So I wanted to write this to give an insight on being an indie game developer in Albuquerque where the game dev scene isn’t too big. I’m going to do the Top 5 Pros of being Indie later.
5) Not having a “real” job
The people around you judging you believing that you do not actually work. This one is due to the fact that a lot of people will be very judgemental on what you are doing with your life. I work on my game a lot but from an outside perspective people will think that you are not doing anything or what you are doing is a waste of time. This is due to the fact that people believe that making games is like playing games and that you’re just being lazy or because they do not believe that games are a viable means to make money, especially in a indie setting. Who could blame them? When you’re starting out you usually have to rely on an outside source of money whether it be parents, a partner, friends, and you usually work at home or in a public setting like a coffee shop.
4) Low / No Income
Making games is hard and takes a lot of time. If you do not have a financial backing it makes it even harder. I have to take on an additional job in retail and am doing a contract job for an additional game. This stretches me but I have to do what I do at the moment, especially to get to things like IndieCade. If you do not have a hit or if you are working on your first title then this is one of the harder truths to come to.
3) Showing people your game
It is scary. Seriously. What if they don’t like it? It is hard to separate yourself from your work in this manner even if the game doesn’t have a special artistic message or anything. You put hundreds to thousands of hours into this game and then someone dismissing it kills you on the inside. Getting past that and taking their feedback without being defensive (which is super hard) to apply it to improve your game takes a practice of patience and the ability to break down what they’re trying to actually say about your game.
If you are really trying to be an Indie Game Dev then you will work long hours and not have a social life. You will miss out on parties, hanging out, and face to face social interaction with your friends. It sucks, seriously. I try to go every once in a while but many times it’s perceived like I’m just trying to fill a social quota so I don’t have to talk to my friends for a few more months.
I’m excited about my game coming out and I can’t wait for people to play it! Just really blows that it’s not out yet and it feels like I’m stuck. This can happen on longer dev cycles and when you’re working on something you want polished. At the beginning things are faster and you see things being made really quick but a few months in you are dealing with a large code base. It can be depressing when you work for a few days and your game still looks kinda the same because you are working on trying to speed up load times, or optimizing code so you have more memory to work with, or a new feature that needs to be implemented that is a small addition but adds to the aesthetic of the game. This can happen especially if you’re on a small team since you have more hats to wear and have to do more. Just make sure to have an outlet and keep goals in mind.
This article makes it sound like its all bad but it most definitely is not! Check out the Top 5 Pros of being Indie!