Ron’s Game Shop

Welcome back to The Game Shop. It has been a while since I have had the opportunity to write for this, so let’s get back to it. I want to start the year off with independent games (I will refer to them as indie games from now on).

Almost every single video game that kids play these days was created by huge game development companies. Some of these companies take quantity over quality, and rush the production of the game to get it out as soon as they possibly can; which in most cases results in a lower quality product. Some companies that are guilty of this include Activision, with their Tony Hawk and annual Call of Duty series; Electronic Arts, with their Madden and NCAA Football series; Ubisoft, with their Just Dance and Assassin’s Creed series; etc. The list could go on for a while. The huge companies usually charge $60 for a game, no matter how big or small the game is.

However, indie games are made by few people; either made by one person entirely on their own, or with a small group of less than 15 people.

Indie games are not churned out very often by indie game “studios,” instead opting to have great quality games, putting their heart and soul into each product. If the developers choose to put a price on their game, indie games usually never go over $10. Most indie developers either sell their games on their own so they get all the money, or they can put their game up through a major game distribution company, such as Steam for computer games, and Xbox Live for Xbox 360, to get more exposure.

I have a close online friend, Tom Anderson, who has been an indie game developer for four years, since he was 14. He has a group called “Carbonated Junkies,” because he and his friend Shawn, who makes the soundtrack for his games, drink a lot of soda when they work. I decided to interview Tom, and this is what I got out of him:

 

How many projects have you developed or have in development?

As of right now I have 1 project on hold and 1 project in development. My project in development is called 9Blade: Shogen.

 

What’s it like being an indie game developer?

I love it. Being independent in general is just a great thing; it allows you to do things the way you like to do things, which wouldn’t be an option if you were working for a major company.

 

Has being an indie game developer affected your life at all? If so, how?

If I asked you, “What’s two plus two?” the number four should pop into your head soon after. For me, if you asked me “How would you make artificial intelligence for a cat in your game?” all of the necessary code would then pop into my head the second after. It’s changed my way of looking at things. For example, I saw my brother get scared when a frog jumped out of a bush one time, and the first thing that came to my mind was, “That would be cool if in my game, the main character could get startled by things like that too.”

 

Do you work on your games by yourself? If not, how many people do you work with?

I do all of the graphic designing, level designing, character designing, story writing, coding, everything all by myself, except for one thing; the music. I work together with my good friend Shawn, he makes original soundtracks for any game I’m working on.

 

Would you rather keep your group small like it is, or do you think working in a bigger group would be better?

I would actually love it if I had someone to take over on the graphic design, level design, and maybe even development for me. But when it comes down to the story, game characters, and dialogue, I would like to keep doing that on my own; I love seeing my own ideas come to life.

If you want to keep up with the development of 9Blade: Shogen, you can check out Tom’s development blog at http://bebopthecoder.tumblr.com/.

 

Personally, I do think that indie games are the future of gaming. If these big publishers keep doing nothing but pumping out titles in big series that make them a lot of money instead of working on fresh, new content that has care and attention put into it, they will ruin the gaming industry. It’s already started, and it’s evident in series such as Call of Duty; if you listen to most Call of Duty fans, they complain about how the series has been bad lately, and each game that comes out every year is too much like the game that came out last year. It is absolutely ridiculous.

 

Indie games are created by people with solid ideas and pure intentions who want people to play their dreams and ideas in video game form. Support the indie game developers folks, give them a chance. You may find one with a great concept that you really love.

Blog by Ron Compton