The modern game market develops with incredible speed. All this is due to an enormous popularity of games that attract more and more players on a daily basis. Of course, most of them are developed by professional software companies and undergo constant iterations, but there is a segment of catching games that were produced by indie game developers and became not less significant in the world of games bringing their creator’s high profits. Who are these people and what is indie game development? We will find the answers to these questions in this article.
Indie game development: definition and main features
Each unfamiliar term requires definition and independent video game development is not an exception. It is a process of video games creation, where the end product (game) is developed by separate individuals or a team on their own, without any support of official game publishers and significant finances involved. Though software developers used to create indie games since the 1970s, their boom happened in the 2000s and nowadays you can not only become a member of “indie” movement but also try your hand at game development and even sell your creation without any difficulties. There are two main features of such way of game development already mentioned in the definition:– Absence of financial support from large publishers; – Independence from any restrictions of thoughts or time limits.
It means that the larger amount of money spent on the project belongs to developers or so-called crowd funding that have appeared to support young gamers. Also, every person or a group of people create their project without the intrusion of third parties and their imagination does not depend on market researches, commercial profit and minor defects that appear because of restricted timeframes. The game creation process can take from one week to several years, and it will be a single decision of its developers.
Pros and cons of independent video game development
There are many obvious reasons why so many developers tempt to go indie, though not every person realizes difficulties that may await a creator too. The unsurpassed benefits of developing indie games are:
- Freedom of creativity;
- Professional independence and ability to work according to your schedule;
- Expanding of your skill set by dealing with new things and challenges;
- Numerous accessible tools for game development;
- A chance to receive good profit for an excellent finished product.
At the same time indie developers should be ready to experience such possible troubles like:
- Very tight funds or time-consuming searches of finances;
- Inability to work with big projects;
- Restricted resources and tools;
- Finding new ways of game distribution;
- Higher chances of minor bugs and a necessity of collaboration;
- Fewer opportunities to make new game iterations etc.
Tips how to create a perfect indie game
Many young developers can’t make an efficient game for the first time, so experienced indie programmers have done a list of useful tips how to create a game quicker and with fewer resources: 1. The design is half of your game success. Several design choices are more suitable for indie games. You can opt for a multiplayer with a larger lifespan of the game, use both generated and procedural content to simplify the process or look for inspiration in game designs with 20 years of experience and re-explore them. 2. Numerous game development tools and libraries provide an abundance of ready-made or free technologies that can be used by every developer.
- Think of digital distribution of your product as by doing so you deliver it directly to your user. 4. Use open platforms for development to decrease the resources used for requirement-fulfilling. 5. Try to avoid working on your own as collaboration can be a golden mean for you and your product. New skills, thoughts, and experience can be rather necessary. 6. Avoid traditional ways of getting profit or you may scare potential gamers. Advertising and virtual item sales, micropayments and selling a game at the development stage can be not less profitable than traditional means. 7. Let your game spread all over the Web inviting your gamers to take part in the marketing strategy. Such a community will make it more powerful and popular.
Popular software for indie game programming
The amount of software for indie game development process is impressive. You can find examples for beginners, who only make attempts to create a video game and there are various programs and tools for those, who take up game development seriously and professionally. These are top best tools for beginners to work on indie games:
- Flixel is a completely free and flexible program for making flash games. It is easy-to-use, and you can deliver a ready-made product only in a few weeks.
- Adventure Game Studio is designed entirely for adventure games and is free of charge.
- Construct 2 is a very popular program that was used for the creation of many rather successful projects. It has both a free version to use basic functions of the program and a paid one for more complicated and unique items.
- Game Salad is one of the best programs to deal with different game types. It requires a subscription to use it, though its opportunities will impress at first sight.
- Game Maker: Studio is among the most powerful software programs for game development. It is rather comprehensive and has a large community that might be quite helpful.
Several misconceptions about indie game business
Learning what indie is and getting into indie game development one may think that this process is simple and quick. It is one of the most widely-spread misconceptions about game development services. Apart from being painstaking indie game creation has several more misconceptions that are unnoticeable at the early stages of the developer’s work:
– A newly released game will bring a fortune to you: absence of marketing strategy, extra expenses for music or wording can even leave you in debts. Sometimes it takes years before a game becomes popular and sometimes it never boosts. – An excellent game does not need marketing: no advertising and different marketing approaches will not make you game stand out on the list of thousands of others. – Start marketing the game right before its release: that is far from being the truth, make your product desirable at the development stage for it to have fans on the release day already. – Retro and cheap tools can make an innovative game: only good artwork with the use of the latest technologies can result in a new creation. – Indie developers have no restrictions: of course, there are no limits in creativity and uniqueness of your project, but think only about funds, time and tools and you will realize that not everything is that pleasing.