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We Don't Need No Stinking Platform (or Make The Game)

Rather than concerning ourselves with which platform will be the next leader in order to determine where to put our efforts, we need to remember to focus on creating lasting play experiences first, no matter what technology we use.

This post originally started as a long-winded comment on an AltDevBlogADay post by Nicolas Lamanna, found at

The indie game development community is larger than ever, and every day new coders and creatives are living their childhood dream of making video games and joining the community.

Although I've made little games my whole life and have followed the industry for years, I only recently was able to officially call myself a part of the "community". But, as the community grows it seems that we often lose sight of what the essence of indie game development is.

Creating lasting game experiences for the player with minimal resources and whatever technology you have available. It was never about revolutionary technology, but about revolutionary gameplay on existing technology. That indie mindset enabled the giant shift in the industry everyone is still talking about.

So, when I hear or read of discussions about what the next greatest technology would be. Or, developers conflicted with whether they should make an iOS, XNA, Flash or HTML5 game because they aren't sure which platform is going to win out, I feel that we're starting to miss the point again.

Before the recent shift, game development was always a technology chasing industry. Everyone was trying to be the first to develop the newest graphic technology, in hopes that it would let them be the leader in the next generation of video games.

Chasing such technology proved to be the failure for many such as Sega's hardware devision, or long anticipated projects like Duke Nukem Forever, which changed engines several times until no one would fund the project anymore. We all thought Nintendo was untouchable before the Playstation was introduced. And we all counted them out of the console game before the Wii was created.

No one can predict the next leading platform, whether it's tablets, html5, or onlive as much as they could have predicted the success of the Playstation or the Wii. As indie game developers, we need to remember to stop chasing the next exciting technology, and create your game on the platform that suits it and your style/skills best.

That is the core of indie game development, and what has led to it's rise in popularity. Some of the greatest indie title of our recent time started as flash games. They weren't concerned about the next platform or using the latest graphics technology. They knew the game they needed to make, and found the platform/technology that allowed them to create it and share it with the world.

It doesn't matter what platform your game starts on, if people play it and enjoy it they will tell people about it. That is how a game like Flow ended up on the Playstation after being a popular flash game. Or, how Machinarium has recently found renewed success on Steam, then the iPad, and soon on the Playstation 3. Find the game you want to make.

Then, choose a platform/technology that works for you and enables you to create the game you want. Focus on creating a lasting experience for the player no matter what platform you choose. That is why they are playing our games. Because they want to have those experiences. Sacrificing our game in order to put it on what we believe is the next greatest technology will remove from the player experience.

So, use the technology you know. If it's HTML, then make a next generation web game. If it's Flash, then instead of being crippled by all those "Flash is dead" posts, just make your game. Let's get back to making games. The essence of indie game development cannot be forgotten by chasing the next great technology.

Original post can be viewed at

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