Transitioning from Hobbyist to Full-time Indie

We all are familiar with some of the negative gamer stereotypes that have been circulating around the US for years – that gamers are all fat, smelly and socially awkward virgins is just plain wrong. One of the ways that we can escape these stereotypes is by reinforcing the positive ones, one of which is that gamers are creative. I’ve known many people that have become successful Indie developers, creating new ways to capture the imagination of the world. But how would one go about making the transition to hobbyist to successful Indie game maker?

Starting the journey to power and prestige

Hobbyist game developers usually have a lot in common including a devout love of games, ideas spilling over the brim, and that still-in-the-learning-stage type of programming. Considering the Cinderella story of internet entrepreneurship that was Minecraft, there obviously is a right way to make this dream a reality.

Bastian is also an indie worth looking up to, what with their really cool artwork and huge success as they partnered with Warner Bros.  Wouldn’t we all like to someday, finally be able make the same type of statement as Amir Rao, the Studio Director of Supergiant Games, “Warner Bros. instantly saw the potential of our original game world and narrative style, and is providing Supergiant Games with the support and autonomy we need to make Bastion an amazing experience.”

Small teams are popping up everywhere that have been commercially successful, but hobbyist forums are still full of people wondering if they should stick with their unfulfilling job until they save up enough to hire an artist or coder in order to really start living their dream.

Setting goals and accomplishing them

In a world of so many options for indie game publication, all of which seem to be changing radically, it’s important to set realistic goals as part of a holistic plan. There are many different ways to make it big, but perhaps one of the best ways to start is through modding.

For a true indie developer fairy tale, look no further than DayZ. ARMA 2, released by Bohemia Interactive Studio, has experienced a huge amount of extra success due to its now infamous mod, DayZ, developed by the now infamous Dean Hall. The zombie-infested mod earned Hall a spot at Bohemia, working as project lead on DayZ’s standalone version. In the next step of his career, Dean will leave Bohemia to start his own studio- a studio that will have been born from showing his passion and his skills by modding someone else’s game.

Going through the creative process

The developers block is a real thing, and the best way to deal may be to just do something else for a little while. Who knows, inspiration might even come to you while playing a parking game like these.

A beautiful quote from a discussion on The Guardian shows us how influential the Indies are. A twelve year old English boy discussed his love for Minecraft, “It’s like you are in a different world where everything is made by you. You can connect with your friends and you’re living like you normally live, but you have to build your own house and your own shops and trees and keep getting better at it.”

As Indies get more traction and influence in the commercial world, they must get creative and aim to replace negative stereotypes with positive ones. The independent game development industry is special in that it rewards both creative and technical skills for those who dream of sharing their creativity with the world.


About BreannaJames

Breanna James loves lattes, squishables, and flash game development. Follow her on twitter to keep up with her latest blog posts and perhaps even relate to her BTVS addiction @Brainy_Breanna.
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