If you’re a fan of dystopian stories like me the title of this post is nothing new to you. And if you’re REAL fan of dystopian stories like me it’s really just something old you have thought about a hundred times and are bored of hearing. Truth is as much you might know ignorance keep people happy the more you need to stay awake to not fall into this trap.

I was once a bit more naïve (mind you I still am a lot but being aware of it is a start). I thought that a clean idea with hard work could get you to your goal in an almost straight line. Yes I know I’ve said that before on this blog… Just hold on. Not knowing that it would be much more harder than that as a newbie game developer was in a way a blessing. It allowed me to get to the end of this project. As long as you can manage the clash with reality it’s fine. I think I can say it’s been not so bad in my case as it already got me a bit higher as a game developer.

Recently Brian wrote a post about indie funding. It got me to mention a case where people were complaining about the price of an indie game on Steam … priced at $10. The game I had in mind my was Zombie Driver. Surely that game is not without flaws but I can assure you that you’ll get at least for $10 of fun out of it. What’s $10? You can barely have a lunch at some fast food for that price. It’s probably the price you pay to see movies at the theater (a bit more if you live in Quebec …). It’s probably the money you have spent this week on way too expensive coffee at Starbucks … But for an indie developer it means everything …

Of course most people don’t care. The standard is set by games like WoW. If WoW is asking you to pay about $50 for the box surely that an indie developer cannot ask more than 10 cents for his game! Just take a look at the content and work needed to achieve both games!!! Most people don’t care because they don’t know what it means to get to a released game. They don’t realize that this indie developer is maybe offering them something different they won’t find from major publishers. They don’t even notice that even if they took the time to spend 10 minutes on trashing this game that they played anyway for 2-3 hours that game (about the price to go see a movie at the theater that is maybe shorter …). They don’t know the work involved to release such game because “they were stolen” … And maybe it’s not their problem either?

I’ve said before that I don’t think the web is reality and while I think the point made by some people is valid I guess I’m too stubborn to change my opinion right now. Whining on the web is so easy while DOING things is so hard that it provides an “unfair” advantage to the whiners. Yes everyone can be a victim of this “unfairness” but it’s also much easier to be forgotten as an indie developer than if you are Blizzard. You are judged on the same criterias but don’t have the same  resources so you can easily IMHO decipher some kind of flaw. Because people don’t know what’s behind the scene (or they don’t care but they often probably don’t care because they don’t know) we can’t ask to “know”. That’s the web. Free speach, oops I meant free trashing for everyone and no easy way to counter it (what’s written remains written).

So as long as you “don’t know” you feel safer in your position to complain. That’s the easy rant to make. Now on to the hard part. Fearing that you are maybe just a piece of shit when you realize that you “don’t know” …

Since I “decided” that I was to focus on Flash games for a multitude of reasons (to be exact I should say when the opportunity was offered to me and the proper conditions lead me to accept that maybe I should go the Flash way to be able to raise my chances of getting some kind of result) a whole new world revealed itself to me. And I felt so much behind everyone …

I like to say that my job is to learn and do stuff and that I’m good at it. I think that’s true but I’m also not 20 anymore. I’m not old (30) but I can assure you that my concerns are not the same anymore and that my ability to learn is not what it used to be. It do bugs me to spend countless hours just to get the basics on a subject when I could just enjoy the time passing by. I still very much enjoy what I do and what I’m good at but my priorities are not the same as when I was 20.

I felt at ease in my own little world of Javascript “boundaries pushing” for a while and when I “learned” what I had push away for so much years I really felt insecure. Yes I’ll catch up eventually and no I don’t constantly live in regrets but clashing with knowledge is brutal. For example I had no idea that you could make any money with a Flash game. It’s not a matter of sticking to what you believe in it’s a matter of giving you 1% more chance to succeed. And that 1% is important.

I also never really paid to indie game development until I finally figured that it’s what I was doing. That’s why I can forgive to people whining over a $10 indie game because I can understand that until you know what it means you don’t care. I never ever underestimated the work of indie developer but just never really paid attention to it. Since then I’ve been mostly spending money on indie games instead of AAA titles. Not that I thought I had to do that but because I realized that I was getting excellent products for my money even if they were not of AAA quality. The downside is that I also now spend more easily $60 on a new AAA title but that’s another story. It got me to evaluate even closer what was the value of the money I was gaining through my salary and honestly the only conclusion was that I was paying very little for all the enjoyment of the games I am playing.

So when “you don’t know” things are way simpler because you couldn’t care less. It also means that to people like me your opinion has 0 value on a creative level (that’s different business wise and I guess that it’s the catch). Not that I think I’m right all the time (I’m way too often wrong IMO) but because that’s now my “basic guideline of thoughts”. I don’t believe that you can stick to the same opinion for very long because we are always thrown in an crazy fast evolving situation. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a personality it just means that a person is partly defined by what’s surrounding him. I could get deeper into this but then you’d need to get a beer with me as I cannot go really further on a blog with my limited abilities to defend a point in an asynchronous way …

Where was I going when I started to write this post? Just to the title. All I’d like to spread is that people should try to “know” a bit more … about everything. Here I have talked about indie game development but the same applies to politic, moral beliefs, history … For the 1,234th time I’ll say that blogging is odd for me because it puts your words on record at a precise time. I have done my best to keep my opinions evolving as time goes by but when I write it’s like I “reveal what I think the truth is” while it’s really not that. I just try to learn a bit each day about many subjects and oh the world would be so much fun if more people were trying to do the same …

If only people were ready to trade a bit of their “safeness” for some knowledge …

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