The Overworlder is a blog about games, or more specifically it is about game development. Even more specifically it is about indie game development. And just what is that, you may ask? That question used to be relatively easy to answer. Indie used to be anyone not beholden to one of the big publishers (the ones that put games on physical store shelves). But with the decline of selling software on shelves, and the opening of even traditional consoles to just about anyone, the lines have gotten blurry. East Side Games, the company I spend much of my time contracting for, clearly considers itself indie, at least judging by how often the CEO makes sure to reiterate that label.
I would argue though that most people see ‘indie’ as three guys in a basement, building the game they’ve dreamed of for years. And they’re doing it more out of passion than any expectation of riches. The same attributes could be applied to indie music or movies. Although in the latter category it is difficult to get anything at all done with only three people. Frankly, I think ESG doesn’t really qualify as indie. It has too many people, and its games are simply too profit-driven and derivative to match the spirit of the word. On the other hand, some other midsize companies definitely still qualify. Few people would deny that Mojang counts as indie, despite their current middling size and the vast buckets of money they’re rolling around in. But then, what does that make solo developers like myself? Super indie? True indie? Currently, no generally recognized term exists to separate a single developer from a fifty-person company.
Anyway, to get back to the point: what exactly should you expect from this blog? In short, whatever my mind happens to conjure up. Usually that will be related to games, even if only tangentially, but not always. This is meant as a reservoir of ideas and observations, both on the challenge of creating games and the culture that surrounds it. My primary hope is to explore many of the tropes, pitfalls and possibilities I see in this field, and perhaps through that exercise land on a few practical ideas. Failing that, I can at least get a bit of mental workout from the effort.