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A unique insight into the stories and artistry of today's most pioneering indie game developers, delivered as a luxury hardcover book.
A unique insight into the stories and artistry of today's most pioneering indie game developers, delivered as a luxury hardcover book.
635 backers pledged £22,139 to help bring this project to life.

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Independent By Design: Art & Stories of Indie Game Creation

£22,139

635

Stretch Goals Activated and Personal Dedications Available!

Thanks to the amzing suport of our backers, the indie game development community and the press coverage we've received, Independent By Design is now fully funded - huzzah!

Does that mean we all slack off for the remaining time left of the campaign? No, of course not! Instead, we've initiated the following stretch goals to help the retain the momentum that you've helped generate. 

More detailed info on Stretch Goals and how they work is available via this project update, but here's the headline information of what you can expect to receive from us and the milestone figures we need to reach in order to deliver each set of goodies. 

£21,000 - Bespoke bookmark - *ACHIEVED* - A small thank you from us to you. Every copy of the book that you’ve pledged for will come with a bespoke, Independent By Design-themed bookmark included in your parcel. The bookmark will be designed by the creative team at Rock Kitchen Harris and be delivered alongside your book(s). 

£23,000 - Regular podcast dedicated to indie games - We’ll create a regular podcast on indie games, starting in July and initially running up until the delivery of the book in December. Here, we’ll talk all things indie, ponder the big (and little) issues of indie development and help shine a spotlight on upcoming devs! 

£25,000 - A bigger book with a greater number of even more luxurious pages - Independent By Design is already going to feature over 80,000 words, 240+ pages and hundreds of images from your favourite indie developers. 

However, reaching this stretch goal will enable us to up the ante even further. Not only will we increase the page size for an even more luxurious layout, we’ll also use an even higher-grade paper stock and add additional content in the form of breakout art pages expertly blended throughout the book by our superstar designer, Dom Palmer, of RKH fame! 

£27,000 - Independent By Design delivered on a bespoke USB stick - A digital copy of Independent By Design on your very own IByDesign-branded USB stick, delivered alongside your hardcover book. 

£30,000 - Choice of cover colours and a dust jacket - Should we reach these dizzy heights, we’ll be able to offer a choice of colours for the hardcover, in addition to a specially designed dust jacket that will grace every book at every pledge level! 

And remember, our campaign ends on Monday 8th June at 10pm BST (5pm EDT, 2pm PDT, and 7am AEST Tuesday 9th June) 

Thanks for your support and be sure to tell your friends about us by sharing the project link -https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1869209521/independent-by-design-art-and-stories-of-indie-gam - and Liking our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/independentbydesign

Personal Dedications Available! We've had several requests for the signed books to also feature a short dedication, and so we thought we'd make this an official feature! Anyone who pledges at the Signed Edition, Signed and Numbered Edition, Dual-Signed Edition or Transcript Edition reward levels will have the option of receiving a short dedication to a named person of their choice, in addition to us signing the books. 

More info on this option, and how to upgrade your pledge should you wish to take advantage of it, can be found in this update

About the project

Independent By Design is a deluxe hardback book that chronicles the experiences and vivid design of over twenty of the world's most revered and renowned independent developers.   

A beautifully realised, 240+ page tome totalling over 80,000 words, Independent By Design is a collection of bespoke, visually stimulating chapters; each telling the story of a featured development studio. 

Each spread combines compelling art with exhaustively researched essays based on extensive interviews, offering a unique take on some of the most interesting and offbeat indie game developers of recent years.  

Written by videogame industry veterans Stace Harman and John Robertson (IGN, GameSpot, Eurogamer, The Telegraph, Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition), this lavish coffee-table-style book is being created in conjunction with a small team of talented artists to the highest possible standards.

Read an excerpt from Independent By Design on VICE.

*We are a proud member and advocate of the KickingItForward initiative. Committed to reinvesting in and supporting Kickstarter community projects of the future.

