Making Frogshark: participant observation of ‘indie’ game development cultures
The democratization of project ‘greenlighting’ and funding allocation over the last decade (Irwin, 2008) has given rise to an ‘indie movement’ in the burgeoning game development industry. Within this ever changing ‘indie game dev’ culture, entrepreneurial strategy knowledge is often shared in the form of granular, specialized and ephemeral advice collected by a method of trial and error, disseminated through online game information hubs notorious for their 'noisiness' and lack of vetted content or cross-references. This presentation brings together documentation from a Masters in Creative Technology thesis focusing on entrepreneurial strategies within the culture of the independent development of a game product. Immersed in complete participation of independent game development within this ‘indie game dev’ culture I have engaged in a qualitative ethnographic study of this culture. Starting initially by collating, analyzing and synthesizing the wealth of game studio start-up acumen from online resources – such as postmortems, this research employs a broad contextual canvassing and critical reflection model to interpret and formalize existing theories around independent game development. Using elements of a produced game as the centerpiece, this presentation will showcase a collection of reflections gathered through production of artifacts, informal interviews and general culture observations and will discuss the strategies employed to develop them.