This post is part of Series: Being a programmer again
I am an indie game developer for the past… 2 weeks 😅. After a 25 year career as a programmer, team leader, support engineer, people manager, head of departments, startup founder, freelancer, I went back to my original passion—being a programmer again.
Not only that, I am now trying to find my path as an indie game developer. A crowded, competitive industry. Nevertheless, satisfying.
I searched and found that Greece (where I live) has a group called Game Developers Association Greece (GDAG). I noticed they had a meetup and I thought it would be a nice idea to attend. Here are a few photos, and a few thoughts from the 2nd GDAG meetup:
Thoughts and notes
- The place is as if it was taken from a little adventure game
- I have been in many networking events in my life, this one was vibrant
- Folks were so open to meet and talk and share their experiences
- People often choose to specialize in certain aspects of game development
- I am going indie so I either need to learn everything or outsource some
- My strategy is to ship small games very often until I find my path
- The trivia game that we played was a great idea
- We had to form teams of 4-5 people and answer a series of questions
- We named our team 2Weeks Trivia, and we won the 2nd place!!! ✨
- Our team had 3 members from 2Weeks, that’s why I named it 2Weeks 😃
- During networking, people most often asked:
- What do you do?
- What’s your game engine of choice?
- I noticed people defend their game engine choice
- Most use Unity or Unreal
- Nobody knew my game engine of choice, LOL! DragonRuby FTW 🤘😆.
- Most folks had been asking me why did I choose DRGTK?
- Not sure what to make of it
- I may blog about it at some point
- I met folks that want to get into developing/designing games
- Most folks have been spending too much time on one single game
- You’ve got to ship often or at least share demos early
- Most folks or groups want to self-publish and don’t trust big publishers
- But if you need the money you better find a publisher
- You either burn your own money or ask for funding
- I kept mentioning my ex-colleague’s new ethical publishing company Null Games
- Seems like success is a long shot
- Even folks that made some money, it’s not enough to sustain them
- What am I getting myself into? 😅
- Most are into 3D games
- Some folks were looking for help, some for a job
- There was a mix of folks ranging from indie to bigger known studios
- Thessaloniki is a great place for such a creative community
- We had folks from abroad that now live in Thessaloniki
- It was too hot inside
- I am so glad I went
- Met folks that could help me on 2D graphics and music
- Once again I am getting myself into a scary situation, which is good
I mentioned my strategy is to create many small games and ship often until I figure out what works. I am mostly focusing on 2D games. I hear those are a bit easier as an indie game developer. Regardless of what you develop, you have to remain focused with your strategy. It is, however, very easy to break that. An example is what I did for the past couple of days. I started a little open source project to control some aspects of how I setup a development environment for my games. That may or may not prove useful to other folks. I could have spent the time on my current game, but I succumbed to that distraction. No regrets though. Check it out:
My first game is Double Dragonfly. It’s not exactly an original game. It started from the book I have just read, Building Games with DragonRuby. But I have extended it and tweaked it a bit. I have more ideas for later, so it will definitely become a bit more unique. For now, you can play it online or download it for your operating system. Check it out:
I have also started working on another tiny game for the KIFASS game jam. I don’t have much time though, and I hope I will ship something. I only have about 7 to 9 days, depending on what else I will be doing.
Building in public
I have decided to try building in public. Here are some thoughts on that:
- It’s fun sharing
- Hoping I can build an audience
- It may be fun for the audience, and even a good learning source
- May get feedback and testing
- Develop trust and be transparent
- Include the good and the bad
- Learn and improve
- See what works
- Sharing increases my motivation
- I may also be more accountable
It certainly takes time, but I enjoy it for now. I do that on Twitter (being noisy there), but I am going to share summaries here as well. If you want to see frequent updates, I would appreciate a follow.
You got to eat
As I am burning money, a source of pressure is how to make a living. That’s not clear yet, but I have changed my LinkedIn profile to talk a bit about services I can provide as an external contractor and a consultant. Let me know if you need any help. First couple of meetings are always free, so asking doesn’t hurt 🙇♂️.
I had talked about why a few blog posts ago. In summary, it’s all about acting and doing what I want without postponing for some ideal future time. That time will probably never come. I always wanted to see how it is to create games, and here I am trying it.