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Feature: 'The Indie MMO Game Dev Conference 2007 Report'

In today's exclusive Gamasutra feature, we present the highlights from the recent Indie MMO Game Dev Conference, including a look at the event's keynotes by MUD pioneer Richard Bar
In today's exclusive Gamasutra feature, we present the highlights from the recent Indie MMO Game Dev Conference, including a look at the event's keynotes by MUD pioneer Richard Bartle and GarageGames' Josh Williams, as well as an interview with Celia Pearce regarding the university-funded MMO experiment Mermaids. In this excerpt, writer Gus Mastrapa examines Josh Williams' compelling keynote address, during which the GarageGames' executive expressed the importance for independent developers to maintain “creative control” of their visions, saying funding “is where the rubber meets the road”: “Bad decisions at the money stage are the key point at which creators begin to lose control of a game. Financial independence, he said, is the game makers way of “throwing the birdie to the mainline industry and saying 'You know what? It doesn't have to be this way!'” Williams outlined key ways to fund a game: bootstrapping, investment and project based funding. A show of hands showed that most teams in attendance were using the challenging bootstrapping technique to finance their titles. One exception in the audience proved to be Celia Pearce's game Mermaids, which uses University funding. New tools such as Multiverse and the Torque developer kit, help level the playing field for small teams. Out-of-the-box solutions offer more opportunity, he said, since developers don't have to create all their own technology. Another hurdle, the creation of a team, is becoming less of an issue as communities of like-minded game designers form.” He later adds: "'The hard part, the one that stumbles most developers...is getting your game out to market.' Getting people to play and making a game a success is becoming easier now that there are more channels for indie games. Williams cited the existence of Steam, Xbox Live Arcade and other download services as great new opportunities. Still, developers aren't treated well he said.” You can now read the complete feature, which includes more from the MMO conference designed as a forum to address the continually growing massively multiplayer online games market through the eyes of independent developers (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

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