I just finished watching Indie Game: The Movie. I have to say, it’s a really good flick if you are in any way interested in video games or video game development. The movie does not cover video game programming, concepts, or techniques. It more so covers what kind of hard work and human pains and sacrifices that go into developing an indie game. How much? A lot goes into it. Be prepared if that is your destiny.
When I started the Computer Science program around 2000/20001 my initial goal was to get into game development. I think most people I knew wanted to do the same. I figured I would work my butt off and try to get into EA Sports located in Orlando, FL. Ideally, I wanted to work at Square Enix and work on some RPG. Realistically, EA Sports was right around the corner. After researching and talking to other programmers it turns out it really takes a certain work ethic and soul to get into game development. Super long hours. Stressful conditions. Sometimes you are sleeping overnight at the office only to wake up and code away to make a deadline. I’m sure it’s rewarding at the end but a few years of that day-in/day-out seems quite extreme. Especially now at the age 36. Being married and a soon to be dad makes you look at certain careers a bit more carefully.
Indie game development might have seemed more like my thing but after watching this movie I’m convinced I would have been going through similar pains. Yes, I could be developing THEE game my way but in the end you are still a business and you are still trying to ship a product. You make your own stress. You can still kill relationships (friends, wife, girlfriend, family, business partner, etc.). It’s not puppy dogs and sunshines on the indie side but probably more rewarding at the end.
In the movie you watch the developers of Fez and Super Meat Boy go through years of development. YEARS. Just in their little office or home space programming away. Rarely seeing people to socialize or seeing much of the outside. The topic of depression came up even suicide. Very extreme emotions I would rather avoid. By the end of the movie one group became mega successful. The other still in development (though Fez was finally released and recently on the Steam sale). You have to think how many other people are out there going through the same pains and troubles only to reach minimum success. Yes, a bit negative thinking but, again, at age 36 I’m willing to take less risk than say my 25 year old self. I just can’t do it now at this point in my life. I still dream of it and sometimes I tempt myself into putting the hours,days, maybe years worth of time into it. Then I take a step back and look around. I really don’t have the time to. I’ll continue to enjoy playing the game but I’ll leave the development to those who have been doing far longer and more dedicated than I am.
Indie Game: The Movie showed me what I was not missing in game development. I enjoyed it very much and glad it showed a side rarely seen. Also, kudos to those who succeed in a very hard industry to break into. Video game programming is no joke.