What it is like to be indie – A Q&A with Ten Tree Games

Gaming has so much choice now. From AAA titles such as Battlefield, Grand Theft Auto, Destiny etc, right down to the indie game scene.

In the period between 2004 and 2008, PC gaming saw a decline despite the overall industry growing. This was partly due to the release of the Xbox 360, Wii and Playstation 3. But also changing consumer habits with smartphones becoming more popular. This decline in PC gaming then stopped in 2008 when PC video game sales began the grow again, and grow they did!

The number of PC games sold between 2004 and 2008 fell dramatically. 2007 alone saw a drop from $0.98 to $0.91 Million in the US market from 2006.

(Source: The ESA Essential Facts about The Computer and Video Game Industry 2008, Page 10)

Although it is hard to specifically find out why the PC market began to explode so much during this period, it would be safe to assume that part of this would be due to Steam and another part due to the indie scene. It was in this period that BraidWorld of Goo and Castle Crashers were released. Both PC and also Xbox Live Arcade provided a platform for this games.

The big breakout game that really proved that a small independent game studio can go from making games as a hobby to big business would have been Mojang with Minecraft. This game has become a world wide success from a very small team. Minecraft was recently sold to Microsoft for $2.5bn, so not a bad payout even for a larger team, let alone for a small number of people.

10 Years After

10 Years After is an open world survival horror game.

Of course making games is not as easy as bashing out some code. It is very hard and not many indie games make it into the public eye. We decided to reach out to a new and upcoming indie studio, Ten Tree Games, the studio behind upcoming open world survival horror game, 10 Years After.


Q&A with Ten Tree Games:


RSS: May you tell us how Ten Tree Games started and what brought the team together?

Ten Tree Games:Ten Tree Games started from playing online with my brother after we had finished we were talking on the phone saying things like “wouldn’t it of been good if we could off” ..”I wish we could off”

And I said well “How hard can it be!” and that is how we got started!

As we grew we needed other people to come onboard and luckily one came on through being a fan of our Facebook page and cheekily Pm’ing us our main character audition through a website we advertised on and our music came from YouTube searches and sending emails to the composer’s


RSS: Many indie developers, either individually or as teams often have a passion for gaming and/or programming that stems back many years such as their childhood. What were each of your biggest inspirations that made you want to become developers?

Ten Tree Games:

I have to say the original Elite game and Altered Beasts are my main ones….Although I have fond memory’s of playing paperboy and Dizzy!


RSS: Your upcoming open world survival game, 10 Years After, has just gone into Alpha as of today. At any point have you ever felt like you would not be able to get the project off the ground and if so, what did you do to keep motivated?

Ten Tree Games:

Ha! I would have days where everything was going well I would save turn off the computer go to bed and then wake up and………you guessed it nothing works …..i would spend the whole day fixing what I thought was working!….building up to the Alpha I spent 16hrs plus a day just to meet the deadline I was working until 3am and getting up at 8am to carry on!….so to summarize every day I felt we would never get there! …And just wanting to not let people down help push us to the release.


RSS: Currently there are many developers swamping Steam Greenlight as well as other websites, getting a game noticed is hard. You also have a huge number of other open world survival games to compete with. Has this had have any direct or indirect on the development of 10 Years Later to make it stand out?

Ten Tree Games:

Ahh Greenlight!…..What can I say its like sailing a ship through a mine field we are currently ranked #53 in greenlight …And where we have tried to be different is by actually giving you a story a reason to survive ..Which we feel no other survival game gives you ..A purpose to be there a reason to keep living!


RSS: What working environment and atmosphere do you have and how does it differ to if you had a publisher?

Ten Tree Games:

I Knew this day would come!….I actually spend my whole days in a cupboard under the stairs (yes like harry potter!) ..There is no big office or air-con or even a window! ..On the plus side I get to spend time with my kids ..and I think if we were to work with a big publisher I would not have the freedom to be able to stop and watch peppa pig.


RSS: Just like how many looked up and were inspired by the likes of John Carmack, Roberta Williams and John Hare back in the 1980’s/90’s, many people, especially younger people look up to independent developers such as yourselves and want to follow in your footsteps into game creation. What advice would you give to those who wish to go from making games as a hobby privately to making a game for public release?

Ten Tree Games:

Its an old one I know but never give up! Always follow through on your dreams.. And keep believing in yourself there was plenty of days even weeks that I did not turn my computer on! And I honestly thought I had given up then I would get this urge to go back to it and things would progress!


RSS: Thank you very much for answering our questions and we wish you the best of luck with 10 Years After!

Ten Tree Games: Many Thanks we have loved doing this its been great fun!

Shaun Mckay, Lead Developer of Ten Tree Games.

To go Indie, to go alone

For anyone who is looking to make a game or wishes to take their hobby to the next level, there are more tools available than ever before with the likes of GameMakerUnity and numerous SDK’s. Plus, with Steam Greenlight, getting your game out there and self published is more accessible than ever before. If your game is noticed of course, Steam Greenlight has certainly had a fair share of controversial moments, from the community questioning what defines a game to some games of low quality being released to the backlash of buyers. In our opinion though, anything that gives indie developers a helping hand at releasing games is only a good thing.

Steam Greenlight

Steam Greenlight makes allows the community to vote games onto Steam

Indie games are selling more and more than ever before and we are continuing to see some fantastic titles released or set to be released. AAA games will always have their place, but as far as I am concerned and feel free to leave a comment below if you feel differently, but it is gameplay that matters, not graphics and certainly not loads of extra DLC that should have been in the game to begin with!

The games industry is ever changing and just like the 80’s and 90’s, it is the indie developers who seem to be leading to way to real innovation.

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