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An Indie’s Momentary Doubts
by Matthew Burns on 12/19/12 02:27:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Greetings:

There are times in the life of an Indie game designer/developer when it is so difficult to get one's head, indeed one's mind around the project you have laid across your plate. The most frustrating of things is the knowledge it is your game, your project your vision.

I suppose some will simply call it anxiety, but it is not. Some will say you are trying to micromanage and analyze everything but you know it is not the reason. Other will flippantly maintain you worry to much. However, they are missing the point. The Indie game designer/developer knows the complexity lays far deeper. Yes, it is so much bigger and unfortunately darker...

There will be a day or a week or even a month when an Indie designer/developer wakes up and realizes the sheer scope of his/her game in progress. The whole project, this awesome idea for a game is but a vacillating and hazy object taunting, daring you to move forward through the unfamiliar. Yes this propagates throughout the evolution of the animation, voices, coding and so much other of which you (the game creator) had diligently laid out in the beginning. For some reason now an unexplainable lack of continuity and logic has amplified. At that moment, regardless of whatever period of time this "incident' lasts, you bow your head in front of the computer and with hands firmly clasp behind the head you believe there is no end, no decisive conclusion. Yes, there will be no clap on the back with the most rewarding of words, "Well done!"

For some reason you become haunted by the most open-ended of questions. What will the final game look like? Will people buy it? Crap, all that social media I have to deal with (can one person alone do it?). Damn, promotion and marketing...not my forte...Oh no, the press release; it must be flawless. Do not forget the list of reviewers...the promo codes. Damn, iTunes Connect! If there are bugs it takes time for updates to be approved and released. And most important of all, the very existence or your company hinges on the success of your Indie game! A company with no income cannot continue...

The only way I can describe this feeling is (if you are into theology) the shear hopelessness of attempting to understand "eternity." At that particular moment the vastness of the universe, time itself is unfathomable.

Now we all know no one can compare game design/development with the never ending expansion of the universe and the fate of man, but it sure as hell feels like the Seven Horses of the Apocalypse (led by Choo) are knocking at your door.

As the reader knows I am an optimist. In the end things will work themselves out and even the attempt at this most exciting of industries is a victory in of itself. Think of all the people out there who never took the change at being...well you know the rest...

Hang in there indies. These doubts will pass and the course will be visible again.


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Comments


Lex Allen
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This seems more of a problem of scope. If you start out with a small prototype and get positive feedback through crowdfunding, press, or other media, your idea is probably worth spending a lot of time on. If people are interested, you should be able to start working, but you need to be realistic about the size of the project and build accordingly.

Matthew Burns
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Lex, I appreciate your comment.

I wrote this blog from personal experience for all the other indies out there who have that momentary moment of doubt(s).

I am fortunate because everything (that can possibly be done) was laid out before any production began. My project is fully funded and I have had past experiences (good or bad). The team I have gathered is professional, experienced, efficient, productive and extremely imaginative.

I suppose in the end what I was trying to convey is in spite of it all there are times within a game development project (big or small) where you as an Indie wake up and have doubts. You are not the first. It is okay to have these hesitancies, but do not let it stop you no matter how big you (as an indie) believe they are. After all "These doubts will pass and the course will be visible again."


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