Watch Vlambeer's 17 lessons for indie developers

Rami Ismail delighted the Gamelab audience with a funny and illuminating talk

At any given conference, you might encounter a capacity crowd only once or twice. For the most part, the choice between one talk or another splits the crowd, so when it's a standing room only you know that the speaker has attained a level of fame that very few in this industry will ever enjoy - or perhaps endure.

At Gamelab, it happened three times: the first for Double Fine's Tim Schafer, the second for Ubisoft Toronto's Jade Raymond. The third was Vlambeer's Rami Ismail, and while I didn't exactly stand up and count, I'd be happy to put a wager on it being the most popular talk of the entire show. People crowded the back of the room. They sat in the aisles and at the foot of the stage. It was a gratifying reminder of just how much sway the most successful independent developers have in the modern games industry.

And Vlambeer's co-founder did not disappoint. In a long, rambling and hugely entertaining talk, Ismail told the story of how two Dutch kids went from ramen noodles to kings of the indie scene in less than five years, and shared all of the lessons they learned along the way. Take a look.

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Latest comments (2)

Justin Hall Producer, ngmoco7 years ago
I like the writeup here - setting the scene for the speech, plus a link to the video. Can someone digest and share the 17 lessons here, for folks who won't, don't or can't see this video?
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Arjen Meijer Owner, RedCell7 years ago
Lesson 1: Why do you make games. Take a moment.
Lesson 2: Design is communication. Best to watch it, it's interactive hour with Rami.
Lesson 3: Be a little less normal. Even if there is no normal, you strange person.
Lesson 4: Give more than you take.
Lesson 5: Honesty helps make better games. Give honest feedback and be honest to yourself.
Lesson 5: Take business seriously. Ask for more money...
Lesson 6: Don't take business seriously. Don't eat noodles, or to many at least, and make more game instead.
Lesson 8: I'm a fraud & so are you. Don't listen to Rami.
Lesson 9: Your currency is motivation. Stay motivated, with or without anything but stay happy.
Lesson 10: Idea's are worth nothing.
Lesson 11: Failure is good, do it often and do it well!
Lesson 12: An industry is people. Games industry is small, so don't be a jerk, support each other.
Lesson 13: Everything is a remix, create out of everything. Like the Ted talk here:
Lesson 14: Your game can talk to you, too. Don't force a game to do things it doesn't want.
Lesson 15: Don't rely on patterns. Game industry changes to fast to keep doing the same, even once.
Lesson 16: The world is out there. Go to GamesCom, or any event. But not as much as Rami perhaps... Crazy guy.
Lesson 17: You can't make the game in your head. In your head there is always to mane unicorns and those won't work in RL. Take the vision and idea instead.
Lesson 18: Don't define things for others. Applies to lessons above. Don't agree if they don't apply, or improve upon them but don't force personal taste of anything to be superior.
Lesson 19: Decide, don't accept. Lesson about game journalists.
Lesson 20: Dare to ask questions to interesting people or personal heroes.

All in all a cool talk, you should see the video to get more out of the lessons. Rami isn't a standing ovation speaker yet but still enjoyable to listen to.
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