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The biggest takeaways from 8 years of Antichamber development
The biggest takeaways from 8 years of  Antichamber  development
March 18, 2014 | By Mike Rose

March 18, 2014 | By Mike Rose
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"What makes me different?" As part of a powerful, emotional recollection of the past eight years of his life, Antichamber dev Alexander Bruce gave GDC goers numerous takeaways that they should be asking themselves when piecing together their own development timelines.

With over 750,000 sales and around $5 million in gross revenue from Antichamber since it launched at the start of 2013, Bruce's lengthy story contained plenty of key moments and revelations that the packed room had to take away and apply.

Here, we've collected together some of the most striking quotes from Bruce, along with additional thoughts from the Australian development.

"Luck is a multiplier - it shouldn't be the thing that denotes your success." - Luck plays a part in everything you do, Bruce mused, but to say that someone just "got lucky" when they have a successful game is to completely miss the point.

"You have to factor luck out of everything," he noted, "because it's a part of everything." You create the potential for luck in the first place, so creating space for those opportunities is key. "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity," Bruce added.

"If I don't do X, nothing will happen. If I do X, something might happen." - Bruce realized early on into development that, when opportunities arose to put his game and himself out there, it was always worth it.

Whether it's submitting to a game festival, or applying to show your game at a show, there's always a chance that it might be good for your game, and so taking those opportunities is crucial. "The fact that I don't know whether it will be good is why I have to follow up," he noted.

"Being different in a sea of different games just makes you normal. You have to be remarkable." - Bruce asked himself many times over the course of development what made him different from everybody else, and how he could stand out from the crowd.

Eventually he realized that, well, he wasn't that different at all. Every successful game had gone through the game high and low points he had, and in the end it all came down to the connections he made, and the quality of his game.

"Stop doubting yourself. If you wanna be someone, start being someone. Fake it until you make it." - When Bruce first began to visit GDC, he'd feel inferior to other, larger developers, and found it more difficult to put himself out there.

He quickly came to understand that if you want to get anywhere, you have to act like you're already somewhere. Essentially, becoming someone important is all about believing you can be someone important.

"Game development is hard, and it absolutely destroyed me." - Bruce's talk was quite the emotional rollercoaster, both for him and his audience. He talked about the health issues that Antichamber development created for him along the way, and how it really tore him up and made him feel at his lowest at times.

But watching Indie Game: The Movie, and seeing other developers struggling in the same way he did, helped him to understand that everyone goes through it -- and this is well worth any developer remembering. "Making games is hard," he added simply.

"Having a large bank account doesn't help a lot of your problems - in many cases it creates more problems." - These days, Bruce noted, getting funding for your game isn't the most important factor, since there are so many different outlets to do so, like Kickstarter, publishers, or government funding.

He urged those developers who are worried about the money-side of development to not focus on this so much, as having money leads to its own issues, and ultimately can make things even more difficult.

"If this is how it feels, I don't want to do this again. Fuck that." - After Antichamber launched, Bruce says that people would ask him what he planned to work on next.

After everything he had been through, the idea of making another game was simply the worst. "That took a whole lot of time," he said. "It took 8 months before I could be interested in game development again."


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Comments


jin choung
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yugh... sounds like some kind of misguided self-help seminar....

Evan Goncalo
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It was actually my favorite talk of GDC so far. Heartfelt and well-spoken. The session was great - definitely not "yugh."

Jane Castle
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Is there a video of the talk somewhere?

Jeff Alexander
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The GDC panel website says it was video recorded, but I don't know when this year's videos will be up and which ones will be freely viewable versus subscription-only.

Jeff Alexander
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The slides are in the free content, at

http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1020071/Antichamber-An-Overnight-Suc
cess-Seven

There's no free video.

Denver Coulson
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I'm glad he didn't keep this to himself. It's stories like Alexander's that should make people realize game development is not all glamorous.
His talk was "self-help" in forewarning people of what independent development can cause to your own well being, even if your game is considered a success by the public eye.

Zach Grant
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Also see Indie Game the movie. I've never been so depressed after watching a movie before.

Denver Coulson
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That's true but IGtM ended happy overall. Bruce's final quote just hits hard to really consider what you're getting into.

Judy Tyrer
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Some people are interested in the product while others are interested in the process. Starting a studio is an internal as well as external journey. For those of us who are interested in process, the interior journey is where all the fun is. I'm glad he shared. It's certainly a journey unlike any other.


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