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Tutorial Doctor

Anyone seen that "Indie Game" Movie?

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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?

 

 

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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.

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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

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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
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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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
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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. 

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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
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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.

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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).

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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.
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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.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw7dij65N_0

 

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.

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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
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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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I think a lot of the criticism the movie gets is because people misunderstand its selling quote:

 

 

A documentary that follows the journeys of indie game developers as they create games and release those works, and themselves, to the world.

I've lost track of how many people I've seen watch it thinking it was  documentary howto on game development and then be offended because it really has nothing to do with game development outside of following the developers and getting their outlook on everything. That leads to another thing I see far too often, people wanting a detailed howto on making games thinking they will make the next huge game without any effort. 

 

I personally liked the documentary, though watching the segments on Fish made his ultimate exit last year no surprise at all. The others clearly had a grasp on it, but still put everything they had into it. I'm glad it all worked out in the end (well guess it technically didn't for Fish).

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Yes, I've seen it. And it was quite inspiring and intimidating, at the same time. These people bets their entire future into their game, and thus they put every effort into making the games successful, and then be rewarded for their efforts.

 

However, it also shows how much of a challenge indie game development could be. They finally got the financial (and mental) reward for their games, but had they failed, it would've been disastrous for them. No money left and broken self-esteem could easily lead to crazy things that I won't even mention here. I applaud them for their success.

 

It's also intimidating because they are (at least the coders) WAY better than me, and they still struggled like that. In one of his talks, Jon Blow (of "Braid" fame) said that his entire codebase for Braid was about 90k lines long, and that he'd code approximately 70-75% of it by himself, not as a result of boilerplate codes, or third-party libraries, which is a LOT of code. He also mentioned the productivity of the average coders (as measured in the Mythical Man-Month) is about 10 lines per day, which is 3650 lines a year, which mean it'd take almost 30 years to finish the game if a conventional approach is used. He resorted to basically just making the game work, without worrying about whether a certain approach is optimal or not. That, and the fact that the game was made in C++ (a language where angels fear to tread wink.png ) is simply intimidating to me.

 

However, the joy they showed when they finished the game is a big enough inspiration for me to move forward, even if it's hard. The fun in the process (which I've experienced) and the joy in the result (which they've shown) is too much for me to turn down. wub.png

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Yes, I've seen it. And it was quite inspiring and intimidating, at the same time. These people bets their entire future into their game, and thus they put every effort into making the games successful, and then be rewarded for their efforts.

 

However, it also shows how much of a challenge indie game development could be. They finally got the financial (and mental) reward for their games, but had they failed, it would've been disastrous for them. No money left and broken self-esteem could easily lead to crazy things that I won't even mention here. I applaud them for their success.

 

It's also intimidating because they are (at least the coders) WAY better than me, and they still struggled like that. In one of his talks, Jon Blow (of "Braid" fame) said that his entire codebase for Braid was about 90k lines long, and that he'd code approximately 70-75% of it by himself, not as a result of boilerplate codes, or third-party libraries, which is a LOT of code. He also mentioned the productivity of the average coders (as measured in the Mythical Man-Month) is about 10 lines per day, which is 3650 lines a year, which mean it'd take almost 30 years to finish the game if a conventional approach is used. He resorted to basically just making the game work, without worrying about whether a certain approach is optimal or not. That, and the fact that the game was made in C++ (a language where angels fear to tread wink.png ) is simply intimidating to me.

 

However, the joy they showed when they finished the game is a big enough inspiration for me to move forward, even if it's hard. The fun in the process (which I've experienced) and the joy in the result (which they've shown) is too much for me to turn down. wub.png

70% of 90k is 60k. So not too bad for a professional coder, that's 1200 lines a week for a year.

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Wow. 60k lines of code? I've got that pro-smirk on my face after 300. That kind of makes me uninspired though for the reason that the game is fairly simple. On the technical side it is not simple, but the game itself is rather simple.  

 

This is the reason I am looking for easier ways to do this game development stuff. Right now my favorite software is this app called GamePress on the app store. Hopefully soon it will get the spotlight it deserves. One of the developers was right when they said that their system is better than the systems that gamers currently use for making games. 

 

Now, flappy bird made 50,000 dollars a day, and someone used this GamePress app to make the same game (which could actually be made in a few hours. I wonder how many lines of code flappy bird had.

 

All I am waiting on is the ability to get the source for the game I make so that I can publish to IOS (which two games were able to do because they won a contest).

They can make a lot of money this way, and I would pay a pretty penny to be able to make a game so easily and publish it. I figure what they should do is host the game under their name, and charge a fee to cover costs for their developer's license and also get a percentage of any potential profits, non-techy people don't need a developers license. 

 

They'd become a sort of IOS game publisher for the average joe. Of course they are good about quality inspection themselves, so they wouldn't choose any ol' game to release. 

 

That would definitely inspire me, because I can do way less work, and make just as much money (I think games shouldn't have to be so technical to create). Then making games would be just as easy to get into as taking out a blank sheet of copy paper and a pencil and letting the creativity flow. 

Edited by Tutorial Doctor
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In one of his talks, Jon Blow (of "Braid" fame) said that his entire codebase for Braid was about 90k lines long, and that he'd code approximately 70-75% of it by himself, not as a result of boilerplate codes, or third-party libraries, which is a LOT of code. He also mentioned the productivity of the average coders (as measured in the Mythical Man-Month) is about 10 lines per day, which is 3650 lines a year, which mean it'd take almost 30 years to finish the game if a conventional approach is used.

70% of 90k is 60k. So not too bad for a professional coder, that's 1200 lines a week for a year.
Which is only 24x more productive than the average professional :-P
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