July 22 conference promises that speakers will address issues. Keynotes from visionaries Warren Spector and Greg Costikyan will answer questions.

The Texas Independent Game Conference, which takes place in Austin for two days this month, will be immersed in the bouillabaisse of issues surrounding independent game development.

One problem is that no one knows what an ‘Indie Developer’ is. Companies such as Valve, Gearbox, and id software are certainly independent. But so are student-made games, or those made by hobbyists.

In many ways Spector and Costikyan are dual icons of the indie game developer. Both speak and write continually, and are favored for their opinions on the future of the games industry.

Business-technology magazine Red Herring quoted Spector speaking at an E3 2006 panel on independent game development. “You have a zero percent chance of success. The barrier to entry in terms of cost, quality required, access to a market… forget it.”

Spector founded his Junction Point Studios in the fall of 2004, and has publicly stated – as recently as last week – that he is still looking for a deal. Costikyan founded his publisher Manifesto Games in September of 2005, and has yet to announce getting the projected $1m in seed funding.

Clearly, these visionaries are working out what games can and should be. Elsewhere, the success of Xbox Live Arcade has led to Microsoft being overwhelmed by new game pitches. Further, there is a renewed interest in the possibility of those independent games.

Two other speakers of note are Harlan Beverly, founder of Bigfoot Networks. Beverly is known for giving inspirational and irreverent talks to an eager audience.

And Gordon Walton, studio head of BioWare Austin. (BioWare/Pandemic boasts of being the largest independent developer in the world). “I think that independence is a state of mind,” remarks Walton. “If you control your own destiny, you are independent is my take.”

Official site, found here.

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