Hopes for GAMELOADING , the next big indie game movie

With Indie Game: The Movie, the public got an important glimpse into the reality of a few incredibly successful game developers. It was important in that it made clear that game development is very much a creative process, a process that is capable of influencing other humans around the world.

Now, obviously not everything can be covered in a 90 minute feature film. And it’s not expected that would be the case, and I am NOT criticizing IGTM for what they did, I think IGTM was a massive step towards public understanding of game development.

One of the largest things that remains to be covered in a large public film is the significant majority of independent game developers who come nowhere near the success of those mentioned in IGTM – while they may not be financially successful, they often have many friends in the scene, friends whose games may go on to be financially and publically successful. And those “successful” devs have their friends to thank for it, often times. Thus – they should be covered, too. While it may be the successful games that end up being the most culturally impacting, a lot of that relies on the work of their friends and colleagues – and it is worth covering them, too.

That’s why I’m hoping this Kickstarter – “GAMELOADING” – can accomplish this. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/studiobento/gameloading-rise-of-the-indies .

We will get a personal glimpse of the endless hard work, risks faced and sacrifices indie developers make to bring their creations into the world.  What drives them?  What does it mean to succeed?  Will they make it?

“We have been working, planning and researching for a year and have shot over a dozen interviews with developers from different parts of the globe at different stages in their careers.”

We are closely following a handful of development teams in Australia.

I think that has the potential to be very eye-opening for the public, if some of these development teams are ones that will never see success. People struggling to make ends meet, and then failing. Releasing a game after years of work, but it sells 10 copies. Realizations of the various horror stories. What does it mean for someone to fail, how does it affect their children, their partners, their job, their parents, their existences, hopes, dreams, etc?

For example, suppose Super Meat Boy did get horrible ratings, never sell, and Tommy and Edmund went into bankruptcy.  or Phil Fish got sued and couldn’t finish the game.

Or take the thousands of unfinished or unnoticed projects floating around the internet. At 2:09 in the video, someone mentions the horror of “making a …masterpiece that no one gives a shit about.” – , I am really hoping that they do cover a studio or person that has made a game that has not caught on – someone working night and day with a grueling job, who never makes it, showing the stark reality of what an outcome of a finished game can be.

It’s good that people are learning about the independent scene, but it would be healthier in general if this new movie gave a view that did not end up a bit  clouded by survivorship bias of developers that have made hundreds of thousands of dollars (of which there are a few in this movie so far) and perhaps only qualified by a few afterthoughts or brief interviews with developers who didn’t become as financially successful.

Indies everywhere are NOT succeeding to their personal metrics of success.

I think GAMELOADING has the potential for showing this, if they manage to focus their film in certain ways – as interesting as perhaps, interviewing a developer of Minecraft or Doodle Jump might be, I don’t think spending lots of time on them is going to paint much of a fair representation of the different phases developers are in. Those developers  of games like Antichamber, PixelJunk …, Spaceteam – all have great stories to tell. But they are the successful few, and their stories must be balanced with those of people who never “made it”.

The creative struggle and other issues are universal among game developers. I’m really hoping that GAMELOADING manages to show this. There are many other aspects of the development scene that I think are important to cover – the various subcommunities – but this is some aspect that I think affects all of those communities and is worth covering.

Sean Hogan

Watched Indie Game The Movie. I think the moral of the story is: if you’re stressed, tired, poor and alone, you’re about to release a hit.

— The Optimistic Indie (@optimisticindie) June 28, 2013