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Anyone seen that "Indie Game" Movie?


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#1 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 1687

Posted 10 April 2014 - 08:54 AM

So I saw that movie, "Indie Game: The Movie" last night, and I really couldn't get that emotional over it. I mean, I am not as in to games as these people were in this movie. And I am wondering if it takes that type of desperation to want to keep a job in this industry. 

 

Dude said if he does not release this game, he will kill himself. Uh....

 

I mean, there are so many developers who are not as successful, do they actually end up killing themselves? 

 

Other guy, after they had succeeded greatly said, "I am starting to think it was worth it." 

 

If anything it makes me be more considerate of how I respond to another person's work, because I don't know all the labor that was put into it. But there is no way I can play all of the indie games out there enough to get sentimental about each and every one. 

 

Everyone has a story to tell, and each person is unique, but there are millions of peoples with stories to tell, and I am sure each one is unique. What makes one stand out over another

 

This is an important topic, for beginners and experienced devs alike. 

 

Anyone have/had similar experiences in the indie game development world?

 

 


They call me the Tutorial Doctor.


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#2 Buster2000   Members   -  Reputation: 1774

Posted 10 April 2014 - 09:21 AM

Yes I watched it and it did come across that indie developers are either prima donnas or arseholes.  This obviously isn't true as I know plenty of indie devs (some successful and some not successful) and most of them are ordinary down to earth people. 

Its just that the particular devs in this documentory all seem to have some kind of emotional defect (autism? aspergers?).  I'm not sure if they were chosen specifically for this reason to make the documentory a little more entertaining or not.



#3 imoogiBG   Members   -  Reputation: 1245

Posted 10 April 2014 - 09:32 AM

Yes I watched it and it did come across that indie developers are either prima donnas or arseholes.  This obviously isn't true as I know plenty of indie devs (some successful and some not successful) and most of them are ordinary down to earth people. 

Its just that the particular devs in this documentory all seem to have some kind of emotional defect (autism? aspergers?).  I'm not sure if they were chosen specifically for this reason to make the documentory a little more entertaining or not.

+1 on this



#4 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 1687

Posted 10 April 2014 - 09:33 AM

Haha. Okay, because it scared me. I mean, their childhood bedrooms did it for me. I am not that obsessive over games myself. They all fit the stereotype I expected of "programmers" so it really scared me because I take stereotypes with a grain of salt. 


They call me the Tutorial Doctor.


#5 Icebone1000   Members   -  Reputation: 1145

Posted 10 April 2014 - 09:54 AM

It actually made me really happy to see theyr despair. If successful indie devs go trough all that pain, means its pure hard work. If that movie showed a bunch of wannabees that dont give a shit, Id be really depressed that ppl like that are getting farther than me so easily.



#6 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 1687

Posted 10 April 2014 - 10:07 AM


Id be really depressed that ppl like that are getting farther than me so easily.

 

Haha. Honestly, I don't really give that much care about games in that way. From what I gathered games are another form of expression, and they chose to use games to express themselves. There are bunches of ways people can express themselves:

 

Music

Dance

Theatre

Art

Writing

Invention

Spoken Word

 

Now, when the guy says that games are the ultimate medium for expression, I do totally agree. Video games can encompass just about all other forms of expression (and that is what I like about game development). 

 

I think everyone cares about expressing themselves, but I know that there are other outlets to do that with, and that games are one of them. I tend to do a bit of everything myself, and I would love to use a game to encompass it all. 

 

One recent game that really intrigued me was that game Contrast though. Another expression, and an effective way to tell a story not only about some arbitrary character, but about their own childhood. 

 

I do however think that hard work should be honored, but a lot of people put hard work into a lot of things. I figure why do the hard work just for the glory of hard work when I can do the easy work and get the same result (if i can). 

 

But when hard work is necessary, and the mission important enough, then I will work hard to achieve it. I just don't have a game worth the hard work yet.


They call me the Tutorial Doctor.


