Monday, November 20, 2006

So you want to be an Indie Developer?

So, you always wanted to make games for a living, right? Well now is your chance, as Lemmy&Binky offer you a one-stop guide that will get you making games quicker than [look up speed-related pop culture reference].

So without further ado, let us take you on a journey! A mysterious journey filled with excitement and wonder. A magical ride, where the only limits are... Sorry, what we meant to say was...

So without further ado--

Financial Support

Okay, so first things first. Your IGF winning indie game is not even going to get made if you’re out on the streets dining out of rubbish bins, is it? You’re going to need to be able to financially support yourself for maybe a year (possibly even two) whilst you make your game.

This is why most indie game developers tend to sell drugs and weapons to support development of their games (Libya is a good place to start with this). Some indie developers also like to dabble in sex trafficking, though many feel it too time-consuming. We strongly recommend you buy a copy of Dave Perry’s excellent bible on the subject of funding game development, “Sex, Drugs and AK47s”, which is available on Amazon and in all good book stores.

Quest for the Indie Stone

Before you start developing your indie game, you need to be in possession of one of the ancient Indie Stones. There are only known to be 12 of these in the world, which is the main reason the indie game industry is much smaller than the commercial game industry (the commercial games industry does not require mystical stones of any kind--just the tears of a disappointed child)

Of course, to obtain one, this means you will have to take an Indie Stone from another indie game developer. This is the only situation where indie game developers are permitted to kill each other.


One of the mystical Indie Stones

Protection

Now you’re in possession of an Indie Stone, you are a bonafide indie developer! Congratulations! This does however mean that you are certain to be getting a knock at the door from a slightly threatening man called Don Marshall. He will ask you if you want “protection”. Say yes! It’s just how things work on the indie game scene, so get used to it! We all have!

Design

This is where your creativity can go wild! Just jot down details of how your game will work, perhaps on the back of a used bus ticket or something.

Things to think about: How many same colour blocks have to be adjacent to “match them”? Write it down. How many different coloured blocks ARE there? Write it down. How fast will the blocks fall? Write it down. Are there going to be special “power blocks” that destroy all connecting blocks of the same colour? Write it down.

Done? Good!

Uh-oh, now the tricky bit. You need to actually make the game! Where the hell do you start!?

Development

Remember the fabled stone that you bloodied your Indie Knife to retrieve? Yes? Well, this is where it does its magic.

Now, first off, you need a hat. A top hat is considered the industry standard, but trilbies work just as well.

Start by turning the lights off in your computer room. Then, making sure you are in a comfortable typing position with the hat rested on your lap, put the Indie Stone into the hat, along with your written design.

Now you need to put your head into the hat. The mystical light that emits from the Indie Stone will transform the written words on your design into a strange code. You need to copy this code by typing it into a Word document on your PC.

Yes, you read that last bit right... you need to do this whilst your head is in the hat.

We’re sure you’ve heard that game development is hard, and this is why! This is called “coding”.

It is crucially important that no light from your monitor gets into the hat, otherwise it could interfere with the code that the Indie Stone projects. Light getting into the Indie Hat is the main cause of bugs in indie games (other offenders being bad handwriting, or using a baseball cap instead of a proper hat)

Once you’ve written all the code into the Word document, you need to email it to Bill Gates, who will “compile” it and send you back a working executable of your game! Hurray!

Testing

Testing is not very important. After all, come on! It’s only an indie game. Chill out! Geez!

Permission Granted

Awesmoe! Your game is finished! Congratulations!

But wait! Don’t go releasing it just yet! There’s something extremely important you have to do first, and that is... Ask for permission from George Lucas.

Yes, it’s true. George Lucas owns the copyright for any indie game that has ever been, or ever will be, produced. If you release an indie game without his expressed permission, then his lawyers will come down on you like a pack of wild dogs. Whilst we’re on the subject, it’s probably a good idea to call him rather than make a house visit, otherwise he’s likely to release his pack of wild dogs on you.

Reviews

There is an age old ritual between indie developers and indie game web journalists that all successful indie developers adhere to. It is somewhat time consuming and can be expensive, but is a sure-fire way to ensure your game gets positive coverage across the internet. You must make the Indie Developer Pilgrimage.

Indie Developer Pilgrimage

The Indie Developer Pilgrimage has been made countless times by thousands of veteran indie game developers over the years, and is seen very much as a rite of passage for those who have never made the journey. The pilgrimage begins at London, England, before travelling over the Atlantic to New York, then up into Ottawa in Canada, followed by a journey back over the border and to the west coast of the US, the long trek across the Pacific to Tokyo, Japan, finally arriving back at London for a pint of Worthington’s and a game of Click the Spot. This epic journey can be seen below:


So what is the purpose of this trek? It’s not for the sightseeing, that’s for sure! Just part of the dance between the indie developer and their most venomous of foes, the know-it-all indie game web journalist.

