1.1 – Write a critical report (1500-2000 words) describing the principles of your chosen profession exploring the following:
- Investigate your chosen profession and identify the work flows used.
Indie Development – Since I like developing games from start to finish with a small group, doing a lot of different pathways of work myself, like the art and the programming, I feel as if Indie Development would be a good idea for me, even if I’m working in a small group, I would love to work on multiple fields of the game.
It’s a risky path to go down since Indie game companies don’t usually earn much money, it’s a gamble – You would most likely have to have a normal job alongside it.
The reason I like this job is that I would love to have a broad knowledge and broad specialisms, I want to be able to be good at multiple things to help out the company, another reason I want to be good at multiple things is because I would love to lead a company, and being an indie developer would get me understanding every aspect of games development so I can properly critique work.
Being an indie developer involves doing lots of things yourself or working tightly together with a small group, so you would need to find multiple talented people to work with you or do it yourself, and, if it becomes an anticipated game, you have a lot of hard, unpaid work to do, but you’ll be learning lots through.
And if all goes successful, it’s a great way to get your name out there so you can go on and take your first step into becoming a well-known game developer, from indie companies you can move on to work with triple-A companies and produce larger games, and build yourself up from there.
The pros of being an Indie Developer are – You are constantly doing lots of different jobs, so you will have a broad knowledge of the whole field, so you
know what you’re really good at, the deadlines and release date will most likely be more chill, you won’t be pressured as much if you’re working with a small group, if your working by yourself then you’re your own boss. The other pros include the satisfaction when you get the game completed and you feel the attachment to it, and then it becomes a well made game which gets good reviews
The cons of being an Indie Developer is the income, you most likely won’t get stable pay- if any pay- at all, since you would be working with donations and/or working hard in a small chunk of time with a part time job alongside developing the game, so it can put a lot of pressure on you to get your game out there and get it known so you can work full time on your game.
- The workflows of an indie developer can be varied every single day, but how it mostly works is there will be a project leader, who sets tasks for everyone to do, so who does the art for what, who does the models and programming, and they will each do their own little parts, or what they’re good at, some of the time alternating with jobs, pretty much everyone tributes to every section of the game, so the best artist on the team would do most of the art work, and then the others would tribute to it with critique, sometimes, there would be lots of people who help design, no matter their drawing skill since it can be reproduced to a higher standard by a better artist with the one who designed it by their side, or a programmer can program a basic concept for the game and showcase it to the entire team and get their opinion on it, which would help them come up with more ideas and/or critique for the function which they implemented, this is another reason why I would love to work with a small group, since you get lots of critique from the small group and can work closely together instead of split up on your own tasks a lot of the time.
- Another workflow could be working independently, this means you’ll be creating the entire game (or at least a prototype of the game) yourself without anyone else working alongside you – The work flows of this would begin with the design of the game, so this would be ‘what’s the gameplay going to be like?’ – ‘what sort of game is it?’ – ‘how is it going to draw the player in?’ – ‘what art style is the game going to have?’ – ‘What’s the story?’ etc.
The cons of doing this is areas that you don’t excel at would stick out like a sore thumb, for example, if you made a great game with poor art for the title or the sprites, your game would immediately look bad, and it would make the whole game look bad just because of one aspect of it.
You’ll be designing the story, characters, concepts, UI, UX, you’ll be programming, marketing, doing all the artwork, blog post updates so-on so-forth.
The reason why I prefer the first workflow is because, if you’re an indie developer, there is a lot of pressure put on you, but if you’re working as a group, there isn’t as much pressure, but that’s all down to your own personal opinion, if you’re working by yourself you may get lazy and forget to do bits of your work, or the game wouldn’t be produced for long, you’ll stop mid-way through development, whereas if you work with a group, there is a better chance that you will see the game through to completion, and it’s more bearable, but as a group there will be deadlines, by yourself you set them.
- Investigate the historical influences of your chosen profession.
