It's been several months since I gather with some friends to found Tiebreaker Studio and started developing Shape Invaders. We love the experience so far. We make a good team and complement each others. Our team is made of two programmers, an artist and a designer. In this article, I will talk about benefits of being a small indie game developer.
1st Benefit: Freedom
Being an independent developer is freedom. Being independent is being free to put what you want in your game, to choose the technology you want for your game and to change any aspect of your game without having to hold 2-3 meetings to make sure everybody agrees. Being independent means being truly effective. We have no time to waste on trivialities. In a team like ours, when someone has an idea, we talk about it briefly, look at the good and the bad and make a decision. It’s fast, simple, and effective. Being independent is also having the freedom to decide how many features we want in our games and decide when to release them.
2nd Benefit: Pleasure, passion
Being an independent developer is also about making games for fun. For my part, I would be much less happy if I was making games alone and the game would look a lot crappier too. I love knowing that I am surrounded with talented people with whom I get along great. Also, I know that my friends put as much effort as me in the realization of our games. This helps keep my motivation high. Happiness also comes with passion. We all have a passion for video games. As a programmer, I love to give life to the resources that Rich produces. I love it when the game comes alive and players can finally enjoy it.† It’s a feeling that makes me go crazy! What also makes me happy is to know for whom I’m doing this. Sure, I work for myself but for my friends too. I love knowing that what I do, I do it for them and their families. This is a project that impacts the lives of several people I love and that really matters to me. In a large company, you make the game, get your salary and that's it.
3rd Benefit: Close relation with fans
Being indie is also making games for players, for fans. It seems a little silly to write that, but it's true. We do not develop a game for a publisher or a license, we develop it for the players. In a way, being independent and small humanizes us a bit more compared to industry giants. We write more often on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to get in touch with our fans. We are much less “corporate”. We also listen more carefully to feedback from players and it is very important in the development of a game. That way, we can improve a game faster and even add features that we might have never thought of.
4th Benefit: Learning new skills
When you create a game and build a small studio, the things to do are numerous as they are varied and even with our experience sometime there are some tasks we've never done before and have to learn, and that's great! Being an independent game developer allows us to develop new skills and improves our resourcefulness, which in the end make us better at what we do.
As you can see, being small and independent has many advantages but it also has some drawbacks that we will share in another article.