#7 TheComet   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1640

Posted 10 April 2014 - 10:10 AM

The greatest impact it made on me was the realisation that only one out of those four devs were truly happy, namely the guy with that (sparta?) cat and a wife. The movie gave me the impression that full time indie development breaks people, until nothing but a weeping wreck is left. Even though their games were successful, they were left with nothing but emptiness and a story. A story that cannot be told because it is incomprehensible to most. It conveys the message that indie development is not worth doing. I suppose that's somewhat true if you look at the number-of-devs to successful-devs ratio.

 

But then again, there are some valid points concerning their personality. Perhaps they don't know how to handle success.


Edited by TheComet, 10 April 2014 - 10:11 AM.

YOUR_OPINION >/dev/null

#8 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 1687

Posted 10 April 2014 - 10:24 AM

Hmm, your post reminds me of my first few main topics I posted here, trying to get to the root of "games" in general. As in the reason people used to play games way back, and even as to why people make games. 

 

I think that any sort of desperation will break a person. And that triumph for anyone who has worked in desperation would naturally make someone happy.

 

It's the human condition. 

 

But the guy with the cat and the wife, he almost got me some tears because the guy just wants to be understood, as we all do. And his grandmother (and people like her) are the type of people we all need in our lives. A person who does not judge us or belittle us and call us "weird" because we are different. Someone who will motivate us despite our failures etc. 

 

I saw how he was happier not as much about the money, but about the fact that people understood him. And the money helped too. haha. 


They call me the Tutorial Doctor.


#9 emcconnell   Members   -  Reputation: 924

Posted 10 April 2014 - 10:26 AM

The greatest impact it made on me was the realisation that only one out of those four devs were truly happy, namely the guy with that (sparta?) cat and a wife. The movie gave me the impression that full time indie development breaks people, until nothing but a weeping wreck is left. Even though their games were successful, they were left with nothing but emptiness and a story. A story that cannot be told because it is incomprehensible to most. It conveys the message that indie development is not worth doing. I suppose that's somewhat true if you look at the number-of-devs to successful-devs ratio.

 

But then again, there are some valid points concerning their personality. Perhaps they don't know how to handle success.

My wife and I watched the movie a couple of times. She has never played video games and I wanted to show her a glimpse into the life of what I do. We both agreed the Guy with the wife and cat was clearly the happiest and most level person. He also was able to identify his emotions, express himself clearly and honestly had the best grasp on game development as a whole if you ask me.

 

But it is a documentary for entertainment. Remeber the editing, interview questions, and cinematography can help tell a story that is barely there.



#10 TheComet   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1640

Posted 10 April 2014 - 10:39 AM


But it is a documentary for entertainment. Remeber the editing, interview questions, and cinematography can help tell a story that is barely there.

True!

 

And on that note, the cinematography was glorious. Perfect camera angles and lighting with crisp focus.


YOUR_OPINION >/dev/null

#11 walsh06   Members   -  Reputation: 662

Posted 10 April 2014 - 10:46 AM

I liked it. Just as a informative watch at these three games. I didnt take it as everyone is like this or anything like that. Just as three specific case studies and to see how games can affect people and the work they can put into them.

 

Not very high at all on my list of documentaris though. Much preferred With Great Power, Restrepo and Undefeated.


Edited by walsh06, 10 April 2014 - 10:46 AM.


#12 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 1687

Posted 10 April 2014 - 11:03 AM

I am a big documentary guy, and they usually don't get me unless there is some real emotion (reality tv shows barely get me).

 

I just couldn't get with this one though, because it seemed over dramatic. I have seen documentaries about people in far worse situations in other countries and stuff. I do a lot of the old documentaries about the World wars and such, and to get so sentimental over a story like this was hard for me. Mainly because there are far worse struggles a person can go through. 

 

But you are right, that cinematography and stuff works. If their soundtrack was better, it would have worked even more. 


They call me the Tutorial Doctor.


#13 mikeman   Members   -  Reputation: 2269

Posted 10 April 2014 - 11:33 AM

I think the documentary kind of presents you with 3 "types" of indie developers, and maybe leaves you asking which one would you want to be more like. To be sure, all 3 games are excellent in their own right, and I'm not in a position to criticize them directly simply because I haven't made any game of that calibur, and not for the lack of trying.

