View Full Version : Indie stress

10-08-2008, 11:20 AM
A fellow indie developer, Cliffski, blogged the other day that releasing games as an indie is stressful. I can't find the link though (maybe it was an article and not a blog post). He sure is right about that. There are a number of things that make being an indie much more stressful.

When working at a mainstream developer, the owners have to worry about paying the bills of course, but the normal employees are pretty oblivious. Plus the developers tend to have a relatively (what relative means could be another entire blog) steady advance payment coming from their publisher. With the indie, the indie is the owner and pretty much always knows how far out he/she can pay the bills and there is no steady payment coming from anyone.

Most of the risk for mainstream devs is getting the project signed in the first place (we've seen plenty of devs go out of business from this), not when shipping (at least short term risk). When the game is finally done, gone gold, and is selling, everyone except the developer starts making money. On most projects, the developer never sees any money past their advances anyway, so there isn't a huge amount of worry over how well the game is selling. Everyone does want their game to sell well. There is just a huge gap where the advances need to get paid back and publishers usually only pay royalties once a quarter. It's hard for people to be too concerned about something they don't expect and won't happen for at least 3 or 6 months down the road. Indies on the other hand, don't typically get publisher advances so almost all of their risk happens when they ship a game. Will it sell well or will it flop. If it flops, can the indie survive? Most likely they won't. With a mainstream developer as long as they sign the next contract, they will be mostly ok. An indie needs their games to sell reasonable well so that they can fund the next game. If they don't they go out of business.

For a mainstream developer, there is also a nice 2 to 3 weeks break between going gold and the game hitting the shelves which is great because you probably just worked a ton of hours in the last month or six. Indies tend to release their games through digital distribution which means there is no or very little time between gold and shipping. The day of or maybe the next day the indie is at least hearing about issues if not already trying to actively fix them.

So anyway, if you are prone to worrying about things or stress bothers you too much don't become an indie game developer.

10-09-2008, 09:29 AM
No problem there. Even if I had the skills, if money was a concern at all then games development is something I would stay the hell away from... Indie or mainstream for that matter. The positive of doing something I would love to do would be far outweighed by the lack of control for developers and the absolute ruthlessness of the industry. That being said, best of luck Shadow!:p

10-11-2008, 07:18 PM
In elementary school at age of 10 or so, me and my friend used GFA Basic with my friend's Atari ST to program "games" and since then I always wanted to be a game developer. It was so great feeling to produce something that works as a game and you can play it.

When I was in vocational school studying electronics, and some programming studies too, I made a small game, which was quite popular with my buddies and it was sooooo nice to see other people enjoying something that I had made. I actually developed the game about five years in my spare time and my brother still plays it from time to time.

Then I went to institute and started studying software designing more seriously. And when I was in institute about the graduate as a software designer two years ago, me and few mates seriously were planning to develope a game. We all had some kind of experience on game development and every one of us had some experience in graphical design or music/sound development. But somehow things turn out so, that we gave up the idea and all of us went different ways; ex. I'm now mobile software designer, which wasn't, and actually still isn't, my dream job, but it pays good and I'm pretty good at it.

The game programming teach me whole lot of more things that any studies in schools. The time I've used to make my own little games for myself and friends is enormous, but I feel that the time isn't wasted at all. And I have very good memories from my first games and they still exists somewhere in my harddrive.

Now I've pretty much given up the dream being a game developer, but I still like to make modding, thus creating new worlds. I think being just an employ in a software company is a whole lot easier and perhaps the pay is the same, but what I'm missing the feeling of pride when people really enjoy our game...

Sincerely, I appreciate your effort and time. I bet, that half of the pay is to know the fact that your game is played by thousands of people and they really enjoy it. :)

PS. Sorry if my english isn't perfect, since it's not my mother tongue.