Independent gamework and identity: Problems and subjective nuances

Guevara-Villalobos Orlando
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

In this paper, I suggest to explore industry experiences, ideas and beliefs that motivate game developers to go ‘indie’ or engage as independent workers in their productive life. Through this analysis, we can observe the politics and cultural features that inform different trajectories and approaches to independent gamework. These subjective configurations become markers that allow us to understand with more detail the contested and varied nature of the independent developers’ identity. The identities of independent development are embedded within the economic and cultural structures that harness specific forms to understand and embody their sense of autonomy. Constrained by the demands of their work, developers struggle to make sense or to justify their choices as ‘authentically independent’, revealing subjective affinities and consent between market, political and artistic ideas.


Cultures of independent game production: Examining the relationship between community and labour

Guevara-Villalobos Orlando
2011 DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play

In this paper I aim to show the process in which independent game development is being shaped and leveraged by communities of developers. Despite digital distribution channels and the emergent markets configured around a new generation of mobile and online platforms, indie developers still struggle to develop creatively controlled games mainly by the means of more or less compromising sources of funding. Within this context, I argue that experimentation, user testing and feedback, exploration of ideas, skill acquirement, collaboration and moral support within indie communities are crucial elements of the process of game development. These features constitute the very nature of the events organised by communities, providing a series of emotional, cognitive and practical tools to deal with changing markets and work conditions. In sum, I suggest we might be witnessing the configuration of communities of production as a means by which developers seek to regain creative control over of their own labour.