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Let's get together and Indie Game?

Posted by Bittman on Tue, 20/01/09 - 3:24 PM

I'm trying to get active in building my portfolio, and I know there are a ton (or a few hundred kilos) of people out there who are also either looking to get in or currently not doing too much. Throughout university and school, I never really met a group of people who were enthusiastic in developing games, though this was partly due to my teenage shyness which I probably only kicked firmly in the pants last year.

Anyway, beyond my life story; What I'm trying to propose here is for a group of sumea(n's) to get together and work on an Independent Small Scale game. Though I am in Sydney (and thus unable to vent my game design urges on a local Global Game Jam event as it's on the other side of the country), I don't care whether I can get a team in Sydney or across the country (or world). I spend my daily job managing outsourced people in GMT -2 via messengers and phone, so working with people on the same time zone is like a reprieve for me.

So if you're interested (or at least partially curious), post here with your name, focus/profession and a brief description of skills (we'll worry about contacts later).

Name: Andrew Bittman
Focus: Game Designer
Skills: project management, quality assurance, some programming and animation (though generally out of practice)

Really hoping to get some interest. Comments are fine here too.

Submitted by Sabre070 on Tue, 20/01/09 - 3:33 PM Permalink

Name: Josh Harvey
Location: Geelong, Victoria
Focus: Game Designer/Manager and Advertisement
Skills: QA (I have time to play games), basic 3d modeling, learning programming, have a list of games ready for development?

Other: Website space (if needed)

I would be interested in doing this.. Would get me some experience, well.. more notable experience anyway.

Submitted by souri on Tue, 20/01/09 - 3:50 PM Permalink

It used to be mods where groups could work together in their spare time, but the effort and scale of a mod project is just too much these days. The casual space is really exciting at the moment, particularly with the stuff that's happening on the iphone, and it's much, much, much more realistic for a small group to get something completed and on the market.

Anyway, it sounds like a great plan, and if you need some more exposure or make a call for more interested parties, I'd be happy to post about it on the front page. Also, if you like, you can also create a group (private or public) in our groups section so that members can talk about the project.

Submitted by Bittman on Tue, 20/01/09 - 4:00 PM Permalink

Oh look, we have groups.

Cheers Souri, I only ever use the forums here but I really should be using the other things.

And yeah, lots more market for casual games nowdays not just on the iPhone. I'll see how much interest comes along, but I'll keep your offers in mind.

Submitted by _CAD_ on Wed, 21/01/09 - 3:08 PM Permalink

Name: Curtis Davidson
Location: Canberra, ACT
Focus: 3D artist
Skills: 3D modelling, character art, decent animator

Sounds like a good idea im still looking for a job in industry at the moment and reckon this would be a motivation boost for me. ill be posting some of my work in a journal soon so you can see what i can do.

Submitted by Bittman on Wed, 21/01/09 - 3:31 PM Permalink

Excellent, but it's not an interview so there's no portfolio thing to do to get in. Basically it will be a group of everyone who puts their name down, even if it means we have 5 game designers, 2 artists and no programmers all of different abilities.

I guess this is a pretty useful idea for people who may feel a bit segregated from companies such as yourself in canberra.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 21/01/09 - 3:45 PM Permalink

Name: Troy Boundy
Location: Canberra, ACT
Focus: IT Project Management/Quality Assurance/Design
Skills: Worked for the Government for the past 7 years in the above fields. Skills range from Q/A testing, spec design/publication, through to Project management.

Submitted by kit11 on Thu, 22/01/09 - 9:33 AM Permalink

Name: Brad Thomson
Location: Melb
Focus: modeling
Skills: 3D modeling.... lots of other things that dont really apply to a small indie

Yeah id be keen for this

Submitted by jayktaylor on Thu, 22/01/09 - 1:11 PM Permalink

Name: Jay Taylor
Location: Sydney, NSW
Focus: Sound design
Skills: Original music composition, sound effects, audio editting.

Hey. I am currently working full time in the business sector. My passion has always been music and sound but I didn't know what to do with it, I only got into sound design lately & have landed my first paid gig doing sound for a project to be released via XBox 360 Live Arcade. Everything is moving along nicely As such I am quite busy but I am prepared to put work into this as sound designer - I would love to do something as a indie team locally - the team I am working for currently is based in California. I play guitar in a band & view this akin to forming a band! Should be fun.

I also agree with the idea of doing a small project.

You have any game ideas Andrew?

