|We are! That's a term that you hear more and more these days. It looks like our industry is getting more notice. An Independent Game Developer, or Indie, is someone who creates games for themselves. |
To really explain, we should discuss the opposite side: the Dependie. A Dependie is what the 'real' game industry is made up of: big companies who are given millions of dollars by publishing companies to create extremely derivative games. What that means for the poor dependie is that he's at the mercy of the publisher - the publisher put up the money, so he gets to decide how the game should be. If he wants asteroids-style controls, even though the game only has 8-way facing (I speak from experience), he gets it. If, the next week, he says that was a dumb idea, and says it was your idea, and says to remove it, you have to. After all, you're dependent on his money!
An indie isn't given money by anybody. He makes the game he wants to make, from start to finish, and then he looks for money from it (or not - maybe he gives it away for free!). He might sell it himself, or he might try to get a publisher to take it, but the key difference is that the publisher has no say in what the game is like. The indie had complete creative control, and is now saying "This is what I've made, you can take it or leave it!"
In short, an indie game developer is exactly the same thing as an indie musician. It's wonderful to be an indie. You get to make exactly what you want, you get to keep all the profits, and you get to directly interface with your fans. The only downside is that all the responsibility is on you too. If you don't succeed, you just might have to become a dependie! Or a burger flipper. So there is pressure to make something that fits the market, or plays to a big demographic or something, rather than whatever crazy ideas are in your head. But the important thing is - it's up to you. And that's what's great. I ain't got no boss!