Rather than go in depth on any one developer, I wanted to capture more of a sense of some independent developers that inspire me and make me consider the possibility of actually creating games and releasing them to the world.
The Stanley Parable was a Half-Life 2 mod that eventually became a full-fledged product, developed by Davey Wreden. This was his first real game he made, and he made it straight out of college, it became fairly popular amongst the game-creating community, and the release version sold very well on Steam.
The Stanley Parable “Raphael Trailer” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ-IcS7mRSk
RollerCoaster Tycoon is a game that was developed by one programmer, Chris Sawyer, and one artist. For such a small development team, this is a fairly intricate simulation. It was only able to be such an advanced game at the time because developer Chris Sawyer wrote the whole game in x86 assembly language. He started his career in 1988 converting Amiga games to DOS until 1993. He released Transport Tycoon in 1994, and after four other games (two of which were Transport Tycoon World Editor/Deluxe) released RollerCoaster Tycoon. His detailed simulation fascination reminds me of Will Wright of the Sims.
The last pair that I wanted to research was Wolfire’s brother Jeff and David Rosen. From http://www.wolfire.com/ “Wolfire Games develops innovative, independent games for Mac OS, Windows, and Linux. It was started by David Rosen in 2003 to organize his open source video game contest entries. After graduating college in 2008, he was joined by his twin brother and three friends and Wolfire Games officially dove into the independent game industry!”
David Rosen has been making games in his free time for 20 years. He’s currently working on Overgrowth, which has been in development since 2008. This game is follow-up to Lugaru, a similar, much simpler version of this game. Their development has been incredibly clever and time-efficient for such a visually-detailed indie game (even if it has been in development so long). He has a GDC talk explaining his animation process, creating only 11 keyframes for any equipped item, and interpolating every possible frame of animation needed beyond that. He keeps his audience up to date with Alpha vlogs and explains his process for other developers to learn alongside him.
Sample of Alpha vlog https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaxiKobmAR8
Jeff Rosen is the Creator of the Humble Bundle. Being connected in the independent industry with his brother allowed him to convince developers to sell on his platform. Humble has opened a whole new audience to indie games, and has opened it’s platform to include other groupings like THQ before it went under almost two years ago. It’s earned $50 million, and over $20 million of which went directly to charity.