The Rainmakers

The Rainmakers
The Indie Guru

Allen Varney | 6 Mar 2007 07:04
The Rainmakers - RSS 2.0

I'm moving to Southeast Asia because of Steve Pavlina.

I'm not the only designer who has taken bold steps after reading Pavlina's articles about independent game development. Jake Birkett of Gray Alien Games says, "I read his stuff in November 2004 and became very inspired. One year later, I released my first commercial game, Xmas Bonus, and now two years later I've made four commercial games and a game framework. Of course, lots of people are dubious of this kind of stuff, but it totally works for me, and that's what's important."

"Steve inspired quite a lot of game developers, and I'm certainly one of them," says Cliff Harris, who started Positech Games in 1997. "He wrote some fantastic articles on game development and marketing. I would regularly e-mail [one] to all the developers where I worked, back in my retail dev days. Of course, nobody paid any attention, which is why they all still sit in a cubicle on minimum wage."

Gabriel Gambetta co-founded casual game developer Mystery Studio in Uruguay. "Back in 2001, I found Steve's site by chance - and it changed my life. For the first time, I saw we could make games, even from this remote corner of the world. Steve's motivational articles were always helpful. ... Not to take as The Truth (and I don't think that's Steve's intention), but to make you think or consider new perspectives on everyday situations."

"You can't overestimate the impact of Steve's willingness to share his successes and failures with the indie dev community," says Nick Tipping of MoonPod in Sheffield, U.K. "Without Steve showing us the light, there'd be no MoonPod here today, and I bet we'd be missing many other developers."

Chris Evans started Outside the Box Software in early 2004 with minimal experience. "For those thinking about going indie full-time, it's probably better to have some game development experience first. However, I'm still very happy with my decision. Many of my former co-workers are just now getting into game development, whereas I've released several games, learned 3-D modeling, gained industry contacts and made some money in the process. This is why I wanted to make games in the first place. I'll be forever grateful to Steve Pavlina for lighting that spark."

Then there are the ambitious newcomers. After reading Pavlina's articles on the independent game business, Gianfranco Berardi woke up. "I didn't have to work for some large company to work in the videogame industry! I could form my own company! Last March, I officially formed my own LLC [limited liability corporation], and I am currently working on finishing my first commercial game when I am not working my day job. Steve Pavlina's writing let me know I was gravely underestimating what I could do with my life."

Historically, Pavlina's articles have ranked with Garage Games among the most alluring siren calls to the rocky straits of indie design. Some might denounce such persuasion as irresponsible, even dangerous. Many developers who tried the indie life gave up within months, sometimes with angry, bitter public goodbyes on Pavlina's online forum. The path of self-reliance, though available to anyone, has never been for everyone.

The thing is, none of us know if it's for us until we try.

That's why, by the time you read this, I'll have relocated to Malaysia to start my own company. Because, like many before me, I got inspired by Steve Pavlina.


Pavlina was born in 1971. Raised a devout Catholic, he became an atheist in high school. As a bored and amoral student at the University of California at Berkeley, he turned to theft. After several run-ins with the law, Pavlina was arrested in 1991 for felony grand theft. Later, through a lucky legal oversight, he was convicted of petty theft and sentenced only to brief community service.

But while sitting in the county jail, Pavlina experienced an awakening. He cleaned up his life and developed a remarkable ability to focus and manage his time productively. Attending California State University at Northridge, he earned dual computer science and mathematics degrees in three semesters, graduating with a 3.9 GPA.

Comments on