minecraft in indie games
– Friedrich NietzscheFreedom is the will to be responsible for ourselves
Should I get a job in the games industry? Pffff. Only you can answer that, my friend. It’s a big decision! But we’ll help you think it through, starting in this article. Let’s be clear from the outset: getting a job doesn’t mean being indie. They’re not the same thing. Being indie is about independence. Freedom. It’s about earning a living while making your own games in your own way and in your own time. Your business, your ideas and your risks. You choose when to work, how and why. Hopefully you’ll be hugely successful, but maybe you won’t. That’s indie! You get freedom at the cost of risk.

By contrast, getting a job is about being an employee; being part of a system. It’s about playing it safe but at a price- a trade off. Employment is a system that offers a steady pay check but really doesn’t care if you’re having a bad day or stayed late at a party on the night before. Heck, it’s a job. You either turn up on time or get fired! Simple- well not quite. But let’s look more at this division between indie and employment because it’s an important first step on deciding how to approach your gamedev career.

In this article, we answer…

  • What does employment amount to?
  • What does being indie really mean?
  • What are the benefits of each?
  • How can BeIndie help?

Jobs in the games industry

Employment in games means working in a specific role for a bigger company who always calls the shots. They call the shots not because they’ve got better ideas than you, but simply because they’re paying you. You need to understand that. Being an employee involves selling your time, skills and freedom in exchange for money. And sometimes other perks- like free pizza or free beer. Maybe you’ll like that. By being an employee, you could end up with an impressive-sounding job title, like Designer or Artist or Programmer, or something else fancy! You could work on truly massive games too. Games played by millions worldwide. Now, that’s certainly impressive! So, the good thing about employment is steady pay, limited responsibility, skills development- and you also meet talented people while making big-budget, mainstream stuff. Not too bad, surely? Well… This all comes at a cost. The cost of your freedom. There’s no guarantee you’ll like the games you work on because your boss will choose them. You can’t pick where to live or when to work because your employer will tell you. And you certainly won’t keep any rights to your work no matter how successful it becomes. Your employer basically owns your time. Now, you might be fine with that. But maybe you are not.

Going into indie development

The alternative to employment is being indie. In other words, running your own business. Being indie is great! It’s a lifestyle and a workflow. It means you work for yourself by doing what you love most; namely, making games. You choose where to make games, how to make them and what types. You don’t get a boss judging everything you do or an employer demanding where you must be. You’re free to make your own games, however you like. Imagine this: it’s a sunny afternoon and you can be anywhere you want making your games in your own way. That’s a pretty picture, isn’t it? When people buy your games, they won’t just be buying any generic game. They’ll be buying your awesome game, with your unique message and your charming style. Made with your heart and soul. Certainly, you’ll need to make careful business decisions about the size of your game worlds, the technical details, the prices you charge, and the art styles you select if you’re serious about making a good profit in reasonable time. But that’s just part of the exciting balancing act involved with indie living. Your choices and your way- but you need to work smart. Now, maybe you’re worried about how you’ll make a living from games; or concerned about getting noticed; or nervous about learning skills- or maybe you’re just not sure where to start at being an Indie Game Developer. That’s exactly where this website can help you.

– Alan ThornThe alternative to employment is being indie. Being indie is great! It’s a lifestyle and a workflow. It means you work for yourself by doing what you love most

How we can help

BeIndie.biz specializes in helping hobbyists, students and entrepreneurs become financially independent game developers. We’re the only educational resource dedicated to helping you skill up for meeting the challenges of indie living. Need to learn the technical tools? Want to be better at business? In need of organisation and planning skills? We’ve got you covered on all counts. See our comprehensive range of courses on Udemy. By following along with our courses for just one hour per day, you could be starting your profitable indie business in just six months. Check out our courses here

Written by Alan Thorn
Alan Thorn is a Co-Founder of BeIndie.Biz and is its main gamedev instructor. He’s a game-development generalist with a passion for free and open-source software, especially Blender, Godot and Inkscape. Alan has worked on 33 games over the past 20 years using many different tools. He’s written 30 books and presented 30 video courses on gamedev, covering lots of subjects. This includes: Unity, Blender, GIMP, Unreal, Godot, GameMaker, C# Programming, animation and tons more. Basically, he loves making games and teaching the process! Alan is currently the Head of Games for the BAFTA-winning National Film and Television school, London. He leads their innovation-focussed post-graduate course in Games Design and Development. Alan also founded indie-studio Wax Lyrical Games in 2010, which developed the award-winning and best-selling adventure game Baron Wittard: Nemesis of Ragnarok. Alan enjoys sunshine, philosophy, good humour, mathematics and being indie! His personal site is: https://www.alanthorngames.com