Design concept only; final design tbc
Design concept only; final design tbc

What the press say about Independent By Design: 

The featured games list reads like an indie must-play run-down”- Kotaku UK 

"Explores the world of some of the most renowned indie developers and their experiences” - VG247.com 

"Harman and Robertson intend to elucidate the motivations and inspirations of many acclaimed indie titles for their readers” - IndieGameMag.com 

"Sets itself apart by focusing on many of the smaller indie developers that have left their mark on the industry, despite existing in an age of multi-million dollar AAA blockbusters.” - IndieHaven.com 

And by us, for MCV Online: Ten tips to get your indie game in the press

The quirky art of Failbetter Games
The quirky art of Failbetter Games

Featured Studios

Our primary goal is to focus on studios with the most interesting stories to tell. This takes into account the entire breadth of indie game development; from one-person outfits employing striking pixel art to larger studios utilising the latest 3D technology.

No two independent developers are alike and that is precisely the beauty of this sector of games development. This is a scene worth celebrating and this book is dedicated to chronicling the stories and art that reflect its individualism.

Our current confirmed line-up represents the scope and scale of Independent By Design. We’re also in discussion with a handful of other studios and industry icons to feature in the book and will be keeping the community up to date with any new additions.

We can proudly share that all of the following studios are a part of Independent By Design:

- 11 bit studios (Anomaly, This War of Mine)  

- Vlambeer (Nuclear Throne, Luftrausers)  

- Acid Wizard Studio (Darkwood)

- Roll7 (OlliOlli, Not a Hero)  

- The Chinese Room (Dear Esther, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture)  

- Lucas Pope (The Curse of Obra Dinn, Papers, Please)  

- Cellar Door Games (Rogue Legacy, Don't Shit Your Pants)

- Tom Francis (Gunpoint, Heat Signature)  

- Failbetter Games (Fallen London, Sunless Sea)  

- Subset Games (FTL)  

- Croteam (Serious Sam, The Talos Principle)

- Chris Hecker (Spy Party, Indie Game Jam co-founder)

- Frictional Games (Penumbra, Amnesia, SOMA)  

- Deconstructeam (Ages of Irving, Gods Will Be Watching)  

- Messhof (Flywrench, Nidhogg)  

- Dennaton (Hotline Miami, Hotline Miami 2)  

- Introversion Software (Darwinia, Defcon, Prison Architect)

- inXile Entertainment (Wasteland 2, Torment: Tides of Numenera)

- Adriel Wallick (Simon & Dene Go To Prison, Infinity Spaceship)

- Acid Nerve (Titan Souls)

A selection of the studios featured in Independent By Design
A selection of the studios featured in Independent By Design

What do the development teams say about Independent By Design?

"It was a pleasure to spend an afternoon discussing Sunless Sea and our origin story with the charming duo from Indie By Design. We really felt that they'd brought some deep thought to the interviews, and we remarked afterwards that we had gone into detail on some aspects of our work which haven't been covered in print before."
- Paul Arendt, Art Director and Co-Founder of Failbetter Games

"I think it's so important to capture the history of our business while it is being made. Through the great efforts of Stace and John, we can capture the details of these moments."
- Brian Fargo, CEO of inXile Entertainment

"We are super honored to be (potentially) set into hardback - this was the first time we really opened up as a studio, to writers that really get the indie scene..."
- Simon Bennett, Director of Roll7

"Hmmm, I'm not a very eloquent man... The book is important, but I don't have the word-library to explicate myself..."
- Teddy Lee, Game Designer and Co-Founder of Cellar Door Games

The Knight-tastic Cellar Door Games
The Knight-tastic Cellar Door Games

The Content 

Independent By Design will feature extensive, multi-page spreads on every one of our featured developers, curated using evocative art by a professional graphic design team.

The visual impact will be enhanced by astute insight garnered from dozens of hours of interviews, to tell the most complete story of indie game development possible. We'll reveal the personalities, motivations and inspirations behind the indie scene’s most iconic and thought-provoking titles.

This dedication to both the writing and visuals allows us to do justice to the portfolios and stories of each featured developer and the games they've created. 

In addition, we’ll be speaking with iconic figures of the videogame industry to get their views on all aspects of independent game development. These concise, standalone interviews will include the likes of Devolver Digital's Graeme Struthers, DayZ creator and founder of RocketWerkz development studio, Dean Hall, and USC Games professor and former Lead Game Designer at Naughty Dog, Richard Lemarchand, alongside many more.

