Pirates is a multiplayer FPS themed in the 18th century Caribbean. You are placed in the role of a pirate and will find yourself battling other pacts, competing for precious booty, and working together to pillage and plunder ports and villages...

Report RSS Unfortunate reality of developing an indie game

In 2011 I decided to start this project. Before that I was into mapping and modding on Source engine. When I first had an interest in game development, there were few options. I've witnessed great improvements in game development for the little guy. That is good news for us devs, the rest of what I have to say is the bitter truth that still remains.

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In 2011 I decided to start this project. Before that I was into mapping and modding on Source engine.
When I first had an interest in game development, there were few options.
I've witnessed great improvements in game development for the little guy.
That is good news for us devs, the rest of what I have to say is the bitter truth that still remains.

In the beginning I was still learning how to be a good leader to make sure my project went well.
As a 3D artist, I sought to contribute to my own project and not just be one of these ideas guys bossing people around, but I realised that wouldn't be enough to be a good leader.
I created a lengthy design document and mediawiki with documentation for all major aspects of the development, and as requested by members I also did project management like Trello, setup and hosted the SVN on my own computer. I've increasingly been there to hold the hand of my team mates through any issues they have. I've listened to every criticism and evolved to maximise motivation, organisation, and communication.

And in the end these effort have done very little for productivity.
Why? Getting a successful team together without any money is like playing the lottery.
There are fantastic programmers and artists, but they tend to be too busy to make a dent.
There are individuals who have the free-time and motivation, but lack even the basic skills.
Then there are the applicants who never start.
And lastly, the biggest time wasters of all, the unmotivated and lazy failures that will likely never do anything professional in either coding or graphics because of that. They make up a disturbing portion of recruits/applicants.
What it comes down to in the end is either luck or money. Reliable and skilled people are too busy to join a project like this. My project is also not a very popular genre like WW2 and Zombie games, so that contributes to lack of decent help as well. People tend to want to help projects they are interested in, and so if my game is a niche genre, I can expect to see less interest in development.

I had the idea in my head that I could atleast get an alpha out of volunteer-labour, and then get a kick-starter going so I could pay for work with whatever we got until we had a finished sell-able product. We've all seen a handful of projects go this route and end up alright. Unfortunately in 4 years time, its been mostly development hell. I assumed most projects failed because of other reasons, but after exhausting all options except for money and 'doing it all myself/learning coding', it is clear to me now that it is the average indie/mod applicant that kills projects. The disappointment and negativity I've endured is toxic and will kill any project.

My leadership efforts in the end, became what they needed to be. In retrospect and in the absence of money, my focus should have been doing everything entirely myself, especially learning programming. It is the one area where I'm weakest and have had to rely on others for.

I have to decide now what I am going to do. If anyone is considering doing their own game, let this be a warning. If you cannot do everything yourself, if you have to rely on someone and you have no guaranteed way of funding the project, I wouldn't start.

Comments
Jetcutter
Jetcutter

Chris,
I admire this post.
I am in no way a game developer. However, I am charged with giving direction to many folks in my day to day job.
What I see is that a breakdown in communication, is a fatal flaw in any workspace.
I could only imagine the problems that arise, when you may be "working" remotely with people you have never seen.

I wish you luck on your studies, and hope you persevere in future ventures.

You have always been kind to me, and I will relish our meeting up.

Best,
Ben

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
Iv@n
Iv@n

This is why we can't have nice things :(

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
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