Erin Hoffman's Inside Job

Erin Hoffman's Inside Job
Inside Job: Interview: Aquaria Creators Derek Yu, Alec Holowka

Erin Hoffman | 18 Jan 2008 17:00
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EH: What do you think of ventures like Gamecock where angel investors support independent development teams?

AH: I don't know much about it, but the name Gamecock is pretty ... interesting.

DY: I think the basic idea is sound, so long as the business model is right for the developer, and creative control stays in the hands of the team making the game. Gamecock, in particular, seems to have a penchant for being "zany" and throwing wild parties where Caligula would feel at home. Which is nice and all, but what in the hell does that do for their developers?

EH: One could say that about much of the circus surrounding entertainment businesses as a whole. Speaking of which … Dogs and Ferraris, really?

DY: Yeah, no. Well, probably not!

EH: Kidding aside, it's been a very successful journey for you guys. What were the hard parts? Is indie game development the fantasy dreamworld it sometimes seems to be, and is presented as? What's the down-side?

DY: It's nice to be your own boss and it's nice to really feel like the game is "yours" as opposed to just contributing a small part. (I'm reminded of the visual joke where a huge string of credits that you can't read scrolls by very quickly at the end of a TV show or movie.) The game really is an extension of you, in a certain way. So creatively, I'd say it's a total fantasy. When you step back and think about what we're doing, it's hard not to be excited about it. It's an artist's dream, really.

That said, it's no walk in the park, and there all of the inherent challenges with making a game (or any big project) rest squarely on your own shoulders. When things go wrong, you have no one to blame other than yourself.

AH: It's very enjoyable most of the time, but since we live in different countries, communication and motivation are sometimes an issue. I think the main downside to the way we do things is that we don't just have an office somewhere that we can both go work at. We kind of have to motivate ourselves all the time, and that can be difficult.

On the other hand, working at home allows you to wake up whatever you want, wear pajamas all day if that's what you like to do. There are certain benefits, I suppose!

DY: I'm actually in my pajamas as we speak!

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