Indie developer Q & A

Indie games development has a different set of challenges and rewards, something that part-time developer Juuso knows all too well – having formed his indie development company, Polycount Productions, way back in 2005.

Juuso has created and co-produced three smaller puzzle-style games, and one larger project, Dead Wake. He has had projects that have been cancelled. He is also in the process of creating a new, horror experience, called The Infected Game.

With all that experience, Juuso recently sat down for a brief interview with Games and Business.

What do you enjoy about the indie development scene?

Seeing innovate gameplay ideas come true.

What would you say would be the biggest challenges in producing a successful indie game?

That's a tough question. First one must define what successful indie game is. It could be easy to say that "resources" would be the toughest challenge, but perhaps a bigger challenge is deciding how you are using your scarce resources. I guess one needs tons of persistence.

What are the marketing options for an indie developer or publisher? How can you make a game stand out against larger commercial projects?

Even indies can benefit from distribution channels like Steam and other portals which can be a fine solution for some indies. Entering contests like IGF (and winning the bloody thing) can raise awareness. Of course a lot of the marketing depends on your own efforts.

I wrote a lengthy article title Basic Marketing Plan which goes deeper into this subject: - but basically, it's tons of work.

How do you finance an indie project? How difficult is it to raise the resources to see a game through to completion?

I do contract/part-time work and fund everything on my own. One thing about being indie is about figuring out how to do a game on a shoestring budget. Indies don't need to try compete AAA games in graphics (that would never work), but rather do great job on polishing the gameplay.

What would be your advice to an indie developer starting off on their first project?

Starting is easy, finishing is hard. Prototype a lot. Ask around. Suck information like a sponge. (And read this and articles where this article points to:

Do you see any changes occurring within the games industry that will have a major impact on the indie scene?

I would expect mobile world to be a biggie. Add social gaming there and you have new opportunities to explore.

Click to follow the development of The Infected