eXTReMe Tracker

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Developing Nations

'How To Succeed At Indie Development', on Gamasutra, provides fresh insight into the oft-forgotten world of the independent developer. In the article, "The tricks that publishers can play" is outlined as a danger facing the small development studios. In the action of submitting a portion of their independence, an indie developer risks losing their profits and intellectual property to the claws and sub-clause of a publisher. Avoiding the pitfalls requires skill, in choosing the right publisher and in working through the contract with a fine comb.

The contribution that indie developers make to the wider games industry is phenomenal. Rather in the way the PC is used by established developers to test a 'risky' IP, such as The Sims (So Mr. Wright, your new game idea is for a virtual doll's house?), the advantages inherent within the independent nature of indie developers allows for experimentation and innovation. Encouraging skilled but un-published programmers to keep on trying - through government grants to act as a catalyst to a fledgling sector of our industry, or simply words of encouragement or promises of job prospects from within the gaming world - can only help the gaming industry.

The Gamasutra article mentions a scheme in Canada which offers loans for game development, re-payable only if the game is a commercial success; this essentially removes the fear of failure which may prevent potential indie developers from taking even the most tentative steps into the murky waters of development. I can't imagine the Canadian loan company making anything but a loss from this venture, but in the UK we have a National Lottery, of which 28 pence from every pound ticket goes towards monetary grants for good causes. Perhaps the many gamers of this sceptred isle would be open to the prospect of playing with Dale Winton's balls if they thought he could pass on our squandered cash to the indie developers.

No comments: