I'm speaking at the 2014 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Thursday morning, March 20 at 10 AM in Room 2020 of the West Hall. I'm not sure of the exact count, but this will be something like presentation number 22 for me at the American GDC, going back to the late 1980's.
My topic this year is "Going Indie: 10 Questions to Help You Decide if It's Right for You."
I've worked as an Indie developer for the last six years, and advise teams ranging from 3-person startups to large international publishers. I keep reading two kinds of articles about Indie development in games and apps:
1. It's an explosive growth area with lots of individuals and small teams producing hits and making money
2. With hundreds of thousands of individuals working on hundreds of thousands of apps, going Indie is full of disappointment and broken dreams because getting noticed, not getting shipped, is now the critical barrier to success.
Both of these summaries, of course, are truthful. If you read one headline you'll emulate the gold miners of 1849 in San Francisco and abandon everything to run away and join the rush into Indie game development.
If you read the other headline you'll hold on to your day job like a seat on a lifeboat rowing away from the Titanic.
Like most extremes, they miss the real potential and the real downsides of the experience.
The most important part of this talk is not what I say to the audience, but what the audience members say to themselves. I lead the group through a series of 10 questions that cover the first-tier issues of considering working in (or leaving) Indie development. I don't ask anyone to share their answers, so whatever people choose to write down is for their own eyes only.
My goal is that by the end of the session each person will have had the chance to have a private dialogue with themselves that gives them a set of basic ideas about how they personally can look at Going Indie, and what they may want to do next based on those feelings.
I did a similar program at GDC last year, and I was really pleased to hear that people got widely different answers for themselves out of the process, because this means they were listening to their own personal voice instead of asking me to tell them what to do.
If this all sounds interesting I look forward to seeing you there!
Photo credit: Retna Karunia