The Rise of the Hobby Developer

Written by David Hing

March 18, 2011 | 16:33

Tags: #free-games

Companies: #games #indie

Developers around the world have submitted over 61,000 games made in Game Maker to the YoYo Games site since 2007. The rate at which they are being submitted is that, when I started writing and researching this article, it was closer to 60,900. A new game is submitted every 20 minutes.

As you can probably guess based on the rate of submissions, a lot of these games are more works in progress than stable, finished releases. There’s no real quality control and the content ranges from the likes of Crimelife 2 to Box Dodger.

There are a lot of indie developers who use Game Maker as a way of producing very high quality titles, but what I find more interesting is the number of what I would describe as ‘hobby developers’ there are out there.
By a hobby developer, I mean someone who is in the same boat as me: they love games, they love the idea of making games, they have ideas for making games, but their programming ability is remedial at best.

Hobby developers today have a plethora of choices available. There’s rapid prototyping software like Game Maker or RPG Maker. There are platforms like Unity or Flash which have a wide range of uses, or there are languages or design suites that cater to the creation of games. Gone are the days of having to learn OpenGL APIs and patch in the missing links between "learning C++ in 21 days" and "Using C++ to make something that looks like a game".

There has been a lot of talk lately about the rise of the indie studio. If nothing else the mind blowing success of Minecraft has pricked a few ears across the industry and arguably for the first time since the days of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, we are starting to see teams of one or two people produce ground breaking commercially successful games. What there is less talk about is how large numbers of people are making games for no other reason than the fun of it.

If you have a pet project that you've been keeping to yourself, click here to throw a link up on the forums.
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