This leaves me at my current conundrum. As an indie gamemaker, what platform and what development tools should I be focusing on? No matter what, our first release, Fist Puncher, will be developed in XNA and released through XBLIG. However, subsequent projects are a little more open-ended. I don’t feel that we’re necessarily shackled to any specific platform or development tools. Ideally, we want to enjoy the development process and get our games into the hands of as many people as possible. Our experience in XNA is surely an asset, but will it continue to be a viable indie game option? Can XBLIG support a growing indie community? Will developers start packing up shop and leaving for the greener pastures of Steam? On a personal level, how do I find the motivation to code in Visual Studio for 8-10 hours at my day job and then come home to XNA development in, once again, Visual Studio?
This is all a little overwhelming. Currently I’m working on a Fist Puncher web browser game in Flash. For me, Flash offers a fun, flexible development environment and differs enough from my day job that I can actually sit down and code for long stretches without burning out. Regardless, Flash certainly has a hazy future at best and doesn’t have a very good track record with mobile devices. As more and more gamers trend towards iPhones and iPads, Flash could end up as a casualty of progress. Dumping time and energy into learning a language or a development environment that may soon be extinct is simply not a realistic path to success. You really need to sit down and carefully consider the long-term state of the industry. I’m not saying this is easy. In fact, it’s downright tough. Still, with all of the choices out there and all of the changes happening in the industry, it’s in every game developer’s best interests to make sure that they don’t commit to a lost cause. That being said, I guess I better go buy an iPhone.
[Below: Flash Development, XNA Development in VS2010, Stencyl Development]