Submitted by Bittman on Thu, 22/01/09 - 1:23 PM Permalink

I kid. Of course I do, but until I know what sort of team we're working with, where the skills lay, what other concepts other designers have, target hardware, etc, nothing concrete. Don't know how small we'll make the project, depends on the team size so it may even be something we can take somewhere interesting.

Also, great that you're a sound designer. Was just thinking how good it would be to have one, and voila!

And now, just like the real industry, we appear to be short on programmers =P

Submitted by Bittman on Thu, 22/01/09 - 1:26 PM Permalink

7 years of work experience probably already outweighs us. Also, just prefer if you also had a Sumea registered name we can work by. I'll probably have a group here and you'd need to be a member to join. Reply to this when you get one.

Submitted by Bittman on Thu, 22/01/09 - 1:28 PM Permalink

In the words of....well myself really..."There is nothing irrelevant to game design."

Of course, I'll get a better list of skills when we get cracking. Would be a shame to go through a project without knowing we had expert pianists (or something) and letting it go to waste.

Also wondering (will depend on team size though), whether we should actually try 3d the game. It's more work, but it would be much appreciated practice for all I think.

Submitted by _CAD_ on Fri, 23/01/09 - 9:41 AM Permalink

Yea good ol' ACT is tooootaly the gaming hub of Australia :( if only txt could express sarcasm :)

and dont get me wrong i understand that its not an interview sort of thing, i just meant that if you are able to see peoples work (maybe not now but later on) its easier to utilize their skills more effectively.

Submitted by Bittman on Sun, 25/01/09 - 11:12 PM Permalink

No, nothing dramatic.

Just letting you know that I'll just leave this here for another week before we get cracking. Tell your friends, I should tell mine too actually (yes, I have friends). Long weekend + another week of work should make sure anyone who visits here even occasionally might stumble across it.

Also wanted to leave a note: If you're worried that you won't have the time to contribute to the project at the same level as others, do not fear. I expect most people here to be preoccupied with work, games, personal portfolios and chatting up ladies to have daily contributions. If you looked at this and thought it was good, but were worried that you might only be able to help out once a week or something, fear not and put your name down. I almost expected there would work out to be a core team and "other people who watch our progress and help a little" team.

Also I would encourage anyone who has put their names down to look over some indie games which are floating about at the moment. The Escapist has a good demo of indie games with a rundown and some interesting things, but look around the internet and try get an appreciation of what exists and the scale at which we will aim. Now, I should follow my own advice and play some myself.

Submitted by semie on Wed, 28/01/09 - 3:19 PM Permalink

Name: Lindsay Jarvis
Location: Gippsland Vic
Focus: modeling, animating
Skills: Proficient in most aspects of 3D creation in Max or Maya,
Model, unwrap, texture, rig and animate.

Sounds like a plan... well almost.

Submitted by Bittman on Wed, 28/01/09 - 3:30 PM Permalink

I just made the group, gonna Invite everyone that's put their names down now. It's joinable, so if anyone sees this after we start, feel free to join up (even if you're only going to watch our progress).

I'll start making most comments and things in the group forum section now, but I guess I'll update this again by the weekend just in case someone missed it.

We won't be really starting anything (i.e. organisation first) until this weekend anyway.

Submitted by souri on Wed, 28/01/09 - 5:23 PM Permalink

pssst.... I just finished uploading the PopCap keynote session from Game Connect 2008.

Check it out. They show and describe how they prototype and muck around with ideas. It might be some inspiration for the team.

Submitted by Argirios on Wed, 28/01/09 - 10:28 PM Permalink

Well I guess I'm currently new to this indie/mod game thing. Here are just a few basic questions:
Did you have a preferable deadline (for the completed game)?
How did you want content shared?
How will project management work on a "whenever you can" basis?
Those are the main question I have at the moment. Apart from that I guess I'm slightly interested. I'd prefer it if we could get organised meetings in person.
Name: Argirios Mavroudis (Just call me Arg)
Location: Melbourne (Western Suburbs)
Focus: Gameplay Designer, Programmer (C# or Actionscript)
Skills: Programming, General 3d and other things.
I studied Flash for a while as part of my Cert 3 multimedia in to my advanced diploma info tech (multimedia). Currently studying game development and am in my 2nd year. The course uses mostly C# engines. Considering that you aren't planing of "over the moon" stuff. you might not need a C++ programmer. I am studying C++ on my own however not sure I'd appreciate doing all of the programming in C++ , alone.
Quick note: I'd say that I am mostly focusing on XNA at the moment. This would mean that if the game is a 2d game then it will help me out a lot, or else you may need to learn "XSI mod tool" for 3d models (at least by the animators).
For those that don't know - XNA is a C# engine that Microsoft releast for the PC and Xbox360. The PC version will cost nothing however the Xbox version will require $100 to publish the games. XNA can also support multiplayer functions.

