Indie Game Design: A vulnerable place to be

I was doing a bit of prep this week for a presentation/workshop I’m co-delivering in Seattle later this month, with BC mediation colleague, the ever-creative Sharon Sutherland.   Our session will look at the unique potential of ‘digital natives’ in the dispute resolution field, of tomorrow.

This all got me thinking about some digital natives, game designers/developers, in a recent movie I saw, Indie Game: The Movie , at Movie Monday, my fave Victoria cinema house (here’s why).

“Indie Game: The Movie is the first feature documentary film about making video games. It looks specifically at the underdogs of the video game industry, indie game developers, who sacrifice money, health and sanity to realize their lifelong dreams of sharing their visions with the world”… a vulnerable place to be!

The showing coincided with the first-ever BC Family Day, here in British Columbia.   How fitting, thinking of the family of game designers, a tight community-of-practice.   And, how about all the gamers you know in your life – or family! Here’s the movie trailer…

(video not displaying? click here to watch on YouTube)

Here are some of my ‘glass half full’ takeaways from Indie Game…

  • Game design/development is a craft.
  • Game design is a passion, a labour of love (and money, maybe).
  • Design and build of a quality video game can take years.
  • How will you hang in there when the going gets tough?  When hit by isolation, depression, legal challenges, pending software release dates, a collaboration turned sour?
  • Aside from the technical programming skills, the most important aspect of game development is empathy, being able to put yourself in the user’s shoes.   (Hey, this sounds familiar!)
  • Good game design can mean taking your deepest fears and vulnerabilities and putting them into the game.  Know thyself.
  • “Be afraid of failure” until its done.
  • Be prepared for the long tail of sales…  After Day 1, its all downhill.  (talk about pressure!).
  • When 2 people collaborate on a game, and ship their product, it can inspire an “I can do it too” attitude in others. We all need role models.

I’d say the above speaks loudly to more than just game designers.  I’d say it speaks loud to anyone who is truly committed and passionate about serving others.   I’ve got my work cut for me!  How about you?  What have you learnt from game design?

(Note: I’ve been on a bit of blogging holiday the last couple of months… recharging the batteries!  Thank you for your patience.  During that time,  I also changed webhosts, and made a couple minor changes to how my blog arrives in your inbox.  You’ll notice the format difference (Mailchimp vs. Feedburner), if you already subscribe to this blog (Thank You!).   If not, please consider signing up.  You can do that by providing your email address in the Subscribe box, in this blog’s sidebar.)

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