The serious business of making games


No fun, I am not Walter.


I meant in the linked HN thread.


Oh wow, you are right. It’s rare he comes out like that…but it looks like a site where he hangs.

His comment about hourly rate is correct, if you count it via project start to project release, and perhaps a short period after that. You’re not even close to what you can get in another industry for something like Empire. The investment is the tail.and that is what comes around to me mentioning Positech and building the ‘stable of games’. You get a lot of tails together, it makes for a decent revenue stream.

But most devs follow the ‘American Top 40’ way…just watching it stay up…when it begins to fall do a fire sale. While there can be a quick success path (for $) for that, the future value of the title is destroyed (as well as future titles possibly). when they find they are a one hit wonder - it does not last.I think a lot of shops do not properly valuate their work. And quickly they fold. The ‘master plan’ has to extend beyond 1-2, even more projects if you want to last.


This may be true in some cases, but from what I see it’s also because of the “be an entrepreneur, become your own boss!” idea that’s being shoved down millenial (and everyone’s) throats. I mean, the end result is the same, though.

I don’t know much about hiring in the video game industries, but there seems to be fewer jobs compared to the amount of people who graduate. I’ve heard that many programmers become “indies” without ever holding a salaried job to gain some stability and experience, which sounds like financial suicide to me.

From my experience, being your own boss often leaves you a whole lot worse off than being an employee, and you’re often making less money to boot.


The glorification of startups in general, and Steve Jobs in particular, in something that I would excise from our culture if I could.


Even though the market has become full to bursting and I fear that many of them are running towards a horrible cliff, I never discourage. Even when I see young people, stuck in the early stages of the Dunning-Kruger effect, who want to become indies without any experience in the Triple-A industry, I never discourage. Even when I see students enrolling in predatory schools that count “indie” as alumni career placement to bilk students into bloated programs they don’t need for jobs they won’t get, I never discourage. Frankly, it’s time I looked at myself in the mirror and asked if I’m really acting ethically. Am I an enabler? Well… I’m done.

I’m tired of seeing the waves and waves of absolute shit on the Steam storefront while believing I’m doing anyone a favour by telling them to pile on. I’m tired of hearing about people who have mortgaged their house to make a puzzle platformer. I’m tired of seeing those syrupy “You know, you should take this online Unity course” YouTube ads, and most of all, I’m tired of letting young people fall prey to this kind of nonsense because I’m too afraid of accidentally snipping the wings of the next Michelangelo.

So, to every person wanting to get into game development: I want you to succeed. I do. But it’s time that we talked about some cold realities, if for no other reason than to call out some obstacles you’ll face.


I hate that guy.


To be fair Ben Tristram’s courses on Udemy are really good. The ad… yeah not so much :)



If one of your ‘solutions’ to not enough indie games making money is “Increase the leisure time” of the population because of “this ridiculous idea that one third of our life needs to be sacrificed to the gods of production,” I’m not sure you should expect to get taken seriously.

Of course, once you have achieved the “Decoupling [of] income from work,” I suppose you technically have solved the problem, because then it doesn’t matter if your indie game doesn’t sell. So make all you want.

And then there’s the untapped market of “videogames for the unborn.” Yes, that’s in there.

“More importantly, an excess of culture is never a waste, like an excess of cars.” Someone’s never seen the remainder bin at the bookstore or the used CD store.


I mean, to give him credit, it admits that the ideas are “deranged” and more of a way of reframing the problem space. He also is pretty clear to point out that he’s an academic and doesn’t know anything about business.

He’s an interesting writer on a variety of academic issues related to games, as you can see on his blog. I mainly linked his “Indiepocalypse” article because it’s germane to this topic, not because it includes good advice. Anyhow, it’s a different perspective.


He does suffer from an academic approach, heavy on theory and critique, light on practicality.

Definitely not criticizing you for posting it, it’s a viewpoint.


I took the talk as a black comedy piece, in the same vein as this piece

“Hopscotch to Oblivion”, via Wikipedia.



And that’s okay :)



Can I lodge a formal objection to the use of the word “redundancies” in that article?

First, it’s a grotesque euphemism and journalists shouldn’t enable corporations’ washing-of-hands by repeating it.

Second, they’re using it in that article as synonymous with “layoffs,” which just seems like incorrect usage. When you have redundancies in staff, then you need to have layoffs. Right?

Third, it’s not even appropriate for the case when a studio shuts down, because the problem there isn’t redundancies at all. Redundancies implies you have other people already doing the laid-off folks’ jobs. Not the case if you’ve let every developer go.

Anyway, I am not familiar with Wavedash as a studio, but it stinks to hear about a studio making huge/total cuts. Hope everyone is able to find a new home.


My understanding (in Australia at least) is that a “redundancy” is when a position/role/job is no longer needed.

So you then “lay off” the staff who were filling that position.

So a person is not made redundant, their role is made redundant.


@SorenJohnson retweeted two interesting articles recently:

I particularly liked the first one!


Yeah it’s similar in the UK, and the writer is the UK editor which is presumably why he used the term, although it’s not applicable in this case as the company is in California. In a UK context, you can’t be fired without cause (assuming you’re actually an employee and not a contractor or similar. Instead, if your role is no longer needed, you are put at risk of redundancy according to a legally defined process, and there’s a requirement for the company to try to find you another position within the firm. If more than 20 people are being made redundant, the firm must give 30 days or more notice and do a collective consultation with the union or other representative