I’m an independent game developer. Independent from publishers, independent from bosses, from 9 to 5 work schedules and commutes and possessions and national boundaries. Since I went indie in 2011 I’ve lived in 15 countries and released five games, including the post-apocalyptic strategy series Rebuild.
I know my experience isn’t the norm but if you’re keen to do the same I can tell you the steps I took to get where I am now.
Step 1: Love Games
In 1988 I was 8 years old and saving up for my first big purchase: a NES with a light gun, Duck Hunt and Super Mario Brothers. One afternoon of smushing goombas and I was hooked for a lifetime. Forget TV and books (or God help me, sports or makeup). Give me my video games! In my awkward teens I got deep into the vast open worlds of pc games like Sim City, Civilization, the Elder Scrolls and Might and Magic. Through them I learned how to navigate DOS, connect soundcard drivers and write batch scripts. I loved computers because they were full of little puzzles and let me play games but I knew the games industry was a very exclusive club of brilliant and hard working people. I believed if I was ever lucky enough to become a game developer, that video games would lose their magic and the last thing you’d want to do after working on games all day would be to play one.
I was wrong…