Dust: An Indie Programmer’s Tale


The world of making indie games is something that’s become a recent fascination for gamers. With wide open platforms and fewer barriers between a game creator and the consumer than ever, it’s certainly appealing for would be game-makers to take a stab at producing their own content.

This summer, one of XBox Live Arcade’s blockbuster releases was a game known as Dust: An Elysian Tail. Dust is a Metroidvania (or Castleroid if you’re nasty) style game with a bit of a cartoony flair, with a really interesting art direction and a wonderful setting. I’ve heard nothing but good things, and the gameplay videos are promising as well.

But the most interesting thing about Dust? It was created, essentially, by just one man, Dean Dodrill. In a fascinating Postmortem feature at Gamasutra, Dean walks through his solo development cycle for Dust, in which he quit his day job, taught himself how to code, built the game’s systems from scratch and struggled to get it out on time. He goes through the ups, the downs, the woes, the prayers, the deadlines and everything else, in what’s probably one of my favorite game articles I’ve ever read.

Seriously, if you’re interested in ever taking a stab at your own game or just admire the people who do, I highly recommend checking out this article. Has anybody played Dust? Anyone out there already dabbling in constructing your own video games? When do we get to play them? Go!

Source – Gamasutra

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

2 thoughts on “Dust: An Indie Programmer’s Tale”

  1. I haven’t played dust, but as a solo game designer and self-taught programmer I can say it takes nothing but pure talent to make a game on your own. I’m a damn good programmer and an even better storyteller, but a terrible artist. Dodrill seems to be an all-around Renaissance man. Very few people can actually bring a game from start to finish all on their own. Not only is it a stressful venture, but it’s also a very risky one. I’ve been designing games as a hobby for almost 8 years and I have never completed anything. Not to say there’s nothing to learn from those failures, but it’s still quite a high rate of scrapped projects when you take a majority of the game on your own.

  2. Wow, amazing article. Really don’t need another game right now, but after reading his story, I don’t think I can help but applaud this guy’s massive effort with a purchase. This was my dream for years, lack of talent be damned. I have to say that, while a far cry from some of the developer horror stories I’ve read, it still leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, and in the end the primary difference seems to be the lack of misguided whip-cracking superiors and eroding team morale. I’ll admit to leaning toward the lazy end of the hard work scale, but 3.5 years with nearly no downtime culminating in a crushing 3-month crunch sounds like a good way to shave a few years off your life expectancy. An inspiring feat nonetheless, and the simple fact that it all came together as it did is rather encouraging.

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