It's no secret that commercial game development requires an intimidating number of tools, resources and cost. The challenge for the indie developer is to make the game they want only with what resources are accessible to them -- and this Gamasutra-exclusive feature offers nine different methods
One suggestion for those without the resources to generate a lot of content is simple: let the users create it for you:
"Line Rider is a popular flash sandbox type game started by Slovenian university student Boštjan Čadež. In Line Rider, players draw a landscape which the player character, a little man on a sled slides down. This is a pretty typical example of what an average player might come up with after spending some time with the game.
It’s not terribly exciting, but there is a group of people that when given the chance to be creative, will initiate a nuclear arms race with others in the community to see how far they can stretch the system they have been given.
Another idea? Leverage web technology for distribution:
"The ability for developers to deliver their games directly into the hands of their audience is an enormous step forward in terms of efficiency. The resources required to distribute games over the internet are microscopic compared to the cost of pressing, packaging, and shipping physical copies of games to stores all over the world.
Throw technology like BitTorrent into the mix, let your fans carry the weight and reduce your distribution cost to literally nil.
The full feature
contains more detail on these and other pathways by which indies can succeed against traditional odds (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).