Indie House: Developing Games Professionally From Home

I’m sad to say that my duration as a full-time instructor here at VFS Game Design is coming to an end. It was a very difficult decision for me to make, especially since working here has been a wonderful and fulfilling experience for me, because of both the students I have had the pleasure to teach, and the other instructors and TAs I got to work alongside.

The reason I am leaving is because I am entering the game industry as a full-time indie developer once again. But this time things are a bit different, this time, I’ll be working out of Indie House. So this post will be about Indie House, what we are doing, and hopefully will serve as an inspiration to those of you who want to get into making games.

WHAT IS INDIE HOUSE?

Indie House is a large house located in Richmond, BC, Canada, and is currently occupied by four full-time indie game developers who are all working from home. We have all known each other for many years, have collaborated on many games and projects together, and all make a living doing what we love… making video games.

WHO IS INDIE HOUSE?

  • Chevy Ray Johnston – Yours truly, a programmer, artist, and game designer most famous for creating the widely-used FlashPunk game engine
  • Matt Thorson – Creator of dozens of indie games such as the Jumper and Give Up Robot series, and the upcoming multiplayer combat game, TowerFall!
  • Alec Holowka – Unity master, creator of the award-winning Aquaria, wonderful musicvideo tutorials, and the popular Infinite Ammo podcast
  • Noel Berry – Creator of many web games including Prism Panic, Broken Robot Love, and Chunkadelic, also a talented web designer and artist

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Create a Game in 48 Hours for Ludum Dare 26!

Would you believe me if I told you it was possible to create a game in just 48 hours? If not, then you’re definitely not going to believe that there’s an online community of thousands of developers that do it tri-annually!

Meet Ludum Dare, the rapid game creation community, where developers all over the world, including myself, gather (figuratively) in a mass competition to create a game from scratch in just one weekend! The 26th official Ludum Dare runs from April 26-29, and all aspiring game developers should sign up and give it a shot! To sign up, all you have to do is create a WordPress account on the Ludum Dare compo page.

The official Theme Slaughter takes place the week before the competition starts, and all participants vote on a myriad of themes to decide what the official theme will be. Here’s the catch, though: the winning theme is not announced until the moment the 48-hour competition kicks off!

From there, you have the weekend to create your game however you like. You can use tools such as Game Maker, Flash, or Unity, or you can code from scratch in your language of choice. To keep inspired and see what everybody else is up to, you can watch the Ludum Dare blog, where competitors post screenshots of their progress, share the tools they are using, and even record timelapses of their development process!

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Going Indie: Advice from the Pros

One thing that keeps popping up about this year’s Game Developers Conference (though frankly, I hear it said every year) is mention of the ever increasing presence of independent developers.

While one could argue all day long about what being “indie” even means (and many have done just that), everyone who attended GDC this year can agree that there were plenty of hobbyist developers, small teams, mobile developers, freelancers, and experimental projects to be seen.


Journey is not about the destination as much as the journey to get there.

For example, it was pretty hard not to notice the indie smash hit Journey, created by That Game Company, hauling in six of the eleven prizes at the 13th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards. When you’re up against Assassin’s Creed and Dishonored, that is no small accomplishment.
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Unity Coming to Sony Consoles in 2013

Unity Technologies has recently announced that they’ve entered into a “strategic partnership” with Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE), and that their free game development tool will be able to publish to Sony consoles before 2014.

This is big news for indie, hobbyist, and professional game developers alike! Game developers using Unity will soon be able to create games for the Playstation 4 and PS Vita consoles, further expanding the wide array of targets Unity can already publish to.

What is Unity?

For those unaware, Unity is a cross-platform game engine for developing 3D games. It comes with built-in scripting, scene editor, shader support, physics simulation, and all the tools one needs to create games that look and play great. Not only is the basic version free to download, at any time you can upgrade it to add support for more platforms (iOS, Android, Flash) and more special features (lighting, animation, pathfinding).
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