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Randy Smith: Indie Dev Life Challenging But Rewarding

As part of a new Gamasutra feature Tiger Style Games (Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor) developer and former big studio designer Randy Smith contrasts indie l
As part of a new Gamasutra feature Tiger Style Games (Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor) developer and former big studio designer Randy Smith contrasts indie life with his prior EA LA existence. Smith was happy to jump into the indie life, as iOS development didn't require much overhead. "It wasn't all that difficult," says Smith. "In fact, it was surprisingly easy -- one day I was unemployed, the next I was working for myself. I needed to assemble a team, but I had plenty of contacts in the industry who were interested in pursuing this endeavor with me, both part time and fulltime." He contrasts the potential of a small group making an iOS hit together with working for a studio: "This is a business where people do get rich, but if you're in a salaried position working at a large, publicly traded corporation, it's very unlikely management has any intention of making you rich," he says. "What I really love about our model is that it helps reward everybody in a way you wouldn't see in a large studio," says Smith. "It also puts everyone in the same boat, trying to make the game as good as possible. So everybody is motivated to put in just a little bit more effort, to collaborate more, and to make the game better because then it will sell better and the money earned goes to them, not just the executives. It also means that everyone takes a piece of the risk." However, Smith warns, you need to be able to execute to survive. "Being an indie is a very entrepreneurial move," he says. "It's exciting, it affords you a lot more freedom, but it's high risk and it's only the right thing for certain people. I had enough money saved up and I was willing to spend it all. If you're not committed, well, there are plenty of horror stories out there about people who thought they could make it and died trying. You need to be very cautious not to become one of them." The full feature, which also has interviews with Haunted Temple Studios' (Skulls of the Shogun) Jake Kazdal and Uppercut Games' (Epoch) Ed Orman is live now on Gamasutra.

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