How Indie Games Get Made

How Indie Games Get Made Returns With the Story of Swimsanity

How Indie Games Get Made has launched! Or it’s back — if you knew about the podcast last year when we released the first episode! The most important thing to know: We are here with 37 new minutes of narrative nonfiction audio about brothers Khalil and Ahmed Abdullah and the 10-plus-year journey it took them to release their passion project, a multiplayer underwater shooter called Swimsanity. If you want to learn about how to play the game, we suggest you go here.

You can listen to the new How Indie Games Get Made episode in the embedded player below. Or you can click one of the links under the player to listen using your favorite podcast app.

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How Indie Games Get Made is co-hosted by me, Dylan Martin, and my wife, Stephanie MacDonald, and we started this podcast a year ago with the goal of using audio storytelling to shine a light on the challenges and triumphs independent developers face in making games.

We only released one episode last year because, well, it takes a lot of work to interview subjects, write a script, record narration and then meticulously edit audio into something that is entertaining and insightful to listen to. And like many other people, we were fairly stressed out by the pandemic and the election by the time the first episode came out. It was just too much for us to do this on our own.

Then in June of this year, I received an email asking me if I was working on any projects. It was from Caro Murphy, executive director of BostonFIG, the Boston-based nonprofit that puts on an annual indie game convention that was originally known as the Boston Festival of Indie Games. I had met Caro when I was covering the tech industry in Boston several years ago, and Stephanie and I interviewed them when we ran a Boston video game industry podcast called BosBattle.

I told Caro about the difficulties of working on How Indie Games Get Made when it was just me and Stephanie and how I would love to figure out how to make it work one day. That’s when Caro responded, essentially saying, “What if we gave you the resources, including an audio editor, to make this podcast a sustainable endeavor?”

It was an email I had never expected to receive in my life. I have been a professional journalist for a little over nine years, but I have only worked on small audio projects over the past decade or so despite having long-held aspirations to work in radio and/or podcasting.

So I obviously responded with an emphatic “yes!” to everything Caro was saying, and just like that, How Indie Games Get Made had the official support of BostonFIG. This means, crucially, paying Stephanie and I for our work but also paying someone else, the talented Derrick Vaylen, to do the audio editing so that we can more easily produce episodes on a regular cadence. BostonFIG is also giving us a much-needed boost across its marketing channels, and IndieCade is helping in this area too.

The important thing to know is that while BostonFIG is footing the bill to pay us at first, we will need listener support to really make this a sustainable effort, which is why we are launching a Patreon page. If you like what you hear, we hope you’ll go there and become a patron.

So what does this look like moving forward?

We will start with releasing one episode a month, starting with the Swimsanity episode. But we hope over time that we can build enough support through Patreon to begin producing multiple episodes a month and maybe do even more.

We have several goals with the podcast: to make something that is equally entertaining and insightful, to shine a light on a diverse web of lesser-known creators, to make something that is accessible and not overly technical, to create a greater understanding of the different kinds of issues developers face, and to make something that will last.

Now you may be thinking, “Hey, I think I have a pretty interesting story about my game development journey!” That’s great, because we are constantly on the lookout for future story ideas, and you could be one of them. Until I get a better email address set up, you can send me a pitch for your story at dylanmartin89 [at] gmail [dot] com.

We are very excited to get started again, and we are forever grateful to Caro and BostonFIG for making this actually feel possible now.

Now for the real work to begin.

By Dylan Martin

Tech writer at