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Default Rampant Coyote - Defining Indie

January 30th, 2008, 00:57
Rampant Coyote has a good piece that attempts to define the term "indie" through a good examination of the way games are published and distributed. It's a good read if you'd like to better understand the standard developer-publisher-retail relationship:
Okay. Here's how the System works:

The publisher is at the top of the chain. You'll note I have a crown over the publisher. That's because I'm obnoxious. The publisher wants a game made. The publisher either creates the game in-house, or contracts a developer to make the game for them. Let's talk about how the outside developer is handled.

Usually, the outside developer is pretty much told what to make. Something based on a cool movie or TV license, or a sequel / spin-off to a game another studio originally made (after the publisher has happily said to the original developer studio, "Go jump in a lake, we own the property, we don't need you, so NEENER!" or said studio has vowed "We'll never work with you again, you jerks! For definitions of 'never' that include this product cycle!"). Occasionally, the outside developer might have some cool proof-of-concept demo that the publisher is willing to go with, so long as the developer makes all these changes to it (usually converting it into something that is based on a cool movie or TV license, or a sequel / spin-off to a game another studio originally made… okay, you get the idea).

The publisher "funds" the development of said game. By "fund," we really mean, "loans money to the studio for." Because… really… funding is an interest-free advance against future royalties earned by the game. Which, according to modern accounting practice in the games biz, is actually just a myth and never really happens, so the loan almost never gets repaid, so the publishers can act all magnanimous about it. But hey - it's their investment money, and so they get to call the terms when they want to it back two different ways, that's their call.
As always, the fly in the ointment of indie development is the funding to produce the game sans publisher.
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January 30th, 2008, 00:57
Funding? Who needs funding? EVERYBODY has a third mortgage these days…
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January 30th, 2008, 01:16
Hehe … nice piece.

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January 30th, 2008, 04:40
Also, I just want to say this is "good" piece, even though I used the word "good" three times in the newsbit. Did I say it was good?

Sheesh. Some days it just doesn't flow.

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January 30th, 2008, 07:35
Well, goodness, I'd have a problem if I knew the article was gooder than just good…. but good grief, it's just hopefully not that un-good.

But seriously, I hope people found it valuable. I keep thinking it's beating a dead horse, but it's still hotly debated, and I find a lot of people are pretty unclear about what indie means. I mean, some times *I* am not too clear on it, like if you ask me, "Is Valve indie?" or "is id Software indie?" or "is Popcap indie?"
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February 1st, 2008, 00:57
I found it not uninteresting.

There also is a kind of "Indie Music", records not sold by major companies, or even the bands themselves.

I think both have the same basic concepts - regarding development & distribution.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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