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Educational Feature: 'The Indie Scene'

Educational Feature: 'The Indie Scene'

February 14, 2008 | By Jill Duffy

Independent game developers aren't the scrappy bedroom programmers they once were. A new article on sister site explores how they've changed.

In this excerpt, author Albert T. Ferrer explains one of the causes:

"One of the causes of this trend is that major developers such as Electronic Arts are investing in the talent of the surrounding community, producing experienced employees who have been through the rigors of game development cycles.

In Vancouver for example, this fostering of talent has seemingly spawned numerous independent game companies who promote a different kind of company philosophy that stresses the importance of the employee's voice, creative freedom, and work-life balance.

For these new developers, starting out in a small space (much like a bedroom or garage) is a necessary part of the process.

Nik Palmer, CTO of Action Pants Games, a small game studio that does have the backing of a publisher, defines independent game developers as companies that 'can pick and chose which games project to make, how to finance that game project, and how and when that project will be developed.'

Most so-called indie developers say financial independence and self-funding play major roles in defining their independence, including Nick Waanders of Slick Entertainment. 'A truly independent studio,' Waanders says, 'is a studio that doesn't depend on external financing. Only then are you truly free to do whatever you want and create the riskiest projects known to man.' He adds that while many rely on publisher funding, 'there are a lot of studios that don't let this money issue hamper their ideas and ideals.'

Not all independent studios are characterized by whether they are financially independent, or whether they operate out of a garage. Many can afford to take up residence in wealthy parts of town, with oftentimes custom, loft-like office interiors, creating a comfortable laid back environment. Being indie doesn't always mean basement. It's also a culture and a mindset."

To read the complete article on the subject, visit

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