The awesome Robby Z is the creator of 8BitMMO, a giant construction sandbox game with over 500k+ registered players. The game has deservedly been featured on Joystiq, RPS, Massively, MMORPG.com, Yogscast, and many other quality publications. 8BitMMO has been Robby’s passion project for an incredible 12 years! I enjoyed the honest answers to my questions about being an indie developer.
1. Name and location
Robby Zinchak of Archive Entertainment, Seattle
2. How long have you been an indie dev?
I went full-time indie about three years ago, but was making indie games in my spare time many years previous.
3. Games released?
4. Sum up your game / studio style in 3 words
Community Construction Awesomeness
5. Your career path – in a nutshell – to here?
Was an AP at Midway doing internal development, then went to Capcom & Microsoft on the game publishing side. I had always wanted to get back into indie development, and with the scene picking up, it was the perfect time to make a go at it.
6. Your favorite 3 tools or resources for indie development?
1 – Your local indie game festival (focus test with actual users!)
2 – Your local indie game developer meetups (Network! Your fellow indies are your greatest resource!)
3 – Your local bar (it’s a stressful gig, don’t forget to relax or you will burn out)
7. Biggest lesson you’ve learned since being in the game?
Being an indie is a terrible job. You risk your own money and time, often living in poor conditions to maximize both. You’ll toil in isolation, working hard to create something that most likely few people will ever see. Once you finally are ready to show it to others, no matter how good it is, the internet will tear it apart, expect you to sell it for 99% off, and personally slander and threaten you. We know this will happen. And we do it anyway. Because indies are f**king crazy.
8. A piece of advice from a fellow indie that has always stuck with you?
After a few years of working hard on my game, I had finally reached a nice point – I had some users, I had a little bit of cash coming in, I felt successful. At that time, I told one of my more successful indie friends that I was excited to finally be a ‘real’ indie. A wise man, he told me that there is no such thing – only you can define what it is to be indie, and financial success is in many ways irrelevant to that definition. He told me about how most men spend their whole lives chasing their shadow – the idea that at some point in time you expect to be at a specific level of success, and if you’re not there, you’re falling behind. One of the hardest things in life is to lose that shadow, and be able to make decisions based on what will give you true happiness. To quote a Baz Luhrmann song: ‘sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind… the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.’
9. What are you working on right now?
Doing some project planning, trying to prod the map capture machine into running faster, answering customer support tickets, and answering e-mails from Brandon ;)
Follow Robby Online!
8 Bit MMO Site: http://8bitmmo.net
Image of Robby Z courtesy of the Reactor program from Washington Interactive Network, of which Robby was a member.