GamerKnight is a professional programmer, who started programming when he was just thirteen years old. He was employed as a full time programmer at the age of seventeen. At the age of twenty one, he made the risky move of working for himself as a freelance developer, and has never been happier. He has worked as a developer in non-game related fields for many years, and is looking to break into the game dev market through small indie based games. GamerKnight has experience with multiple platforms and has developed software in a range of languages from .Net based applications on Windows, Objective C on the Mac, and C++ on Linux. I am always looking to meet new people who are serious about games development. Feel free to send me a PM with your thoughts or questions I will do my best to help out.
Indie Games Are dead?
Indie Games Are dead? Of course not that is a stupid question. But a questions that a few crazy people seem to be being up the past few days. Clearly indie games are not dead, there is still a huge audience activly looking, funding and buying indie games. You just have to look at the stats and sales on IndieDB, Desura, and Steam to see this is crazy talk.
Hell Steam, one of the biggest digital distributors in the industry just Launched its Greenlight service to help Indie Devs get their games out there, why? Because they see it as a viable business opportunity to invest it.
Just for the money
Any Indie Dev that goes in just for the money is going to fail. I could easily make 10x as much money in half the time using my programming skills to write boring business applications. But I don't, because I am in it for the games, to make something unique and interesting.
Indie Dev is hard work if you are not in it for the games, you will not make it to the end. Ask any serious IndieDev they will tell you two things. One, i wish i could sleep more, and two how they take their daily caffine hits (Coca Cola, Tea, Coffee, UndeadFred Zombie Cookie Cutters, Mana Energy Potion) that wasnt a joke they are real: Thinkgeek.com
A small collection of Indie Games do become successfull and most do fail. Becuases teams go in with huge ambitions of making lots of money in a couple of months and making a AAA game. When in fact that is completely the wrong approuch. Trying to compete with a AAA studio is crazy, they have more time, money, marketing budgets, and people. The area Indie Games really shine in is trying unique and interesting core game play mechanics. The kind of mechanics that a AAA studio would not risk the cost of a full team of developers on, because they are not "Market Proven".
Like any buissness venture you need to know your market. Indies Gamers are not looking for AAA games or another Call of Duty clone. They are looking for something different, something unique, something fun, something that is not just another AAA clone with new models and textures.
I am hoping someone will back me up here, I am starting to second guess my own decisions (I need sleep), these kinds of people make me want to give up.
Am i wrong here guys and gals?
A few years a go when I first started to get serious about programming my own game I thought this would be easy. I thought to myself I play games all the time. I would totally make the best game in the world. I will write up a games design document this week and release a game in a few months.
Obviously to any one that has been doing it for a serious length of time knows this is not true. Its so dam hard to get GOOD game concept written down. Sure your ideas sound great in your head, but trying to define the core mechanics of a game, into sound coherent written form is a nightmare. Its both fun, frustrating and just down right time consuming. No wonder so many people never make it to release.
Then you get the people that think that a games core elements don't even need to be defined, you can just make the game up as you go along. I am a firm believer that this is not true, sure the game changes over time, it evolves and the original idea is just a distant memory. But the core mechanics, the core elements stay the same throughout the life cycle of the project, and ultimately define what the game is about and what challenges the player faces.
In my eyes a game is a set of core mechanics and challenges, both of which are intertwined. The core mechanics define how the player interacts with the world and how the world offers feedback to the players input. Challenges come in many forums but follow a simple principle. A player is faced with a task, if he succeeds he is reworded, if he fails he is punished. An example of which could be anything from moment in a platformer, all the way up to collecting and moving items around to solve a puzzle, hell even a head shot.
What is my point here, to be honest I am not so sure any more. What I am really looking for here is to know what you guys and gals think about games design and the importance of writing a solid games design document. Or how do you go about creating games and getting your ideas out there. I can not be the only one faced with these issues.