Ok seriously…should you really go indie? If you think you CAN get a job in AAA then go for it. Grab a bunch of people, preferably 1 with some business knowledge of how to run a company, because first and foremost it’s a business as opposed to hey friend 1, 2 & 3 lets make x game when we leave uni. You need to think about whether you can support yourself and however many of you are going to be in your indie studio.
Another thing is that your either going to be taking a second job on the side, or if you have the network or social abilities, is to do contract work. This is something that as a studio we are doing and is something we enjoy doing…but we’d prefer making our own stuff for obvious reasons.
Like even though I’ve gone indie straight away, I’d still recommend you go AAA to start with and then go indie. There are a bunch of things that you would learn from going AAA with how to build a video game that they just don’t teach you at university. There are some things that can’t be taught however and just have to be learnt through making a video game.
Another helpful thing to have is while your at uni, just make games and self-publish at least one of them. It doesn’t have to be the next Flappy Bird or Battlefield but it helps to show that your committed to trying to push yourself to make games without a team and also gets you familiar with all parts of creating a game from the idea (or initial random game jam) to creation and finally to publishing and marketing.
That’s another thing. Just do game jams before you go straight out. Make sure you work well in that team and its also another excuse to keep on making games. The more you get into it the better. And after all, not all games are shown. We have done several game jams and random projects that will never see the light of day but that’s OK. Especially if you push yourself to try something different be it an animated short or trying something wakey like a dual screen game where its the same game but maybe things are slightly different on one screen like difficulty or a unique gameplay mechanic is on one screen.
Also don’t be bogged down by needing to create a design doc. Don’t get me wrong they are hella useful especially when your working with external entities but if there are like 2-3 of you a trello works well or even windows (whiteboards) to write on. Only 1 internal project has a design doc. Everything else uses the window method.
- Don’t make an indie studio if the reason is because you can’t get a job in a AAA studio.
- Do game jams
- Make anything and everything
- Self publish at least 1 game
- NETWORK (Go to events like Develop: Brighton, EGX, GameBridge etc.)
I know that this post was mostly negative but the thing about going indie is that in AAA you generally make 4-10 games in your career as a AAA game takes anywhere between 3 – 6+ years. As an indie, you can make as many as time and money allows for; development time is anywhere between 1 month – 3 years. Some will be awful and you’ll be like ‘why the hell did I think this was a good idea’ but some will be worth it. And you’ll also have a great time along the way through evolving yourself as a developer and by meeting amazing new people every step of the way.
The industry is sometimes scary and ruthless but occasionally with the right people, you’ll get through it and be happy on the other side (hopefully doing something you love).