Creation of an Independent Game Studio

As you can see from my bio I’m located in the middle of nowhere, otherwise called South Dakota. This can pose a few problems, one of which tends to overshadow all the others… There are no game design studios within commuting distance of me. This is a dreadful thing, but in the face of adversity can be found innovation. What does a lonely game designer do when there’s no home for their ideas? They create an Indie Game Studio.

Many budding game designers and developers dream of making it big on their own. Most don’t manage it. I’m going to let you in on a few tips and tricks that might help make the difference if you’re thinking of going this route yourself.


Unless you want your family and friends to be your only customers, you have to sell yourself. There are many good ways to approach this, and I’ll mention a few of the important ones.


Make your way to as many of them as you can. Avoid the fan based ones in favor of the developer based ones at first. These will allow you to make connections in the industry and get your name out there. These are people that can help to slingshot you into a higher level, or knock you down to earth. They are both your peers and your competition. Get to know them well.

Online Presence

It’s very important to have a strong online presence. Your customers are more than likely going to originate from there, and it will be the best place to keep them updated and interested. Have a professional website that is both appropriate to your brand and well-developed. Remember that your website is the first look most clients will get at you, and if it’s campy and cheap that’s what they’ll think of your company.


Use social networking to your advantage. Get a twitter account for your company and use it to tweet news and updates. Make a youtube account, or a facebook page, and give your clients and prospective clients a taste of your work. Start a blog and post often so people stay interested in what your company is doing.


Another important part of any company is having a business plan. This might not seem like a very important thing in the beginning when it’s all development and socializing, but once the money actually DOES start going in and out of the company you’ll need to consider the legal matters of owning a business. I don’t suggest “just winging it” for this.

You need to draw up a business plan, even if it’s just a rough outline of what you want to accomplish and when. There are many resources online to help you find examples of the kinds of things needed in such a plan. Think about things like reimbursement for the people involved, getting sponsors for projects, registering your studio name for tax purposes, and what kinds of services you will need to provide if you contract work out. You’ll need to figure out where your expenses are going to be and when the people involved can expect to get a return on their investment.

Another good idea is to clearly establish roles and responsibility in the early stages, so everyone understands their place in the company. This will avoid fighting between partners later on.

The Games!

Finally, make sure not to lose focus on the games. Indie companies are special because they are the “everyman” of game design. Stay close to the gamer, relate to them. You are the unsung champion that every gamer wants to be, so don’t forget where you come from. Gamers are your strongest advocators and will be your greatest asset.

Hopefully if you’re facing the prospect of designing games independently, you’ll go into it with both eyes open and ready to take whatever hardships and successes come your way. It’s not an easy path, but if you succeed it can be very rewarding. Best of luck!