William Monks Independent Game Development
What is an “Indie” Game??? • An indie game is a game made without the financial support of a video game publisher. • Typically made by a small team.
Who Can Make Indie Games??? • You! • Anyone with the desire • Programming skills not necessary! • Solo or team
Good Reasons For Development • Looks great on the résumé! • To Learn • Personal Satisfaction • You have a great idea!
Unrealistic Notions: • I'll be rich! • I'll be famous! • I'll be able to support myself!
Strategies • Program everything from scratch • Use existing tools and libraries to aid you • Use a game engine • Use a game creation program
Program Everything From Scratch • Pros • Maximum flexibility • Looks best on the résumé • Turns boys into men and girls into women • Free
Program Everything From Scratch • Cons • Takes a lot of time • Requires programming skills
Program Everything From Scratch • Example: • rRootage by Kenta Cho • Vertical shooter, made in C++ • Awesome • Available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and iPhone • Open source
Libraries and Tools • Some popular ones: • Microsoft XNA • OGRE
Microsoft XNA • What is XNA? • XNA's Not Acronymed • A set of tools with a managed runtime environment • Encapsulates low-level technological details • Frees the programmer from writing boilerplate code • Cross-platform: Windows, Xbox 360, Zune and Windows Phone 7 • Supported Language: C#
Microsoft XNA • Pros • C# is easier than C++ • Lots of libraries available • Removes many mundane elements from game programming • Windows code runs on 360 with minimal modification • Xbox Live Indie Games • Free
Microsoft XNA • Cons • Only available on Microsoft platforms • Slower performance than pure C++ • Requires programming experience
Microsoft XNA • Example • Fez, by Polytron Corporation • Puzzle / Platformer • Awesome • Won “Excellence In Visual Art”award at IGF 2008 • Available on Xbox Live Arcadein 2010
OGRE • What is OGRE? • Open Source 3D Graphics Engine • A flexible 3D rendering engine for OpenGL and/or Direct3D • Not a game engine, only handles graphics rendering • Provides state of the art graphics rendering • Written for C++, many ports and wrappers exist for other languages
OGRE • Pros • Provides professional quality graphics rendering • High flexibility
OGRE • Cons • Only a graphics engine • Can be difficult to get set up
OGRE • Example • Torchlight by Runic Games • RPG • Awesome • Best Debut Game Award atthe 2010 Game DevelopersChoice Awards • Available on Windows and Macvia digital distribution • Picked up by publisher for retail
Game Engines • Provide many aspects of the game development for you • Cost ranges from free to more than you can afford
Example Game Engines • Unreal Engine 3 • Free for indie developers(in exchange for a cut) • I like it • DarkGDK • Free • I don't like it
Game Engines • Pros • Provide many aspects of the game development for you • Graphics, sound, input, scripting, etc... • Less programming needed • Can help you quickly create something of professional quality
Game Engines • Cons • Can be difficult to make something of a different genre than expected by the engine. • It can be difficult to make the engine do anything it wasn't expected to do. • Your engine's weaknesses can limit your game.
Game Creation Programs • Flash • RPG Maker • Multimedia Fusion • Game Maker
Flash • Pros • Easy to distribute, most people have the Flash browser plugin. • Great for prototyping ideas • Cons • ActionScript programming knowledge required • Limiting • Costs money you are unlikely to earn back
RPG Maker • Lets the user create their own traditional RPG • Easy to use • No programming required • Very limiting • Nearly impossible to make anything that is not an RPG or adventure game • Some brilliant results • $60
Multimedia Fusion / Game Maker • Lets the user create their own 2D or 3D game • Easy to use • No programming required, user applies conditions and logic to objects • Somewhat limiting • Many very impressive games have been made with these tools. • Spelunky • Noitu Love 2
That's all fantastic, but I can't draw! • Don't panic!!! • There are many resources for programmers in need of assets • Make the game with temporary crude graphics, and replace them later • Many artists can be found on the internet • If all else fails, you can purchase assets
A few concluding tips • Start small! Do something you know you can accomplish. • Follow through! It can be tempting to start over when you're in the middle of development...but don't! • Make a FINISHED game, not several unfinished games