Indie developer journal

september 26, 2011 04:05pm

So we're nearly 11 months into this project. I can't remember the last time I got paid, we're taking a risk with this project. Fortunately we're stupid enough to think that we know what we're doing and we're hanging in there ;) I don't really want to put myself in the role of the starving developer, but I figured my situation is worth a blog as this gamble is a huge investment.

Some of the benefits of going indie for me to have a lot more control over my life and to be mobile. I'm not required to be in one place and I can work from many different places, it's great to have that level of freedom. Another great thing is that I'm learning new skills and I have to be resourceful and look into certain things more deeply than I would normally.

I have a background in games modification where I created a diverse variety of content, in contrast to my employed for various companies where I focused more on design. It has been really great for me to go back to my roots and be able employ a much wider skill set, particularly doing texture art and some of the visual aspects of level design I haven't been able to do over the past years.

Some of the responsibilities I have covered for this project include:

  • Game design
  • Level design
  • Prop design and production
  • A broad scope of other 3D models
  • Story writing and dialogue
  • Environment art
  • Level lighting
  • 2D art
  • Special effects
  • Directing freelancers

On the management and marketing side of things:
  • Communicating with external parties
  • Keeping track of finances/taxes
  • Building the website
  • Building this database driven blog system
  • Taking care of various services like web hosting
  • Managing our social media presence
  • Writing blogs
  • Doing market research
  • Reading up on relevant developments

So as you can see most of the things we need we are doing in-house. It's been motivating to expand skills and learn new skills.

Of course there are also obvious down sides to my current situation. The choice of going independent has been a quite natural process for me. I saved up a lot of money to be able to do this, and I don't have a second job which allows me much more focus. Life is expensive and having no money coming in at all while spending hundreds of Euros on the project's assets is probably a situation many will struggle with.

For the past 6 months I have worked almost every day and nearing the end of the project I'm finding myself working increasingly longer days.

My day to day living situation is quite isolated, you really miss the social aspect of having co-workers. Hopefully I can set up an office with some interns next year ;)

All in all the step of going indie has been hugely motivating for me. Aside from having turned my hobby into my profession, there's a large sense of fulfilment in doing that while gaining back a lot of creative freedom and the freedom to improve my skills where I deem it most necessary. I also find this independence to be a huge stress relief in spite of the long hours and the amount of work that need to be done.


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