I’m a fan of indies. Whether it’s independent games (like us!), independent music, or independent film (warning: contains Rick’s poor acting; may be unsuitable for connoisseurs of good films) I like the kind of freedom that’s enjoyed by a team working on a low budget with nobody to answer to. Of course, it’s not all rainbows and lollipops; indie development certainly has its flaws, and there’s a number of strengths to the traditional model which are easy to envy, so this week I thought I’d talk about the strengths and weaknesses of indie development.
Before I go on, I want to be clear about what I mean when I talk about “traditional” model. In this model, you approach a publisher (or a producer, or a record label, in the case of film and music) and convince them to buy your idea. In reality, they’re not really “buying” your idea; yes, they usually take ownership of your idea, but they’re not actually giving you any money for it. What they're really giving you is just the loan that you need to bring your idea to fruition (and usually with a rather high interest rate to boot). Luckily if your idea fails, the publisher takes the fall, and you don’t have to pay back your loan. They’ll also typically handle most of the business stuff like marketing and distribution; the sort of stuff most creative types aren’t interested in. Continued →