In order to secure at the very least a 50% review score, the indie game developer must perform a series of intricate gestures in public at each city visited in the pilgrimage, hoping to attract the attention of any indie game journalists in the area. The dance must be exact, otherwise the indie game blogger will lose interest immediately, and will continue on their perpetual hunt for Jack Thompson news stories and Wii jokes.

We’ve not got the time, space nor the inclination to detail each of these moves in this guide, but the entertaining and highly informative DVD series “Bustin’ 10/10 Indie Moves”, by successful indie developer Cliff Harris, will steer you clear of all those stumbles and faux-pas gyrations that would otherwise see your indie game smashed with 6% right across the interweb.

You might also be wondering why the pilgrimage only includes England, US, Canada and Japan. This is mainly because indie game reviewers do not exist in any other country.

Negotations

So, you’ve managed to attract the attention of a mischievous internet opinion-smith? Now it’s time to negotiate your score!

First, you need to write down your ideal review score, along with the number of a nearby pay-phone, onto the inside of a Twix wrapper and drop it nonchalantly into a tramp’s cup. It is a little known fact that 93% of homeless people are in the service of indie bloggers, and will immediately take your desired score to them.

Next, you must wait by the designated phone until it rings. DO NOT ANSWER IT. You must count the number of times it rings. This is the review score the indie word-peddler is wanting to award your efforts.

Once the phone has stopped ringing, if you are not happy with the score proposed, you have the opportunity to contest that score. Stand outside the phone-box and perform the correct gesture (the blogger is sure to be watching) and within a few seconds the phone will ring again. This time you are allowed to answer it. Now you are given 10 seconds (no more) to blurt out your arguments as to why your game deserves a higher score. It is a good idea to rehearse this in advance, as you only get one shot at it.

So that’s it! You’re now an experienced indie developer making a shed load of cash! Well done!

A few final pointers to help you on your way:

  • As an indie developer you will now have developed an acute allergy to wasp stings. Avoid at all costs!
  • Mahjongg and tits. Don’t break with tradition.
  • Giving your game a crap title will make it endearing – preferably something juvenile (like Shlongg?)
  • Games with the word “Mania” after them sell approximately 43.5% more copies. This effect can be doubled by adding the word “Xtreme”.
  • Screen* pScreen;

This article was part of the "So You Want To be An Indie Developer?" combine. For other "So You Want To Be An Indie Developer?" opinion and hintery, click one of these lovely links below:

Gibbage.co.uk :-
http://www.gibbage.co.uk/2006/11/so- you-want-to-be-indie-developer.html

Cliffski's Mumblings :-
http://cliffski.blogspot.com/2006/11/so-you-want-to-be-indie-developer.html

GameProducer.net :-
http://www.gameproducer.net/2006/11/20/so-you-want-to-be-an-indie-developer/

Reality Fakers :-
http://sharpfish.realityfakers.com/?p=103

Zoombapup :-
http://www.zoombapup.com/2006/11/so-you-want-to-be-indie-developer.html

BoneBroke :-
http://www.bonebroke.com/blog/index.php/2006/11/20/so-you-want-to-be-an-indie-developer/

Introversion :-
http://www.introversion.co.uk/news/index.php

They Came from Hollywood :-
http://www.tcfh.com/news.html

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

You win.

I especially like your Pointer gag, that's inspired.

Anonymous said...

Best blogpost... ever.

David Marsh said...

The most informative and comprehensive guide on indie game development I've ever read. Covers the issues most indie developers fail to mention or are scared to discuss.

Nikolas said...

I will agree on that. Teh guide is brilliant...

Wazoo said...

Did you design some of the quests in World of Warcraft? :)

Awesome read.

Lennard said...

Wow, I've been doing a lot of stuff all wrong. I'll be checking in from time to time to refresh on bits that haven't stuck. Thanks a lot for clearing things up, a lot of that stuff isn't intuitively obvious.

Sparky said...

You win indeed! Fabulous.

Mike K said...

My Indie Stone is cracked. What do I do?

Lemmy said...

Hi mike! I wouldn't worry too much. The fact that it is cracked suggests to me it is a fake. Real indie-stones can only be unmade by the breath of a dragon, or the centre of the sun. Keep trucking and hunt down a real one!

Thanks all for the kind words!

L&B

Anonymous said...

Can you just kill any old indie game developer that you assume has the Indie Stone or is there some form of arcane protocol that the slaughter must adhere to?

Captain Binky said...

Hi Tony,

Although any Indie Stone will do, we would recommend targetting smaller developers as they will typically have fewer guards and less thorough security systems.

L&B

macaronni said...

Thanks for the great information to share..

That was great! :)

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