Though we generally write about mainstream consoles and video game titles, the gaming industry is much bigger than that. Indie games, which are sold on all mobile platforms through Google Play, Itunes store and increasingly on both PNS & Xbox Live store…
Independent games are amazing. I’m constantly surprised by the creativity, ingenuity and sheer work that goes into creating an indie title, and that was even before I got to interview Alex Founder of Wall West and creator of the indie game club.
Apart from being a coding coach and ensuring the next generation of developers are up to speed, he is also a hard working indie game developer with a plan. He wants indie developers to unite under the banner of his newly created Indie Game Club.
Collaboration in the independent games industry
Collaboration does eventually lead to innovation, so it’s certainly promising to see developers in the industry applying this principle. Inevitably, it all leads to better video games for all of us.
Here, let Alex tell you in his own words how he believes cooperation is key to the future of indie games. I’m certainly excited to see where this will all go!
When was the indie game club created?
The Indie Game Club was started very recently in early 2016.
What was your inspiration/ motivation when creating it?
The main motivation was to try connect with other indie game developers and unite under a common banner. Most indie game developers are working on their own projects and I respect that but I also want us to unite and develop strength in numbers.
The Indie Game Club represents unity between indie game developers who are committed to making great video games and supporting other indie game developers in the process.
You clearly suggest collaboration between indie developers is key to making great games, can you expand on this idea?
Yes. Collaboration can take many forms, it could be working together to make bigger titles or providing early feedback on game concepts or getting advice on best technologies to use or even helping each other market and cross-promote new titles.
We have just launched a dedicated slack chat channel to help facilitate such collaborations.
Personally, I love the fact a small team of developers can create games that directly compete with multi-million dollar studios… Can you tell me exactly what is it about indie games that capture the attention/imagination of so many gamers worldwide?
I think it’s the raw passion for making games and a willingness to create niche games that continues to excite gamers.
With AAA studios, games are mostly aimed at the mass market, take years to develop and the final product can be influenced by many factors.
Indie game developers have much more freedom to choose their target market segment and do not need to make compromises.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not bashing AAA studios, I love a big FPS game as much as the next guy, but with an indie game you get something more personal and unique.
Can you name some video games you have created in the past?
I publish games under my own company called Wall West which I founded in 2015. We have released a couple of small casual games as a sort of warm-up for bigger titles. The last game we published is called Glow Four and is a minimalist memory and concentration game.
Can you tell us a little bit about some projects you are currently working on?
Currently I am working on an atmospheric platformer called Ghost Dash: Scared Of The Dark.
The game is due to be released in late Spring 2016 and will be free exclusively on iOS. The game follows its main protagonist, a ghost called George.
Unlike other ghosts, George is afraid of the dark! George must overcome 10 challenges guided by a mysterious spirit in order to conquer his fears once and for all.
Playing through the beautifully crafted story levels set against a backdrop of mesmerising soundscapes, collecting ancient skulls to unlock power-up abilities, the player must help George conquer his fears and discover the truth!
You can check out more details on Ghost Dash here:
Ghost Dash Game Play Video
Where do you distribute the games you create? Are they for mobile devices or you also make titles for the Xbox store/PSN as well?
Currently I distribute exclusively to iOS store. I know that will upset a lot of people, but as a one-man game development studio distributing on a single platform allows me to release more titles. I have always said, if a title gets big, I will port it to other platforms.
You obviously have a big interest in coaching the next generation of game developers. Can you outline some of the main skills/ computer languages people should learn in order to become a decent game developer?
Absolutely. As well as creating games, I also mentor new coders through the Code Academy I run based in London. I would advise anyone wanting to start developing games or any other software to learn programming theory and fundamentals.
Most languages share common features, so understanding the theory will enable you to pickup new languages and start developing quickly.
I think Java is a great language to start learning with, it’s a very clean way of programming that forces you to think about design upfront.
The best way to get into coding is to learn the theory but have a small project to bring what you learn to life as you progress. Programming is all about practice!
Any UK universities/ institutes/ websites you would like to recommend for those looking for a successful career in the game development industry?
Sure there are many great universities in the UK.
I’d recommend taking a more generic course like Software Engineering to keep your options open for the future.
Game development industry is very competitive and there are no guarantees of success. However with a strong education and plenty of elbow grease anything is possible!
Sure, The Indie Club was recently founded, but the idea that mutual cooperation and team-work leads to real innovation is certainly a more widely accepted notion.
As a fan of independent games, It makes me hopeful to know developers in the industry have the intention to do exactly what it takes to produce better games for all…
Don’t get me wrong, I love connecting to my PSN Plus, especially now thatI just bought one of the best games of the year!… but the pleasure I get from playing indie titles (and I know I am not the only one that feels this way) cannot ever be taken away nor substituted by the bigger franchises.
So do please unite indie game developers! We will certainly be here to try your awesome games!