Internal spread design concepts
Internal spread design concepts

Luxury Printing

In an age of virtual books and reading on the fly, we’re committed to creating a high-quality, tactile experience in the form of our hardcover book, complete with quality 128gsm paper and elegant cover design. 

We’re creating something with design quality and production values that demand it be plucked from the bookshelf; either to enjoy its articles at length or to satisfy a desire for instant, visual gratification.

Brought together by an independent design team and an internationally renowned printing house, every aspect of Independent By Design will be crafted with the kind of care and attention to detail reserved for the most prestigious of printed works.  

The haunting beauty of Failbetter Games' Sunless Sea
The haunting beauty of Failbetter Games' Sunless Sea

Specification

The designs laid out here are conceptual as our exact specification is to be confirmed. However, we're currently working to the following spec.

  • 280mm x 215mm 
  • 128gsm matte art paper, 140gsm case on 3mm board
  • Casebound, section sewn 16pp, separate ends
  • Litho print 
  • In excess of 240 pages 
  • Over 80,000+ words and hundreds of full colour images

Final specs may be subject to change/improvement as the project evolves; we'll keep you updated every step of the way. 

Benefits Of Kickstarter

The developers are onboard and, as our extensive mock-ups highlight, the designers are already hard at work. All we need is the backing of the passionate communities who support the cause of independent developers to realise this wholly independent vision.  

This book can only exist in its intended form with your support and we believe that in order to tell the best stories, Independent By Design must be independently written and designed. 

By supporting this project, you facilitate our drive to bring this book to you and to make Independent By Design the best it can possibly be.

*We are a proud member and supporter of the KickingItForward initiative. This means that we're committed to reinvesting 5% of any money raised above our funding targets back into projects by other Kickstarter community members.

Not A Hero's heroic art
Not A Hero's heroic art

Which Edition Is For You?

Our primary aim is to ensure we deliver the most complete, original and beautifully designed book that we can. 

To this end, the various editions of Independent By Design are all based around our core vision: to deliver a unique insight into the stories and artistry of today’s most pioneering indie game developers, delivered as a desirable hardcover book.

As a special thank you to early supporters of the project we have a limited run of the Early Bird Edition, which is the Core Edition book at a discounted price.

Alongside the Core Edition, which features over 240 pages of bespoke spreads, we also have the Signed Edition inscribed by the authors, for those that desire a more personal touch.

The Dual Core and Dual Signed Editions are perfect for those looking to pick-up a copy of the book for themselves and a copy as a present, or as a multi-buy option for those that want to club together to save on postage costs.

A special run of Signed & Numbered Editions, strictly limited to 100 copies, is also available for collectors. In order to ensure fairness, we’ll be randomly distributing numbers 1-100 of this edition. That way, no matter when you pledge at this level, you’ll have the same chance of receiving any particular numbered edition as anyone else.

The Transcript Edition: The Ultimate Insight 

The most exhaustive and complete version of Independent By Design is our Transcript Edition. Featuring written transcripts of the dozens of hours of interviews we've undertaken with independent developers and the industry figures vital to their success.

Printed as a separate book on its own unique paper stock, these interview transcripts provide even greater behind the scenes access to the thinking and attitudes of some of the most exciting pioneers of indie development.

*Much more information on the Transcript Edition can be found here.

Conceptual excerpt from Failbetter Games' spread
Conceptual excerpt from Failbetter Games' spread

Join the discussion, come to the party!

Independent By Design doesn't stop with the successful funding of a beautiful book. We'd love for a community of like-minded individuals to take shape around this project, in which a shared respect and interest in independent game development is discussed and celebrated.

To facilitate this, we’ll be posting regular updates and encouraging backers to get involved by discussing independent game design with each other and us throughout the Kickstarter campaign and beyond. 

Here and on social media, we’ll also be sharing insight into the process of creating the book from its Kickstarter campaign through to final print production.

Looking ahead, we’ll also be organising a book launch-party to be held later in the year.

The party will take place at a to-be-decided venue in London and we’ll be inviting everyone who backs the project at the Signed Edition pledge level and above to attend. Here, you’ll be able to speak with us, have your copy of the book signed in front of you and meet other backers of Independent By Design that share your interest in videogames.

We'll also be inviting a number of the developers featured in the book to attend, within the realms of sensible geographical considerations.

