Test How Indie You Are (Version 1)

It’s quite difficult to define indie game developer, since there’s no black or white answers in saying who is a real indie, and who isn’t.

For this, I’ve prepared a test to determine how indie you are, and this is the version 1. You guys need to help me get version 2 online. The test consists of several statements. Answer either “yes” or “no” and count how many “yes” answers you get. This determines your score.

Version 1: How indie are you test
Notice: if you cannot see the test, please visit gameproducer.net to take the test.

  1. I do the gameplay design for my game
  2. I write the story for my game
  3. I do the game art by myself
  4. I do the game sounds by myself
  5. I do the music for my game
  6. I program my game code alone
  7. I’m in charge of my project
  8. I fund my game development by myself without external investors/publishers/3rd parties (spouse does not count as 3rd party)
  9. My game generates income mainly through my own website (not from 3rd party portal/distributor)

Your result:

(answer the questions and click the button to see your result)

In the test results, the programming is weighted 2 times more important than others, and if you have comments on this, feel free to mention. I’ve always felt that programming is the biggest task there is in completing the game. I’ve also left out any “project management” type of things, but kept the “I’m in charge/leading the project”. When working solo, you are in charge of the project. Maybe we have that in version 2, but now left this out.

I’m also thinking if purchasing art/music/sounds from common libraries should be okay. Now I’ve made it so that you need to do all that stuff on your own.

I also deliberately left “I’ve made my own engine” since I really believe indie game developers and (solo) engine developers are two totally different things. (Some game engine creation is most likely needed in any project, but I don’t think indies should think about creating their own rendering engines or that sort of stuff). Feel free to disagree with me.

If you have some things that should be added, please feel free to tell ’em.

Bring any suggestions… and of course let us know your score.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. 70% based on when I made my Indie games. The only things I didn’t do were Art and Music, and I also used distributors which I personally view as intelligent choices that let me make a more professional looking/sounding game that is spread far and wide for max exposure and profit.

  2. I guess I was thinking of downloadable games when doing this. A good point though.

    For downloadable, if you are doing the marketing on your own indiestyle… that (somewhat) means selling through your own site.

  3. I actually wonder why making games for places like mochi or Kongregate seems less indie then on your own website. Because community = less indie? I’m confuse.

  4. Ranko: there’s sound effects, and marketing is somewhat inclusive to “My game generates income mainly through my own website” category.

    I specifically don’t like the idea of meshes/textures/animation, since that would be like bottomless pit. Shaders, concept art, materials… and so on. And if art would be split to smaller pieces, then coding section could also be increased by scripting, architecture design, testing and many more things. :)

    I don’t think those lumooja’s categories are overlapping. For example, you can be an amateur indie (just started) or professional indie (earning a living from this) :)

    I would think “I make money from my games” section could be there as well.

    More thoughts?

  5. Hi :)

    90% score for me (i’m not good at creating music) but
    i think some areas are missing :

    I think you can remove “I’m in charge of my project”

    And you can add :

    I create the meshes for my game.

    I create the textures for my game.

    I create the animation for my game.

    I create the sounds effects for my game.

    i do my own publishing and marketing my way.

    I agree with Lumooja about the differences between the hobbyist (creating games for pleasure), the amateur (creating games for pleasure and to make little money if possible), the independant (creating games for pleasure but also to make lot of money in the process).

    I’m actually an amateur but i’m working on my skills ;)

  6. I’d say there are professional, indie, amateur and hobbyist.

    Professionals work in big game companies and everything is organized enterprise style.

    Indies are kinda between professionals and amateurs, but their goal is to make money also, which makes them different from amateurs.

    Amateurs make games out of love and passion and they aim for perfection no matter how long it takes or how much it costs.

    Hobbyists are casual game developers and make some smaller games, often unfished, without aiming specifically at perfection or money. Hobbyists often still spent relatively big amounts of money, since that’s what all hobbies do.

  7. Got 80% but I don’t make money with my games so I see myself as more like hobbyist game developer. Is there/what is the difference between indie and hobbyist developer?

  8. I’m 100% indie, because I publish and finance everything myself. I don’t know where Juuso got the idea that indie means something else than independant, since in every definition I look it says: “Independent video game development is the process of creating video games without the financial support of a video game publisher.”.

