A little while ago I stumbled across a rather inspiring blog post by Sir John Sorrell, the Chairman of the London Design Festival and the Arup Design Council. Entitled "The Age of Creativity", Sorrell argued that while today's economy enables goods and services to be produced almost anywhere, it is the power of innovation and ideas that adds significant value to our work and projects.
And being something of keen gamer, I believe that this idea has truly manifested itself in the indie game scene. This is because all of the challenges that arise from having a smaller team and a limited budget can be overcome by smart developers who use novel gameplay mechanics and absorbing narratives to elevate their games.
But don't just take my word for it... check out the success that titles like Minecraft, Journey, Hotline Miami, and The Unfinished Swan have enjoyed.
Making the Next Big Thing
Although I am currently in the process of learning how to make a Smartphone game, I would not classify myself as a game developer. You see, I have no idea how to code and I wouldn't even say that I am particularly computer savvy, but I do believe that there has never been a better time to indulge your creativity by making a game.
The reason for this is twofold. Firstly the rise of digital distribution markets such as Steam, Android, and iOS have made it far easier for budding developers to publish their work. But, more importantly, the increasing availability of development programs has helped those who may be interested in making games overcome their technical limitations.
What's more, a lot of these tools are even available on the cheap. Take GameMaker, for instance. Not only can you download the software for free (or pay $40 for the Pro Version), but you can design your very own 2D games by using the simple drag-and-drop actions. And before you rubbish the program, you should probably be aware that PC, XBLA, and PSN hit Spelunky was designed using GameMaker tools.
My own experience of working with a game making platform called GameSalad has also been very positive. Sure I found the software infuriatingly logical (probably because I have no programming experience), but using GameSalad has removed the need for me write any of my own code and has allowed me to actually focus on creating something passable.
So my advice to anyone who would listen is to avoid rolling your own tech if you can. Seriously, you just don't have to, as there's absolutely nothing wrong with using a streamlined game-making platform. This will give you, the creative, the opportunity to focus on perfecting those ideas that will add-value to your project, instead of having to concentrate on designing your very own engine.
Now all that's left for me to do is stop talking, and finish making my own game...