Without question, some of the best advice I’ve been given on the business of indie game development has come from Tom Buscaglia, the Game Attorney — probably one of the best attorneys representing game developers. Much of this advice comes from his Game Dev Kit, a set of information and forms for start-up game developers, which in my opinion is an excellent resource for any small start-up indie. Above all, the best advice is:
“Quite simply, you can not sell what you do not own.”
So basically, any and all assets put into a game must be owned by the legal entity (company or individual) that owns the game, or they must have an appropriate license from the actual owner of the asset. Once [More...] Read the rest
As many folks in the blogosphere have duly pointed out, the end of one year and the start of another is usually accompanied by a proliferation of lists. Best of this, Top Ten of that, and so on. A couple of these that have particular interest to me are Game Tunnel’s Top Ten Indie Games of 2008 and GameSetWatch’s 20 Best Freeware Adventure Games of 2008.
Throughout the year I generally try to keep track of which games are making news in the indie gaming world, but it’s still interesting to see GameTunnel’s list to find out just how closely I’ve been paying attention. As it turns out, I’ve only even heard of 7 of their top 10 — I hadn’t seen or read [More...] Read the rest
Many indie game projects start out as fun side pursuits among a small group of friends. Often at the start there is an idea, a concept, some talent, and motivation. A lot of projects, along the way, fall short in one or more of those areas — the idea isn’t as cool as it first sounded; the concept doesn’t work as well as expected; the talent to achieve the goal is lacking; or some folks just lose their motivation and the project fizzles out.
If things work out and you have a reasonably good mix of those elements, you reach something of a milestone: that point when you’re convinced that you can really do it. With Vespers, that occurred sometime after the first year [More...] Read the rest
Indie Developer Cliff Harris (‘cliffski’) of Positech Games has been running an interesting experiment of late. In his search to answer the question, “Why do people pirate my games?”, he decided to take the question directly to the pirates themselves. A public, genuine request for opinions, posted on his blog. The request was also submitted to slashdot and the Penny Arcade forums, and made its way to other sites like ars technica, digg, and bnet. The response, as it turned out, was huge — hundreds of comments on the blog, hundreds of e-mails, and many more responses at the other sites. And, interestingly, it seemed as though people really did have something they needed to get off their chests.
cliffski’s summary of the results [More...] Read the rest
Also posted in indie games
Being indie can definitely be tough sometimes. I’ve often said that indie game projects are kind of like fish eggs: thousands are laid but few manage to survive to adulthood. Content for a 2D or 3D game, whether it’s artwork, music, voicework, or animation, can be a real problem for a small team on a shoestring budget. It’s no secret that content, specifically character animation, has been the biggest challenge for Vespers.
Sometimes, it takes a little creative thinking to figure out ways to stretch those limited resources.
A while back, when I was looking for help with voiceover work, one idea I had was to try tapping into some good but inexpensive local talent — theater students at the University of Utah, where I [More...] Read the rest