  9. I think indie is kind of a loose term to begin with…like what’s art, and what’s not. Maybe because I’m only 70% indie, lol. But it’s probably because I don’t do my own code.

    And I’m sure coding is very important in games development, but I’m not so sure about being twice as important. Since I’m a producer/art/design guy, I tend to design games that are simpler to program (since I gotta pay for my coders), spent more time designing something fun yet simple to make and whack hard on the art.

    I might be wrong, but gamers are probably gonna see the game before they decide whether to give it a shot. And you don’t need that much innovation for gamer to buy the game once they try it, so long the game is polish and fun.

    Then again, I don’t have that many title under my belt, but that’s my current approach so far as a Producer/art/designer guy.

  10. Wow, 80%!! Funny quiz wrote you.

    By the way, another question should be annual revenues under US 100,000. Or something like that, meaning “I´m not rich, so I´m not a big studio”.

  11. hehe 100% indie, works well for me that i like learning all aspects of game development :) and i look forward to version 2 of this test juuso and agreed indie = independent but team size dosent really matter its just that large independent studios are less common, thats just my opinion though

  12. 80% indie, huh? Looks like I’m a cool anti-mainstream guy :D

    It all depends though, when I’m working solo the only thing I don’t do is music. But I do have a group with two other guys; one does art, the other does music and I do programming. We pretty much give our thoughts and visions in each area, tho.

    And my definition of indie is, actually, that of a bunch of guys (or just one guy) who holds the entire control over the creative and management part of the project — so, basically, you don’t depend on a publisher and can do pretty much what you want to (though, in fact, you still bound to being controlled by your target audience, somehow). So, mine includes team, but I don’t think it’s got to be something too formal, ‘cuz then it loses all the indie magic.

  13. Technically, Bungie, Valve and some AAA teams are indies… They are self-funded and use publisher services only as “services” and not as “clients”.

    So yes, Indie actually mean “independent” but we are using the definition for something else (that is not independent, but rather independent AND small… or something like that)

    Btw: I did several projects with exactly 7 people, with different people, but always 7, and… It sucked (usually only 5 work :P)

  14. And I thought my definition was narrow :)) Yes, you’re right, I’ve described an indie team…

  15. The “formal” definition of a indie, is usually if he have creative control of the project, AND is not part of a big publisher.

    But definition of indie is something that I actually don’t care much… What matters is AAA (several people and MEEEELLIONS of money) and non-AAA (everyone else).

    To me, suddenly being “indie” became like a fad, it makes you look “cool” and “anti-mainstream” and more awesome, etc…

    What matters to me, is that I make games because it is my passion, and that I will keep making games like that, and that even when working for hire, I will always try to put the most of my vision on it, and in the end does not matter if someone think that I am indie or not because “X” or “Y”, what matter is that people enjoy my game, and that I enjoy myself making it… (and obviously, that I make sufficient money to survive… something that is actually not happening now :/)

  16. @Fili: I feel if there’s 5-6 individuals, then it might be an indie team. I somehow feel that indies need to (somewhat) work solo/without a team. But… then again – that’s just me.

    @Maurício: This quiz takes no stance whether being indie (100% or close to that) is a good or a bad thing… ;)

  17. Maybe my definition of indie is not as broad as others’, but to me indie is a group of less than 5-6 individuals that work on a game on their own, with no external help of any kind (technological or financial). If these 5 individuals form a company, that’s not indie any more. I don’t understand the concept of an indie company, to me it’s a contradiction of terms. If these 5 individuals receive funds for their work, they are not indie any more. To me indie == independent developer.
    So I’m an indie at home because I do all my graphics, all my code, but not an indie at work, even if I do exactly the same thing :)

  18. I think this quiz needs to explicity address whether or not publishers or investors *make decisions* about the direction of your projects. To me, that is the difference between indie and not indie. Do you or your team create games independent of non-developers, or not?

  19. Heh, 100% sometimes I think it is bad, I mean, it is more than being 100% indie, it is like being 100% poor and having no money to buy stuff or hire people :P

    But no problem! Here I go making EVERYTHING on my game!

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