 

For instance, Jonathan Blow(Braid) seems fairly balanced, although quite an introvert(as many of us, I guess), probably a bit pretentious, and he is known for making somewhat grandiose statements and analysis of the state of gaming, its relation to the "human condition", indie vs "AAA" games and so on. 

 

On the other hand, it is probably known that Phil Fish(Fez) is, well, kind of a mess. As of now, he has abandoned the development of Fez 2 because of a quarell he had with a video game reviewer, and the subsequent twitter flamewar. So it seems he does invest an unhealthy amount of emotions into this whole ordeal.

 

And lastly, Edmund McMillen(Super Meat Boy) strikes me as the developer who is just passionate about making fun, good games, and that is it. His game is the least "pretentious" of the bunch, just excellent platforming goodness with a deep understanding of the genre, and he's also the one who went to make a second indie "hit", with the Binding of Isaac, which is also pretty awesome. 

 

So I guess it's not strange that we all liked "the guy with the cat and the wife" more smile.png


Edited by mikeman, 10 April 2014 - 11:39 AM.


#14 rAm_y_   Members   -  Reputation: 480

Posted 10 April 2014 - 12:21 PM

I disagree, I thought it was quite inspiring. As said, it's a documentary, add some music and selective editing and you can squint reality quite a lot. They were ordinary people living their lives the way they saw it while trying to make a living.

 

The guy who was talking of killing himself, his father had cancer, his girlfriend left him, his parents got divorced, and his partner also left in bitter circumstances,then all the stress and isolation of creating the game, lack of funding and uncertainty, well.....

 

Apparently the guys at id were very similar when they finished Quake, 'broken' in their own words, and only JR turned up on the last day to package and upload the game to shareware.

 

So I didn't see the problem. All the isolation and uncertainty of being indie would/could be really depressing. I would find myself similar I know.



#15 Dwarf King   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1911

Posted 10 April 2014 - 12:42 PM

you've got to crack a few eggs to make an omelette smile.png

 

Have a nice evening(it is evening here in the cold North right now).


"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education"

Albert Einstein

"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education"

Albert Einstein

 


#16 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 1687

Posted 10 April 2014 - 12:54 PM

I have been hearing of "The Binding of Isaac" but I didn't know the guy with the cat and wife was the one who did that one. Now I guess I will see what it is about, although that title has me a little prejudiced.

One thing I also like about documentaries is that there are often afterstories.

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.


#17 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31781

Posted 10 April 2014 - 08:56 PM

Two of the guys in the film are dealing with mental illness - you've got to take that into account when trying to judge their personality.

 

They've also made the huge decision of gambling their own livelihoods on a little game project. They've got no money, no disposable incomes... they've sunk a countless amount of time into trying to make their project, and they've got such a sunken cost that they can't escape it. You can't take a break, because your life is on hold until you finish this -- no money for a vacation, and no prospect of money until you're done. You're so close to the game that it's not even fun any more, you're desensitized to it, you've lost perspective. They've got very few social outlets, they're just stuck in their work. There's no boss to tell you what to do either, to tell you to work 9-5, show up on time, shave, shower...  When there's no standard routine or other people sharing an office with you, then the difference between normal work and crunch time isn't apparent. Their futures in the industry are also at stake -- if you go through years of that only to be bankrupt and ruined at the end of it, emotionally exhaused, and taunted by online rants of 15 year olds calling your game a fag, then you're going to want out. If you've spent your whole life wanting to be a game-dev and then that happens, it's going to completely destroy your worldview (which is extremely mentally destabilizing)... Until you start missing your rent and utility payments, max out a credit card, and deal with the very real prospect of losing everything you've spent your entire adult life building, then you probably won't appreciate the stresses that can exist in giving up paid work to try and form a startup around your own product.

 

Get someone who's already dealing with chronic depression and put them in that pressure cooker, and yes, you're going to get some good drama on film... and a lot of un-empathetic, ignorant, sociopathic internet jerks insulting them.



