Starbound – 2013′s Greatest Indie Success Story

The Starbound logo

On December 4th, indie game Starbound, created by Chucklefish Games, launched under Steam‘s Early Access listing for Windows, Mac and Linux gamers.  It is a 2D block-based sandbox adventure game, set in an infinite universe of procedurally generated planets, creatures, and environments (its website can be found here).

Many games have preceded Starbound in these and other respects (the game is considered the spiritual successor to the highly popular Terraria, and much of the two fanbases overlap), but few indie titles have managed to accomplish everything else Starbound has.  Indeed, it has arguably become one of the most successful indie games on the PC in years, thanks to an approach that has garnered the game hundreds of thousands of fans and backers.  In this post, I’d like to provide an overview of the game’s (ongoing) success story.

$0 in One Year; $2,300,000 the Next

Starbound was first announced in February 2012 by Finn Brice, a UK game developer better known to fans as Tiyuri (or just Tiy).  Brice was the artist behind Terraria’s sprites, and thus the only official link between the two games, though much of the design of Starbound can be read as an incremental improvement over the formula developed in Terraria.  The team that worked on it eventually came to encompass around 14 developers, and so Chucklefish Games set to work.

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New Arcade Feature Bar With A Focus On Game Design Alumni

One of the goals we had when we created the Arcade website was to not only feature the amazing games and stories from the Game Design Campus, but also to feature the success stories of our alumni. Today we have added a new feature to Arcade that does just that… The Feature Bar.

If you look to the top of the page, right there below our highlighted games, you will notice this new addition. Here is where we will highlight some key stories and news items we publish, as well as links to three pages featuring accomplishments by our Alumni, which we will continue to update. These pages are:

Alumni on the Job — An up-to-date list of the jobs our graduates have been hired to do since they’ve graduated.

Alumni Published Games — A chronological listing of the published games our graduates have had a hand in creating.

Alumni Indie Studios — A listing of the Indie Game Studios created by our graduates.

There’s nothing that makes me more proud than when I look back and see the successes of our alumni. I think you’ll be amazed to discover the impact they have had in the gaming world.

As always, if you have any changes or additions to make to these alumni pages, just drop me a line.


Dave Warfield is Head of Department for Game Design