The Sad Tale of Indie Devs

There was a recent post on tigsource about an indie developer that needed money to make a game (Getting out of a Catch 22 Situation).  The person who made that post made it in both the tigsource forums and the indie gamer forums.

To sum up, speeder (the person who made the post) is in debt, but he wants to finish making games.  Obviously, he can’t finish the game if he doesn’t have the money and time, so I guess he’s going around asking people for advice.  People have been giving him advice (myself included) and I hope he’s learning a lot…

I don’t know what it is, but there just seem to be quite a number of indie developers going bust.  Or, at least, I keep hearing about indie devs that just aren’t doing very well.  There is:
1. introversion – the guys behind darwinia
2. blurst – from the guys behind Flash Bang Studios.  They made Raptor Safari.
3.  Machine 22 – they’ve spent more than 3 years working on Golimizer!
4.  Arcen Games – they’ve been quietly working  on a space game AI War for a long time.

So, overall, I seem to be running into a lot of people talking about how bad there company / games seem to be doing.

You might think that, being an indie dev, that I would whole heartedly support these games and point out the various injustices that happen in the industry.  But, I can’t really.  The fact is that there are tons of indie developers out there who don’t make a penny (like me, for example).

Don’t get me wrong, these are people that I feel like are important parts of the indie community.  It’s vital that there be some successes to show that people can, in fact, make a living off of indie games.  And, I feel bad for them.

But, the reality is that companies go bust for any number of reasons.  It happens all of the time and I don’t think it’s too smart to dwell on failures (ironically enough though, failures tend to teach you more than successes do…).

Obviously, the majority of the people in this world have their own tales of failures.  And, there is practically every reason in the world why someone might fail.  But, sometimes there just aren’t any easy answers.  Everyone in this entire world wants to do what they want to do (and get rich off of it).  But, sometimes people can’t; they don’t have the right resources, or the right money, or the people.  Or, maybe, their timing was off.

And, I truly think that this is where sacrifice comes from.  You can’t have a safe and secure job and run a successful indie business at the same time (technically you can, but it’s very difficult).  You probably shouldn’t have a family and try to start a new business.  You can’t go out to eat every day when you’re starting new business ventures.  [There’s a term that is known as “right sizing your life” that describes this process.]

I’ve never really wanted to talk about what I’ve sacrificed in order to continue making games (that’s for another long post).  But, I understand the value of sacrifices now that I’m knee deep into designing games.  I can’t stop – it’s like a drug to me.  I’ve gone over the same problem (finding money or getting paid for my work) and, just like a lot of other people, haven’t found an easy solution.  Obviously, completing games at any cost is a part of that solution though.

In the end, I feel bad for any indie dev who is currently going through rough times.  But, the hope is that they understand how lucky they were to be doing what they loved to do in the first place.  And, with enough hard work, I’m sure that those smart and talented people will pick themselves right up.

Leave some feedback if you read this post, eh?