indie game the movie
I finally watched it last night. A long time ago, I was a documentary film editor and I honestly don’t like watching them anymore. I’m too critical. And I was worried that I was going to be watching as both an editor and a programmer. That was kind of difficult to wrap my head around. So I put it off. However I really enjoyed it.
I think the best things I took out of it for me as a game dev student is the following:
1. Don’t let early hype get to your head.
I could see it coming a mile away. Perhaps the film skewed it well, but the Phil Fish subplot seemed to be a “what not to do.” He came off as an arrogant asshole that I wanted to feel for, but I just kept cringing the further he dug himself. To me, at least, it seemed less a labour of love but one of ego.
What makes a great game is interesting ideas, good execution and passion. What keeps it together and makes it releasable is project scope. Braid and Super Meat Boy, just from what little we saw of it, clearly had well defined scope. Well planned AND well executed. Compare it with the insanity of Fez. Which would you rather work on?
3. Work/life balance is important.
The juxtaposition between Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes was incredibly fascinating. While both completely threw themselves into the game, you could clearly see the difference in balance. McMillen had an anchor away from the game that, from what was shown, kept him more emotionally stable. As a programmer, I know all too well how much you can get done while being really in it. It’s this tunnel vision that can take a bit to get into, but takes even more to step away from it. But you have to. Your life can’t be the game.