The exact date of the launch party will be determined and communicated later in the year. It will also be an opportunity for you to pick-up your book before we begin posting them out to backers, meaning that you’ll be among the very first to receive it.

Later in the year, we’ll be in touch with everyone who qualifies for an invite to ascertain attendance and book a suitable venue.

We look forward to seeing you there!

The Team Behind Independent By Design

The Harman and Robertson writing partnership is comprised of experienced freelance writers, editors and videogame consultants, Stace Harman and John Robertson.  

We have many years experience writing for some of the most recognisable and respected publications in the videogames industry, as well as providing commentary for other high-profile national and international media outlets that span websites, magazines and newspapers. We've also consulted on aspects of design and provided critical analysis for numerous independent and multinational developers.

You can find out more about us over here, on the project updates page.

We are working with Rock Kitchen Harris to produce this book. RKH is an independent design agency based in Leicester, UK, comprised of skilled graphic artists, whose work you can see adorning this Kickstarter campaign. Our paper merchants and printing team are experienced providers of a wealth of quality materials and specialist services.

A Note On Benefactor Credits     

Please note that Benefactor Credits must be real names only and may not contain promotional material, feature email addresses or online IDs etc. Benefactor credits are subject to approval by the authors but in the event your requested entry is refused we will contact you to request an alternative. 

Join Us On Social Media

Video music, Dollar Theatre by Jalen Warshawsky. Modified under Creative Commons Attribution License.         

Risks and challenges

We’ve worked hard in the run up to this Kickstarter campaign to ensure that the potential for any issues that might delay us are kept to a minimum.

We've already conducted a handful of interviews with developers and their artwork has been filtered and curated. Interview schedules have been arranged for others.

As the mock-ups above indicate, we have a talented design team on hand that has a clear vision for the project and is ready to continue work as soon as the project is funded. Time has also been set aside with printers later this year.

If any unforeseen delays do creep in during development, we’ll always keep our backers up to date with the latest developments via Kickstarter updates to ensure the process is kept as personal and as inclusive as possible.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £20 or more About $25

    EARLY BIRD EDITION

    One copy of Independent By Design in hardback at our limited edition early-supporter price.

    + Your name in the book! A Benefactor Credit within all versions of the book.

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    Pledge £25 or more About $32

    CORE EDITION

    One copy of Independent By Design in hardback.

    + Your name in the book! A Benefactor Credit within all versions of the book.

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    405 backers
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    Pledge £35 or more About $44

    SIGNED EDITION

    One copy of Independent By Design in hardback, signed by the authors.

    + Your name in the book! A Benefactor Credit within all versions of the book.
    + Invitation to the launch party to be held in London, UK.

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    Pledge £45 or more About $57

    SIGNED AND NUMBERED EDITION

    One copy of Independent By Design in hardback, signed and numbered (1-100) by the authors. Numbered editions will be randomly assigned and distributed.

    + Your name in the book! A Benefactor Credit within all versions of the book.
    + Invitation to the launch party to be held in London, UK.

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    Pledge £50 or more About $63

    DUAL CORE EDITION

    Two copies of Independent By Design in hardback.

    + Your names in the book! Two Benefactor Credits within all versions of the book.

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    6 backers
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    Pledge £70 or more About $88

    DUAL SIGNED EDITION

    Two copies of Independent By Design in hardback, signed by the authors.

    + Your names in the book! Two Benefactor credits within all versions of the book
    + Two invitations to the launch party to be held in London, UK.

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    7 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £200 or more About $252

    INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT EDITION

    One copy of Independent By Design: Transcript Edition in hardback, signed by the authors. This edition features transcripts of all the of the interviews used to write and construct Independent By Design, totalling dozens of hours of discussions with the studios involved in the making of the book.

    Independent By Design: Transcript Edition is the most exhaustive edition of the book available, perfect for those seeking the most in-depth possible view into the world of independent game development.

    + Your name in the book! An exclusive Benefactor Credit within all versions of the book.
    + Invitation to the launch party to be held in London, UK.

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    8 backers
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    Pledge £235 or more About $297

    INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT EDITION + SIGNED EDITION - Added by request

    + Your names in the book! Two Benefactor credits within all versions of the book
    + Two invitations to the launch party to be held in London, UK.

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Funding period

- (30 days)