Submitted by Bittman on Thu, 29/01/09 - 9:01 AM Permalink

From my own viewpoint of course, since I'm organising this:
- Deadline: Impossible to say given that the team isn't finalised, we have no written goal and I don't now our skills. I would love to say before the end of the year, but who knows.
- Shared content: Though discussions, meetings, etc will be held over sumea and some sort of chat medium, I do expect we'll need some space to upload content for others to see. It's something else I should ask opinions on, though I do remember a good upload management site (I'll go look for it again)
- Project management with this approach will rely on two things. Firstly, a relaxed attitude and secondly version control. You'd be surprised how far both of these things can take you when the team works somewhat independently.
- Meeting in Person: As said, too costly and unreasonable given the goal is to make a group of people from various areas in Australia. That said, if you're in my hood drop me a line.

Thanks for putting your name down, good to see you have some programming experience. You're automatically the most senior programmer here, haha.

Submitted by Bittman on Thu, 29/01/09 - 9:04 AM Permalink

Because I have answers below, but:

My philosophy for those who don't meet deadlines is not to fire them, because really we need all the help we can get and I'm doing this for everyone to have a chance. However, not meeting deadlines is recorded and the less trustworthy and efficient someone is the less work I would assign to them even if their skill level was above others. Remember, this is a project which will be extremely beneficial to getting a job in the industry, so if you want some poor impressions of your work floating around you'll have no-one to blame but yourself.

Of course, this same philosophy applies to me. Call me out on it if you feel I'm slack.

Submitted by Zoid on Tue, 03/02/09 - 4:49 PM Permalink

Hey guys,

My details are:
Name: Craig Peebles
Location: Melbourne
Skills: Modeling (Max), Programming (C++)

I'm definitely interested, however I'm not sure which area I'd be best to work in - 3D modeling or Programming. I got interested in game development rather late, after already having completed an engineering degree and currently work in CAD, so i'm doing online study in my spare hours in 3D modeling. If you need any help with modeling, probly best would be for me to start on static assets, as I have very little experience so far in rigging, animation, etc.

Programming is a more recent interest for me, and has actually ended up taking a fair amount of time away from my 3D studies, so i'd be eager to help you out with that. Most of my early experience is in various engineering and maths packages (MATLAB, Maple, etc.), but I also have experience in Delphi, Fortran, parallel coding, and more recently some experience in C#. I've recently taken all that as a basis to teach myself C++ (and the engineering mindset definitely helps with that), though I'm tempted to get into an online course in that as well just so I have something formal-looking to back it up.

As you have less programmers than modelers and designers based on previous posts, I'm happy to put my hand up to help with that. A project like this would be great as inspiration to get me learning new things and actually have something to apply them to, however I would have to take it in baby steps to begin with.

Cheers all,

Submitted by Bittman on Tue, 03/02/09 - 6:15 PM Permalink

You and another programmer just joined. The tears of joy won't stop flowing!

Also, in other news suddenly our team is quite large. I'll keep accepting everyone and anyone, but if I get too many people I might split resources over two games. "If" is a big word though, in the right context. It heavily relies on all members being quite active, so we'll see how that goes.

Guess it'll then come down to the old quality versus quantity debate.

Submitted by Rado on Tue, 03/02/09 - 8:55 PM Permalink

I am in... if I might join

Name: Marcin Kurczewski
Location: Poland
Focus: Game Art
Skills: Primarily modeling/texturing, some experience in game design and level design.

Submitted by Bittman on Tue, 03/02/09 - 10:59 PM Permalink

To have an Australian based group. That said, I guess I should just leave it open to the world, no sense in limiting the team by geographical area. I mean, we're already only meeting online, distance became obsolete the moment that was decided.

You'll just have to remember though, this will be targeted somewhat for Australian release, but aside from having the chance to meet the rest of the team in person living in poland should hold no other limits.

So: come ye scurvy internationals if ye dare (turns off worst pirate accent ever)

Submitted by Wednesday on Wed, 04/02/09 - 1:11 PM Permalink

Hi guys, I'd like to help out where I can...

Name: Jarrod Penfold
Location: Sydney
Focus: Creative writing
Skills: Fictional writing, specialising in copywriting and scriptwriting for film/tv (15 sec TVCs through to features) - writing narration, dialogue, scenes, backgrounds, etc. Also do PR writing and pressers.


A man goes to knowledge as he goes to war, wide awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. - The Teachings of Don Juan