A few days ago I did The Top 5 Cons of being Indie to let those know some of the down sides of going into indie game development. I hope I didn’t sound too whiny. So to put the other side of the perspective here are the Top 5 Pros of being Indie!
5) You get to work your own hours.
Don’t like sunlight? Want to sleep past 1pm? Don’t want to work today at all? Hey that’s cool if being indie is your only thing! Being indie means that you get to shape your time how you want with your production. This is a cool freedom that many people don’t get but its also a challenge that you have to face. If you don’t take time to make games then you’re not a game developer.
4)You get to work where you want and wear what you want.
These two I mashed together because in some ways you have to be mindful of what you wear if you’re out. Now if you work at home the entire time and only want to wear those space invader socks while you program thats cool, but it might get you arrested if you’re working at the Starbucks down the street. But yes you get to decide where you are when you’re working. Heck the developer of Incredipede, Colin Northway, travels around the world as he works on his games. So enjoy being naked while working in the rainforest!
3) You get to tell people you’re an Indie Game Dev
This one may sound like a cop out but seriously it’s a cool perk! Think about it, there’s still a sense of mystery and allure to game design because of the higher wall to climb to actually make games. This sense of wonder still keeps the masses in awe of the creation process and makes you seem like the wizard in the high tower tinkering with the elements of the world. When you tell people who are interested in playing games an energy begins to emerge as you two converse about running the magic behind the scenes of this amazing medium. Just remember to keep your ego in check and to inform them instead of gloating to them.
2) The community
Game developers are really awesome and this comes from the eclectic cross disciplinary skills required to make interactive experiences. You can talk to someone for hours just on the narrative aspects of game design or the creation of shaders or awesome techniques artistically for 3d modeling or pixel art. Yes you can talk to them about games and game development but also when you start talking about things outside of games is pretty great. Architecture, theatre, quantum physics, humanities, pop culture, business practices, travel, Doctor Who, sports, economics, cosmetology, horseback riding, and the proper way to say the plural form of platypus are all things I have talked about with game developers both from the indie realm and the corporate, and there’s a ton of stuff I left off. The community is great and is only to become greater as more people enter the industry.
1) You get to create what you want
That freedom to create, it’s intoxicating, sought after by so many, obtained by so few. It’s a scary place to be and exhilarating all at the same time. It’s romanticized so much because it deserves to be. You get to create anything you want, however shallow or deep, terse or subdued, is all up to you.
If you want to create you can and you don’t need to worry about someone telling you no because the investors are not aligned with your idea. If you want to make a text based MUD that describes the various methods of polishing marbles then you go out and make it! Perhaps you could get a KickStarter and grab for the marble polishing enthusiast.
It’s ok to be silly, or dramatic, or be purely about the gameplay. It’s your creation. Just remember, because you have the freedom to create you also have to take whatever good or bad comes from that. You could make a hit and make millions or you could create a game that will gain you death threats (probably cause you made a game that made millions). So enjoy your freedom and don’t be a prick.
Edit: (Additional Pro) Showing your game to people (and they like it)
It makes you feel happy 😀
Well those are the Top 5 Pros of being Indie! Make sure to check out the Top Five Cons as well!
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