Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

We Are All Game Developers Now

Posted by Rampant Coyote on July 9, 2013

Unity just announced that they now have over 2 million registered users.

Let that sink in just a sec. Two. MILLION.

Okay, now to be reasonable – it’s free, it’s hot stuff, and so I’m quite sure that more than half of these “developers” download the software and never get beyond ten minutes of fiddling around with it. Some never even install it. But even so… even if you assume only one in ten actually use Unity to make a game, that is an insane number of game developers.

And that’s only the people who have tried out Unity. While I’m not sure how your average game developer could avoid the temptation to “sneak a peak” at a free, popular tool even when they are content with their own development system, I’m sure there are many who haven’t yet.

And you wonder why the average indie game sells as many copies to count on your fingers and toes?

This is simultaneously a dream and a nightmare to me. WAAAAAY back when I first started getting excited about indie games, and called myself an “indie evangelist,” I dreamed of the day when technical barriers to developing games would be reduced enough that anybody with a desire to make games could do so with a moderate amount of effort. That day is here. But even then, I realized what kind of world it would be when that happened:

TONS of games. Most of ‘em crap.

We’re not quite to the point of YouTube insanity (where EVERYBODY is a TV channel… and the barriers are even lower), and not even to the level of the book publishing industry yet. Or music.  Those who have released commercial-quality games to the public (whether offered completely free, or having had some form of monetization) are still a somewhat elite bunch (in my eyes, anyway). But it’s no longer much of an exclusive bunch.

In the early years of the Utah Indie Night meetings, I would have the somewhat exceptional status of being one of the few people in the room who had actually had released and sold a game as an indie (and, of course, as a “mainstream” developer prior to that). We were regular attendees, but almost everyone else was still aspiring to release their first game. Now, I’m a slowpoke. Ancient history if a year has gone by since my last release. While the “released” indie devs are still a minority there, we are no longer a novelty or an exception. I personally *love* the change, as I get the opportunity to network with and pick the brains of a lot of different people with lots of practical experience under their belt. I can listen to other peoples’ war stories.

But there are a lot of indie games out there. And a lot more coming out. It’s a glut. I think it’s part of a cyclical trend that’s healthy for the industry as a whole, it comes with its problems. I do see a correction coming, as there’s just too much content for players to keep up with.  I’m kinda looking forward to what the landscape looks like at that point, once the current “gold rush” is over. The committed will still be there, cranking out quality titles. The crap ratio will improve. And there will still be low barriers to entry for those who really want to make games.

So – overall, in spite of current problems – I’m still seeing this all a desirable thing. I’m not for artificial boundaries and limitations. I like seeing what all of you folks come up with!


Filed Under: Biz, Indie Evangelism - Comments: 5 Comments to Read



  • Cuthalion said,

    Well, the other day I just got started programming again after taking a break to get married! So, I’ll see what my team and I can come up with. :D

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Congrats!

  • Cuthalion said,

    Thanks!

    I am now realizing the disadvantages to making an isometric tactical RPG in 2d. Namely, it’s a pain to walk behind things. And jump, though that’s finally sorted. Now I know why every other game I’ve played like this always locks you into tile movement.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Hah! That sounds familiar! Yeah, I made some similar discoveries about why the RPGs of the past did things a particular way when I found myself facing the same challenges. In some cases, I kept forging ahead “the hard way,” but in others I opted to modify my grand design to make life a little easier on myself.

  • Xenovore said,

    Yeah, I’ve been saying for a long time now: if it “looks” 3D, just do it in 3D. Back in the day, hardware limitations made 2D isometric the way to go (e.g. Diablo 1). These days, there’s just no good reason to do it (e.g. Diablo 3); and you can do so much more when it’s fully 3D.

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