I typically try to share news and progress on this blog to help show people the actual in’s and outs of indie game development. Usually it’s pretty upbeat and fun. Most of the time it actually is…but…sometimes it’s hard.
To say that it’s “hard” has several meanings.
First, the technical hurdles of creating a video game are definitely not “easy”. Not to say with hard work and dedication it can’t be mastered…it certainly can. What I want to stress is that they are of varying degrees of difficulty, the learning curves are not all the same, and some of the information you need is buried deep in on-line forums and tutorials…or the cost to learn them in an academic setting is not cheap. Be prepared to get down in the trenches to learn all you need to know.
Second, the sheer amount of work needed to be done can actually be staggering if you aren’t fully prepared for it. I am personally into my fourth year working on this game IP…with some of my contributors into it almost nearly as long! There is story to be written, concept artwork to be drawn, assets to be modeled and textured, coding to be written, websites to be created and maintained, (blogs to be posted..hehe), legal trademark and copyright work to be done, marketing, social media, game testing, etc. I’m sure the triple-A studios feel this pressure as well, but when you have hundreds of people to help shoulder the load, I’m guessing it feels a bit different than when you are a group of about half a dozen people doing the majority of the work in their spare time.
Third…the cost. That in itself has multiple meanings. There is the monetary cost…which being a “no-budget” endeavor means having to work a regular job to keep yourself afloat while trying to create something that you most likely will never see a dime come out of until it is at least completed, if it sells at all. All the while there are legal costs, website costs, marketing costs, and occasional miscellaneous costs that you never see coming until it’s there. There is also, and in some respects to more of a degree, the time cost. All the people working on this…including myself…do so in whatever spare time they can find between full and part time jobs, school, family commitments, etc. Time is a currency we all share and have a limited amount of. The fact that we, the LEGACY team, choose to spend some of that precious resource on this game should tell you something about our expectations of it’s potential.
Lastly, but certainly not leastly (is that a word??)…and this I speak for myself , is that it is hard to sometimes focus on the project at hand when so many other factors like the ones above continually weigh on my shoulders. That and the self-proclaimed duty to see this project brought to completion. In the last four years I have probably taken an actual “vacation” with my wife once…which lasted two weeks. I have a shelf full of video games that I never play because I won’t allow myself to take the time away from the project. Every night after I come home from my day job, I eat dinner, hang out with my wife & play with the dogs for about an hour, then disappear into my home office for the rest of the night. That has been most of my days…for the past four years.
I don’t say all of this to make anyone feel sorry for me, I say it to show that along with the great, fun, exciting side of indie game development, there is also a grueling, exhausting, commitment-filled side as well that goes along with the first part like two sides of the same coin. That coin is the price of admission to the game development community. I just want to show you exactly what it will take to make that investment.
In the end, that coin will be the best money I ever spent!