd ( 876984 ) on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:49PM (#15321628)
    Wait a minute. My marriage feels like it costs me a billion dollars, there's definitely a billion pitfalls, and my wife has had me pigeonholed for years.

    Where were you when I needed you, Warren!

  • Shut the fuck up. There are many good indy games out there. Some of them even gain a fair amount of distribution. I like Marble Blast, I like Oasis, I like Bridge Builder. I don't care is Spector doesn't think things like that are worthwhile, I like them, I bought them.

    There's room in the market for all kind of games. There's room for multi-million dollar blockbusters that have tons of good art and music, there's room for simple, quick 2D games. There's room for games so simple you just walk around and shoo
  • by goofyheadedpunk ( 807517 ) <goofyheadedpunk@@@gmail...com> on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:53PM (#15321674)
    I don't know, that sounds pretty familiar. Hmm... let's try this:

    Fellow panelists echoed this sentiments, telling a room full of scruffy hackers, academics, and professional software developers that moonlight as "free" software hackers that the path to entering the $7-billion market is fraught with more pitfalls than DOS boxes running BBSes. While opportunities for hobbyists do exist, no serious software can be supported by any less than paid programmers working for corporations. Hobbyists often have to deal with past projects that pigeonhole them and potentially hamper future expansion.

    I am of the opinion that Free (think freedom) games can do very well in the current climate, assuming that you don't play the same rules as everyone. Games that are simple at their core but allow for easy community extension and are backed with a strong sense of what the eventual story should be, while putting an emphasis on the game actually being fun to play could probably get a sizable following. Sure, you won't make millions and you won't be able to animate the fur of the rats in your film-noir inspired MMORPG revenge game, but you and a bunch of other people might have fun with it.

    That's the point of games, to have fun (and maybe learn), right?
  • Warren Spectors perspective on this subject is entirely one dimensional. He assumes that all Indie developers want to do is makes games so they can strike it rich and be successful.

    I develop and publish independant games for fun. I always set the bar as high as possible and I try to create as great a piece of entertainment as I can under my limitations. Human kind did not give birth to entertainment and media to make money. It was formed because people had stories to tell and ideas to share.

    So do not tel
  • Independent content authors of any kind have never had bigger opportunities to topple the big guys. Of course, by "topple the big guys" I really mean "become one of the big guys," but that's really the goal anyway.
  • An example (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Hylis ( 956571 )
    Three years ago, I had an advice from a ultimately big publisher, responsible of european aquisition:"maybe you can try to do something else than games on PC or console" clearly meaning:"just give up".

    Now, we have sold our first half million of PC games. And with a free game released in january, we have one million new player every month. On Gamespy online players, we would always be in the top10, and first in it's gendra: car racing. Our game rank more than 80% on Metacritic. We made our first game with on
  • I don't know about any others but i bought some games from william soleau long long ago. He seems to still be making out ok in his little niche. Looks like a 3+ person operation now. Great little logic puzzles and stuff. Oilcap was one of my favorite DOS games, recently bought a windows version and more from him.

    The other one i remember was Moraffware who also seems to still be around, tho pretty quiet for awhile it seems. Nonetheless i may buy a CD of his stuff :) I remember his cause i had some logic game
  • When Valve announced Steam I'll admit I was skeptical it would be a success, but it certainly has been. The thing is, while development costs of games are undoubtedly skyrocketing with the ever increasing focus on high-end graphics and audio, new distribution avenues are coming available that are, for the first time ever, a potentially viable alternative to obtaining shelf space at K-Mart. Online distribution alone may not yet result in enough revenue to pay for the development of a modern title, but it m
  • Face it, you can't create the next shooter smashhit with a small budget. For that, you need a LOT of good coders, good artists, good modellers, good ... everything.

    Yes, you could in theory do it as an indie project. But the time it would take definitly kicks you out of the loop. By the time you're ready for beta, the development of technology went past you.

    As an indi dev, your chance is elsewhere. Aside of the mainstream market. So instead of competing with the studios that have more money than you'll ever
  • by cliffski ( 65094 ) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @03:38AM (#15323870) Homepage
    When I worked at Lionhead, I used to get this lecture every year or so. I even heard it from peter before I started work there. It goes like this:

    Indie gaming is doomed
    you wont sell any copies
    nobody wants small games
    you will end up penniless and hungry

    It always was, always is, and probably always will be total bullshit.
    Yet peter (and now warren) crank it out for one very good reason

    THEY DONT WANT TO LOSE GOOD STAFF

    the best devs you have are the ones most likely to go start their own company. Lionhead has lost its entire R&D team and most of its good coders (fable team excepted) in the last 6 months, mainly to start their own companies. Peter has always tried to tell people 'for their own good' not to try it.

    Funnily enough, when I left them, my indie game (www.democracygame.com) was successfull and profitable, and pays my living expenses right now. In contrast, Black and White 2 and The Movies made way less than they cost to make.
    I think its desperately sad that 'big name designers' who once were passionate about making great games now go OUT OF THEIR WAY to ensure other people dont do what they did.
    Fuck em.
    • When I worked at Lionhead, I used to get this lecture every year or so.
      ...
      It always was, always is, and probably always will be total bullshit.
      Yet peter (and now warren) crank it out for one very good reason

      THEY DONT WANT TO LOSE GOOD STAFF



      Grats on Democracy, I enjoyed it.

      However, that's not my read of the message here. I think they're saying that small developers who are reaching for the stars and trying to compete in the same budget space with big publishers are bound to fail. Some Spector quot
      • Yes on that last bit he was spot on. But their assumption is that any game that isn't 'triple A budget' is some kind of amateurish niche. I may be overreacting, but I've heard the same 'indies are doomed, dont even try' mantra from the big boys for at least 5 years, and its less applicable now than it ever has been.
  • Alien Hominid.
  • I think the solution is small market niche games. Back in the 1980s people wrote games and the most successful games sold a fraction of what a disaster sells today. Popcap is a great example of a successful niche player. There are tons of niches, from speciality interests (think about the diversity in games that existed 15-20 years ago), to specialty platforms (why isn't there even one good Solaris game?), to training type games. Small staff, small budgets, limited interests, small sales that easily mak
  • I was at this panel, and that's not what Warren Spector said at all. I don't have the recordings yet, so I can't get him verbatim. However, it's worth noting that Warren is creating a startup right now, something he said when they asked him to introduce himself; he clearly wouldn't have done that if he believed this was the wrong time. What Mr. Spector actually did say was that this was a difficult time for startups. He gave some brutal truths in particular as surrounds funding. He said that this wasn'
  • Wrong.
    OSS/Indie gaming will shake the market. Just not right now. One of the most successfull games ever, Counterstrike, is a friggin *freeware* mod. Now imagine an OSS 3D engine like CrystalSpace combined with a tool like Blender. That scares the piss out of publishers like EA.

    Who is going to buy Unreal Tournament 2009 when you can build it? Gamingbusiness will be all about services just like the other parts of IT and Media, it will only take longer because leveraging the technology takes more work.
    You won

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