#18 Dwarf King   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1911

Posted 11 April 2014 - 11:09 AM

 

That video pretty much let you understand what feelings any start up feel. It ain't easy or pretty, it is pure madness and still people do it because they just cannot stop it.


"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education"

Albert Einstein

"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education"

Albert Einstein

 


#19 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 1687

Posted 11 April 2014 - 11:42 AM

Seems I exhibit very few of the qualities that define a good entrepreneur. Well, perhaps I do, but I haven't had the right opportunity to, and I have no idea what business I would start anyhow. I guess one thing I saw over and over in the Indie Game movie and this video is that you can't be afraid of failure. Although I would assume a person who has invested so much money and effort into something would be afraid it may fail. Seems like a natural phenomena. The thing is coping with failure and going at it again.


Edited by Tutorial Doctor, 11 April 2014 - 05:25 PM.

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.


#20 Ravyne   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 8060

Posted 11 April 2014 - 12:53 PM

I need to watch it again this weekend. I certainly felt motivated after seeing it the first time, and I've been dealing with a ton of crunch at work and other things at home that are finally winding down, so a little boost would be a nice way to start moonlighting again.

 

Its clear that everyone is really invested in what they're doing, but each subject handles it more or less well. Some of these folks are betting their financial futures on their work, some their reputation, and a few, it seems, their self-worth. I don't think that's specific to indie gamedevs though -- Anyone committed to trying to start their own thing and make their own way would feel the same, especially if they've made the same kinds of sacrifices and big bets that these folks have made. Top it off with mental illness and you really have people who are desperate to succeed. I know people who are wildly successful by any objective measure and they similarly can wrap themselves and their self-worth around things that would seem trivial or inane to an outside observer. To some, all their success feels empty without that one thing that they think is their keystone.

 

Most people in this world will never fear that because most people in this world will give up long before they allow themselves to become so invested in any one thing (the exception seems to when it comes to finding love). But that's not to say that all you need to succeed is an ability to dismiss fear or doubt and press on. Sometimes fear is healthy and keeps you from doing stupid things like fighting bears or mortgaging your house to fund your turn-based unicorn-simulator ORPG. I think most successful entrepreneurs are a bit like professional stunt-men -- There's always risk and it can't be avoided, so you look around, measure it twice, figure out a plan, put redundancies in place, and surround yourself with people you can trust -- if at any time it looks like a bad idea you bail or go back to the drawing board, otherwise you put your faith in your plan and your people and go for it 100%. There's a huge difference between accepting risk and just ignoring it though. The one's that ignore it are usually the one's that wind up lost and overwhelmed when things deviate from the ideal; those who calculate the risks have a plan and pivot quickly.

 

Phil Fish of Fez seems to be more of the type who ignored or was unaware of the risks, being bedazzled by a lofty goal. I'm frankly amazed that he pushed through it in the end and I don't think he deserved the scorn and jilting he got from people. But he seems to have ended up getting through it by essentially mortgaging his self-worth when it was the only currency he had left. That is, when making a great game was no longer a big enough carrot, the specter of loosing his reputation and self-worth became the stick. But I don't know the guy, that's only from what I've seen and read. He seems like a guy that maybe bit off more than he should have but somehow, amazingly, stuck with it to completion. I don't think he's an asshole, I just think he was pushed to the breaking point. I'd have a beer with the guy any time. I hope he comes back to development after he's decompressed.

 

Jonathan Blow is pretty forthcoming about his issues, and its clear that he's pretty practiced in dealing with them. Phil is an example of someone who was breaking, Jon is an example of someone who knows how to recover (which is always easier said than done). He's clearly introspective and worldly, which is often a common manifestation of someone who's learned to deal with their illness. They spend a lot of time examining and reflecting. To people who spend less time doing that, it can come off as pretentious or arrogant. And the irony is that most of those people have opinions and views they might not ever have examined closely, and espouse them as truth, which is truly arrogant.

 

Edmund is clearly happiest -- he's also the one who's made the most games and built up over years from small scale. He's the stunt-man, knowing the challenges and risks and taking a measured shot. He's also got the support of his wife and AFAIK, no compounding psychological trauma's or mental illness. Its no wonder he's the most sound.






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