Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Secret Life of the Indie Gamer

   Well, I can't say that I've been asked much lately about what I plan on doing with my degree and or how my plans are progressing. But on occasion someone on the fringes of my social circle will ask when will I graduate and what will I do. Being a methodical person I first inform them that I graduated back in October, oops, did you not get the grad party announcement? Then I explain a birds eye view of my master plot, which often excludes the part where I take over the planet using subliminal messages in the games I make. You know, don't want to ruin the surprise. I suppose most frequently my response is met with what I would best describe as the 'Oh-you-poor-misguided-graduate' look, followed with "Well, good luck with that. If you need any help testing..."

   I shrug it off and continue on. After all, what else am I to do. My goal is to build games. But not just any games, my games. Going the indie route isn't what I would call the easiest or most profitable, but it is doing something that I like and can respect. Given that I'm the one that has to see my ugly mug each morning, at least I can be happy about the fact that I am able to do something I really enjoy... even if it doesn't pay  anything yet.

   But for any budding indie game developer, or anyone looking to venture out on their own in any regard, the best piece of advice I can offer right now is documentation. I hated  that part during school. The design docs, concept docs, risk analysis docs... it seemed like we were doing more documenting than coding sometimes. But having gone solo for a couple projects I can really appreciate the value of a good plan and having it written down before jumping feet first into the project. Especially the "easy" designs. Plan what to build. Build what you plan. And refer to your goals and plans as often as needed.

   I think that would relate to anything in life. Budgeting, school, career. Set a course, and include in that plan how to get back on course if you get off course because unless life never throws you a curve ball, you're bound to get off track once in a while. And remember to have fun with it.

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