There is a new movement among independent game developers, aiming at bringing the number of indie games sold in the computer gaming market to 50% by 2015. While this seems like a lofty goal, there is a very dedicated group building tools to make this possible.

They have hosted IMDGC, and have attended SIEGE. These people work as IndieZen.

“Indie 2.0 is indies helping themselves by creating their own tools, toolchains, game engines, and organizing themselves into a self-teaching, self-mentoring, self sufficient organization that promotes collaboration and teamwork among Indie game developers, fostering an environment where we can help each other with the common things, leaving us with more free time to innovate.”

Tony Richards, IndieZen.org

IndieZen is building a set of tools that will give independent game developers the freedom to create innovative games without being tied to a commercial game development studio, and to capitalize on each member’s strengths (freedom, innovation) while compensating for their weaknesses (less funding and manpower).

“The commercial tools expect you to throw a lot of manpower at a project because the commercial developers can afford a bunch of cheap labor. On the other hand, Indie tools need to take advantage of procedural content generation and toolchains that support modifier stacks, style sheets, etc.”

IndieZen tools include:

  • Zen Engine (the game engine)
  • Zen Core - a set of core libraries for cross-platform support found in languages such as C# and Java, but not C++ (IndieZen has added support using Zen Core.)

Zen Enterprise includes Zen Server, an application server, that is akin to Java/Geronimo, JBoss, and others.

“You might ask “What does that have to do with game development?” but this encompasses everything related to games, not just the core game engine. For FPS games, you need a community server to host your logins, your clan memebership, game location services, etc. For MMO games, obviously there’s a whole lot more involved than just the zone servers. Plus you need something for support tickets, customer relationship management, billing, etc. Zen Enterprise and related application services fills these roles.”

There are also technologies by IndieZen, LLC, that are not related specifically to games. Zen Spaces is a compute cluster and data grid, that is an extension to Zen Enterprise.

The Indie 2.0 Revolution is about independent game developers revolutionizing the game industry by playing by our own rules, not those of commercial studios. It is about making it easier to make games that leverage the strengths and compensate for the weaknesses of indie groups, allowing small, versatile groups to create more innovative, fun, and overall better games.

“A key reason I decided to make most of IndieZen software open source using a non copyleft license is because this revolution is much larger than any one individual or even larger than any one company…. Garage Games couldn’t do it because they’re trying to make a profit off of creating the technology. The correct way to do it is to collaborate on the technology and make money off of the games.”

The tools created by IndieZen are Free and Open Source, licensed under the ZLib license.