Indie games it's like indie games only

    Indie developer must be insane. Madness is very useful - it pushes risks, strengthens motivation and, like morphine, reduces the pain of failure.

    Back to the past

    Currently, the concept of an indie developer has become much broader than it was 10 years ago. Roughly speaking, now indie is understood as any developer who makes the game at his own expense without the influence of the publisher. And it doesn’t matter what the budget of his project is - $ 0 or $ 10,000,000. And the composition of the team can vary from one to several dozen people in the team.

    And once upon a time, indie developers were called single people who made the entire game themselves, implementing almost all of the content and code on their own. They were idealists, and, as a hungry artist, they did not care how popular their game would be - it was important to express themselves and show the public their original views.

    Now under the concept of Indie fall both the first and second. I even have a theory of the origin of this word: from Individual (Indi) and Independent (Inde). As you can see, the abbreviations of these two concepts are quite similar, it remains only to use the last letters i and e at the same time, and we get a universal concept - Indie. There are many theories about the origin of this word on the Internet, and now you know one more.

    Flappy Bird (The developer on this free game earned $ 50,000 a day )

    Insomnia (A very stylish and atmospheric game from our developers from Samara)

    Indie is fashionable

    There are many fairly large development studios that call themselves Indie. What for?
    It's simple - it increases the loyalty of the players. Adds points of “rebellion” of this studio, creating the background as if the game goes against the mainstream.

    Hawken - Indie Game . Did you know? And did she also know that she had a budget of $ 20 million ?
    And what did professionals with ten years of experience in the largest studios do, did you know?


    But technically they are Indie. However, how can we verify that they really do not depend on the opinions of those people who invested money in them?

    No way.

    I would then also call Halo Indie a game - in any case, the first one for sure.

    True indie

    But there are many other Indies such as Amnesia, Overgrowth, Dustforce, Meatboy and others.



    There are more arthouse and more popular projects, but they have one thing in common - what I consider to be the key in the concept of Indie developers. And this is not independence from the publisher and other people's opinions, but independence from the mainstream. That is, an emphasis on a niche audience, fans of a genre, mechanics, visual style, etc.

    As a rule, a niche audience for large investors / publishers looks too risky and not profitable.But this is the difference between an indie developer and a large company. They want to make an interesting game in the first place, and the proceeds from it are the result of the interest of the audience and the opportunity to continue to make interesting and original games further. The interests of the mainstream companies are to make a game that will catch the widest possible audience and bring maximum profit.

    Indie give birth to mainstream

    Some indie games “shoot” and significantly affect the mainstream, for example, Minecraft.
    This game has opened a whole genre in which EA or Ubisoft would hardly have popped into it.
    And now we see Project Spark from Microsoft and Everquest Next Landmark from Sony, exploiting the idea of ​​"create the world yourself" to the fullest. And I must say, they do it - it looks promising.

    Project Spark

    Everquest Next Landmark

    It is unlikely that Notch foresaw the future - he just did what he was interested in and did not stop when the evil haters watered him and his ideas with various unpleasant substances. That is, madness and faith defeated logic and rationalism. Unfortunately, there are only a few such examples in thousands of indie projects.

    Indie is not about money

    The greatness of indie is their own flaw. The originality of the idea, innovative implementations, quiet development years - all this does not guarantee that your game will bring you more than one or two thousand dollars. There can be no guarantees at all if you do not already have a well-promoted company name or title. For every success story, there are a huge number of failed projects that you will never know about. The most interesting thing is that many of them fail, not because they are bad, but because "the stars did not agree." Few postmortemists write, and even less about the gaming media write about them, because it’s much more interesting to write a story about a guy who created the game alone and became a millionaire, earning $ 50,000 a day.

    And all those stories that have become sensational, usually do not mention that the developer had done a dozen unsuccessful games before, worked for 5-10 years in various unknown companies and, without losing interest, continued to create what was interesting to him. And all because real indies is not about money.

