161: Sidhe's the One

Sidhe's the One

"A Sidhe is an earthen mound where mythical beings live. It's also an independent New Zealand videogame company that's moved away from the hill-dwelling fairy thing to release six titles in the last five years. I've known about them for a long while: Like fantasy films, Antarctic storms and flaccid politicians, Sidhe has become part of the Kiwi landscape. But I'd never gotten near the source code, the how, why and what-the-hell of growing your very own game development ecosystem at the bottom of the South Pacific. So I called them up, begged my way in and spent a week learning the secret. Here it is, in seven easy steps, complete with magic beans and beer."

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Amazing article, really. It's wonderful to hear about developers across the pond. I love hearing about how things are handled in the game business. I'm an aspiring game programmer/designer/whatever the hell job I can get in games. I love games and love to play them. My music dream fell through, so I fell back on games. They both happen to be similar. You start out as a fledgling with no experience, and you progress through the ranks. Along the way, you meet some terrible people and you meet some amazing friends. Let's just hope that it doesn't turn out like a Def Leppard career. Eventually, you're playing state fairs in midwest towns/making tiny games that don't net in much. That's everyone in the game industry's dream. Indies are an exception because most want to stay small. Same thing with indie bands, they want to be small to that niche audience. Music and Games are quite alike...

I enjoyed the article but the doom & gloom gets to be a bit much in these write-ups about the game industry. As Miles Davis once said, if you aren't afraid of mistakes then you won't make them. You'll just be learning. If a person is willing to challenge themselves to constantly make games that don't yet exist, that are doing something new, then they don't have to worry about their contribution to video games. They will be exploring and pushing the medium forward, which is the best thing you can hope for artisitically.

That does not, alas, pay the bills. I just think it's unhealthy for any artist to gauge their success by how much money they make. Van Gogh only sold one painting, Cormac McCarthy was brutally poor until just a few years ago, and William Blake lived off charity his entire life. Whereas Miles Davis, great musician that he was, also made a great living off his music. None of those artists are any less important in the annals of history.

That same drive that makes people abandon corporate companies and go indie seems like it's in a similar spirit. If they can't be ensured that they'll be rich, then at least they know they're making something good. That's a reward that nothing can stop you from receiving.

Am I the only one that senses an imminent sub-cultural uprising in the entire Game Industry infrastructure? I think the next 10-15 years are going to be very interesting.

I know it isn't adding much to the conversation/discussion, but I really do want to say: I love New Zealanders. Those folks are some of the nicest, yet craziest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing when they visit Canada and the stories my wife tells me of when she lived in Wellington for a short while =)

I wonder if Sidhe could make a game that would really click with a lot of people and help them get their name out there. That is how developer's become well known right, by making good games?!


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