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    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2011
    I have the videogame fever, and it's not for the latest console game.

    I'm curious to soak up as much knowledge about people who self-publish their own games. What platforms have you released on (iPhone/Android, Xbox arcade, your own Flash game, Facebook, etc)? Do you do it all yourself or do you have a crack team of developers? Have you had any hardships in your development? Is your end goal to become your own game studio or just sell it off to a bigger company for a large pay off? Or are you operating by the seat of your pants, releasing things left and right for free like a digital Santa Claus? And of course, show me your games!

    My interest is, of course, that I wanna do it. I have one Great Idea and it's burning up my brain, desperate to get out into the world. I have a modest plan of development and for release and I wrangled a writer, an animator, a programmer and an illustrator (myself) who all believe in the Great Idea enough to do this in their spare time.
  1.  (9525.2) Coming soon. Looks amazing. Done by a friend of mine in Toronto. :) Get ahold of them.
  2.  (9525.3)
    Hey, I work with a popular indie arcade group in New York City known as Babycastles.

    The best advice I can give you is to jump into the existing indie development community. The TIGsource forums, the Experimental Gameplay Project, or any of dozens of communities that focus on a particular genre, development platform, or character.

    That'll be your grassroots support, and an archive of personal development stories.

    If you want to know what success looks like, Semi Secret Software (Canabalt, Gravity Hook, etc) have been pretty good about sharing their thoughts about indie development, marketing, and pricing, along with actual sales data. You might also be interested in the blog of 2D Boy, who have shared a lot of sales data about their indie game, World of Goo, across many platforms.

    You should also look for recordings of talks from the Indie Games Summit. There are probably a handful on youtube, to start with.

    In general, if you can afford to make a thing in your spare time, that's a good way to start. Build a reputation, get some dev experience, and see if game development is something you really want to do. Finishing games can be pretty hard, and the general rule is that you have to make 9 bad games to make 1 good one.

    If you already have some game titles under your belt, or at least some sort of software project, it might be possible that you could discuss a commercial release for your first project. The indie dev community is actually pretty supportive, generally. Make some friends and ask people who have done it directly. They'll be happy to tell you what you need. Go to GDC and drink with other indie developers at parties.

    And you could always apply to The Indie Fund.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2011
    Finishing games can be pretty hard

    This. I see so many kids posting on our company forum trying to recruit people to make the next 'big MMO' with them, and they always fail because they've aimed too high and so don't ever finish anything.

    Start small, and get something completed. Anything. Even if it sucks. That's the best advice I can give really.
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2011
    @Flabyo Yea, that's pretty much our plan. Make a game that isn't overly complex or long - don't try to reinvent game play or go crazy on it. Once we finish something, we can try for something more challenging. Besides, some of my favourite games are just simple concepts done cleverly.

    @Ben Johnson Hey neighbor! I know of you guys - I sometimes pop into Silent Barn and I've seen your games playing there. Good stuff!
    Thanks for the long list of resources. This'll definitely be of help to myself & my team. I have no idea the how/when/where of indie developer gatherings though, aside from peeking in on a few hack/workspace parties.
  3.  (9525.6)
    Well last night I was at a meet 'n' drink at Barcade, and that had a good mix of developers from various local game industry pools.

    The various talks at NYU GameCenter draw in some of the community, too. Babycastles events can also bring in some of the indie crowd, and we usually try to get developers from out of town to swing by when we're able. All of these organizations are available on Facebook/Twitter for all of your calendar filling needs.

    There's a lot of interest in trying to build a sustainable, profitable game development scene in New York, so if you can actually stay motivated enough to finish a thing, there will be plenty of people who will be happy to help raise awareness.
  4.  (9525.7)
    There are no "big" studios in NY though, right ? Actually, big is not necessarily the term anymore as some casual games companies are far bigger than the ones I've worked for :). I meant people who make games for PS3/360, mostly. Last time I checked there was only Kaos (and I really dislike their games), and apart from that I was only aware of some mobile devs like Gameloft and PR/admin stuff for companies like Rockstar.

    It always seemed weird to me, there are tons of games companies in California, in Seattle, Boston, etc. but not in NY...
  5.  (9525.8)
    It's because office space in New York is fucking expensive, it has a smaller pool of tech oriented schools to pull new talent from, and it's not really a big technology hub city like Seattle and the Silicon Valley and parts of LA..
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2011 edited
    Expanding on that, historically a lot of the bigger (US) games companies were founded using venture capital money, and the bulk of that came out of Silicon Valley. Once you're moved there, you tend to want to stay in the area when the inevitable splinter companies get started up (Activision from Atari etc...)

    The biggest cities for development at the moment are probably San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Dallas, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, London (well, the home counties really), Paris, Tokyo, Kyoto and Shanghai.

    There are a lot of games developers in Guildford (where I am) for the whole 'splinter companies don't end up far from the tree' reason (Bullfrog in this case), and Leamington Spa also (because of Codemasters).

    The UK being physically smaller means that distance from the tech uni's doesn't factor in nearly as much. Although a lot of people from my old uni (Warwick) did end up working in the games companies in that area.

    Canada is starting to dominate simply because of all the government tax breaks they're offering to the industry at the moment. Big brain drain going from here to there at the moment and everyone here seems to be at a loss as to how to stop it.

    But indie dev? You can do that anywhere that you can get a couple of people together that has wi-fi.
  6.  (9525.10)
    Zynga just bought Area/Code, and the rumor is that they just secured $7b in venture capital, or something like that, so I wouldn't be surprised if they grow in a big way this year.

    THQ owns Kaos Studios in lower midtown, which is the only Triple-A dev studio in the city. They'll probably stick around unless Homefront falls on its face when it comes out in March.

    And there's a slew of small studios that do advergaming projects for Adult Swim and various Madison Avenue ad companies.

    One of Babycastles' missions is to foster a culture of game developmers in the city, and there are certainly plenty of academics and students interested in gaming at the various colleges around here. The NYU Global Game Jam had, I believe, the most participants at a single location anywhere in the United States. One of the main problems with game development in New York is that even if you do manage to find a game development job around here, if you ever want to leave your studio, pretty much your only option is to move away. If a studio can find a formula to make paying for development in the city worthwhile, and a few other copycat studios open up, that could be enough to create a stable foundation for a stable professional game development environment.
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2011
    Start small, and get something completed. Anything. Even if it sucks.

    Great advice. Flaybo, are you a Guildford games developer as well then..?
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2011
    @Jim - Yes, I'm on the other side of town from you at Lionhead.
  7.  (9525.13)
    I understand the argument about the price of office space, but I work in Tokyo and I guess our rent in Shinjuku is not that cheap too :).
    Still, very interesting points about venture capitals/splinter companies, that does indeed explain a lot...

    The Guildford situation (small town with a lot of game dev studios) is also really impressive, though historically understandable. I mean, there might easily be more devs there than in Paris for example. Hell, even here one of my co-workers comes from Guildford :).

    Anyway, sorry for the off topic-ness.

    To the original poster : keep making stuff, and keep learning. That's one of the most important things : always learn new stuff and new ways to do things.