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Talking quality of life to these developers was a little like talking retirement investment to high schoolers. They had a vague notion of its importance, and as occurs everywhere else in the game industry, there were individual stories of disaster and heartbreak directly resulting from an absence of quality of life consideration - but when game, dream and company survival is on the line, a 40-hour work week might as well be magic beans or a talking donkey.
In this primordial soup of game innovation, a place receiving an increasing level of attention as the years go by for its old-school charm and forward-thinking design ethic, not only do we have a focal point for a large percentage of aspiring developers - the industry's future, in no uncertain terms - but we also have a testing ground for innovations in process as well as in game mechanic. The same arguments for efficiency and process exist for independent games as for any other branch of software development. If independent games are becoming an ideal for the industry - a place where games are about the love - they can still be about the smart, be about the love for people and provide a beacon for the future of games. And those elements of "smart" can mean more independent games making it to the finish line.
The small studio style lends itself to flexibility not just in terms of ideas, but in terms of practice; for a small shop, a little production science goes a long way. Over the next couple of months, this column will cover the importance of game development's future, and how we cannot solely address quality of life from the symptom standpoint of the current industry, but must guide it from its germination into the future. And we'll start with the indies.