    Dear Esther (A magnificent contemplative walker made by one person. You can read about his ups and downs, hunger and success in this post )

    Sometimes such stories are shot, but more often than not. Do not think that your game will be another minecraft, but you should not stop.
    The likelihood that you will succeed is much higher if you are doing something than if you are not doing anything!

    Kickstarter and Greenlights

    We live in an interesting time. As Galenkin said, before people played but did not pay, now they pay but do not play.
    No matter how absurd it may sound, there is one key point. Now everyone can have a hand in creating such a game, about which “jva” of the year dreamed! It doesn’t matter whether you work as a dentist, a sailor or make dumplings, now you have the opportunity to get the game that you dreamed about since childhood. It is enough to go to Kickstarter, and in the huge list of various projects you can find something that will make your heart beat faster.

    FRONTIERS (A game comparable in size to the world with Skyrim and made by one person)

    And thanks to Steam Early Access, it became possible not to wait several years before the end of the project, but to play it already tomorrow, leaving a comment personally to the developers and advising what could be improved in their project. This communion is the new magic that has changed the world of indie games, and continues to do so to this day.

    The most interesting thing is that some large companies are already looking at a similar distribution model of their games.

    But not everything is as rosy as it might seem at first glance. Do you remember? There is always a negative side.

    Sony + Microsoft + Indie

    At the moment, we can observe, in a sense, victory, the rise of the indies. This is evidenced by their recognition by the mainstream market, as well as by companies such as Sony and Microsoft. Having officially announced their support for indie, they actually show how serious this market has become. As I wrote above, indie is user loyalty and a new trend all rolled into one.

    The Witness Playstation exclusive by Jonathan Blow (Braid developer)

    However, not everything is as clean as it seems at first glance. For example, some well-known indie developers in their interviews have repeatedly talked about very serious limitations in selecting projects for XBox and Playstation. And we are talking not only about the quality of the game, but about its potential from the point of view of platform holders. For example, if you have a big name and / or your game has already been sold on a PC in a million copies, then this game has good potential on consoles.

    Forward to the future

    Looking at how and at what speed changes are taking place in the industry, it is difficult to call this a kind of final stage - most likely, now we see a fast-moving train. And no one knows where his terminal station is. A year ago, one could say that self-financing by the players is the “depot” in which everything will stop, but now the “kickstarts” are full of various games, and every new project has less chances.

    Gabe believes that games have a future in the form of services where players themselves produce content, and they also make money on it. More and more online gaming stores are announcing the launch of their Early Access counterparts .

    According to Valve, some of the TF2 hatcoders make a lot of money.

    On the other hand, every beginner now has a huge arsenal of engines, bundles with assets in virtual stores, a lot of video tutorials on YouTube, so you can make a prototype of your game in a couple of evenings, and after a couple of months go through Greenlight and continue to make the game at the expense of players.

    But is it that simple? Obviously not. To find its popularity, a novice developer will have to make a lot of efforts, however, the scheme described above undoubtedly has prospects.

    Starbound (The game from the Terraria developers earned the first million dollars through pre-orders on their site before the first playable version was released. Now their website displays a figure of 4 million dollars )

    I won’t be surprised if tomorrow the players will “finance” individual game features, for example, introducing the character’s ability to see through the wall will collect his little kickstarter, and the game mode for the naked heroine can really hit the jackpot or, on the contrary, cause indignation of fans.

    As a result, the game will look like a menu, and what “try” from it, players will choose for themselves and pay from their own pockets. I don’t know how likely this is or whether it will be good - but such a development of events will not really surprise me.

    I am sure of one thing - these are very interesting and unpredictable times for the indie scene, because in the bowels of tons of slag sometimes really interesting ideas are born that direct the development of the entire industry into a new, unknown future. And each of us can have a hand in this, regardless of which side of the barricade it is on.

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