Pong (1972) was a huge step in the right direction when it was made and ported to home console, originally before that Pong was one of the first arcade games,
and the gaming industry wasn’t even a thing, wasn’t even thought to be a thing. When Pong was brought to the home console, it was a huge success – ‘In November 1975 Atari released a home version of their popular arcade game Pong. It was the first use of a microchip in an Atari product and was in development for two years under the lead of Allan Alcorn and Harold Lee. By Christmas of 1975 Atari had become a major company in the home console market due to Home Pong’
But Pong started the whole home console and gaming industry, after pong, you have games like Wolfenstein 3D which was made in 1992, Wolfenstein 3D is a very graphically impressive game for it’s time.
Back in 1992, there wasn’t any big 3D games, until Wolfenstein came out, it changed a lot of peoples perspectives on games which eventually started making more 3D games
Wolfenstein 3D was released in 1992 which lead onto Quake in 1996, these are both FPS games which have changed the gaming industry forever, before this, there wasn’t really any first person shooter games, and these two were the first to get proper attention, which grew the genre of FPS games.
Quake was released in 1996, which was the year which Super Mario 64 came out, which was a huge success as well, consoles began coming out which are powerful enough to run a 3D game, and more and more 3D games began coming out, making games a lot more immersive than they used to be, back in 1996, seeing a game like Quake and Super Mario 64 was amazing, since it was different.
Shortly after those two games came out, Ocarina Of Time (1998) was released, and the graphics for that game was really impressive for it’s time, but now you look back at it, it hasn’t aged well, but that just shows us that over 21 years, graphics have improved an immense amount.
But how has Indie games developed over time?
Indie games are a whole other story, since they would be developed with a limited budget or software, with only a few people or even one singular person working on a game.
The term ‘Indie games’ wasn’t really used until the early 2000’s – The indie game scene started on PC’s, with one or two programmers would make a game and self-distribute it in stores or mail order.
There was also Shareware games, which would be distributed as downloadable demos or full games, these could be also in magazines, which was an easy way for indie developers to get noticed.
By the mid-1990’s, 3D games became big, and indie game developers couldn’t really catch up with commercial quality games.
But then indie development became popular again in the early 2000’s from the availability of online distribution over the internet, and the fact that Adobe Flash was available for cheap, the new interest led to middleware and game engine developers to offer their products at low or no cost for indie development in addition to open source libraries and engines.
Engines like Game maker and Unity and Unreal Engine removed much of the programming barriers needed for a prospective indie developer to create these games.
Online distribution did help indie developers get their games out to the public but
online digital game storefronts become coming out, for example; Steam & GOG.com.
These allowed developers to publish their games directly and was a lot more efficient.
Indie developers didn’t really make much money though, it wasn’t really a career, so thats when crowdfunding became popular for the developers, sites like Kickstarter allowed the developer to post a trailer and screenshots of their game and get the support of fans to work on their game full time, but it doesn’t always work.
With crowdfunding, you can raise thousands which can help you pay for bills and stuff so you can work full time on the game.
- Investigate the contemporary influences of your chosen profession.
I’ve been to many game development events and have networked with multiple indie developers, just recently I’ve attended Develop : Brighton, and attended the Indie Bootcamp talks which were held, which lead to me learning a lot more about how people survive being an Indie Developer, and a long with those talks I’ve met friends which are at Game Jams and Networking events which are indie developers, and these guys really have inspired me to become one myself, for the time being. I don’t want to fully pursue in an indie development career until I know it’s safe to do so, I would ideally like to join a company so I can ensure I can get paid.
I think Game Jams are what really have pushed me to love indie development, as you’re a small group working together to produce something great.
One of the people I’ve met are David Strachan, he made a game which is currently still in development, looking at going on steam soon.
He developed a co-op game called Undercrewed.
David explained to me the pros and cons of working as an indie developer, and I’m glad to have met him personally.
Another indie developer I really like is Jordan Scott, he’s currently developing a game called Arbiter, and it was all developed in Unity, which is what makes it even more impressive.
His development inspires me as I now know that Unity can do a lot more.
There is also a friend of mine called Joe Shanahan, he is a really impressive game developer, he’s great at programming and 3D modelling and I aspire to be like him one day.