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The Indie By Design Podcast

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From the writers and creators of Independent By Design: Art & Stories of Indie Game Creation, the Indie By Design Podcast is the show that goes behind the scenes to explore the world of game design and game designers.

From the writers and creators of Independent By Design: Art & Stories of Indie Game Creation, the Indie By Design Podcast is the show that goes behind the scenes to explore the world of game design and game designers.
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From the writers and creators of Independent By Design: Art & Stories of Indie Game Creation, the Indie By Design Podcast is the show that goes behind the scenes to explore the world of game design and game designers.




IBD #23 - Games that made us (Monkey Island)

Welcome to 'Games that made us', an ongoing series within the Indie By Design podcast in which hosts Stace Harman and John Robertson explore and discuss the games that have most powerfully inspired and influenced their lives inside and outside of the traditional gaming space. In this episode John Robertson interviews Stace Harman regarding the impact that The Secret of Monkey Island has had on everything from his subsequent tastes in games to his relationship with his brother at the...


IBD #22 - What is the role of a game critic?

What is the current state of the videogame critic and what might it be? How do audiences and critics currently relate to one another? What is the purpose of criticism itself? Is a review that acts as a buyer's guide a form of criticism or not? Stace Harman and John Robertson attempt to answer these questions and more in the 22nd episode of the Indie By Design podcast. Follow us on Twitter @IndieByDesign. Visit for more podcasts and information on our published and...


IBD #21 - What makes a multiplayer game?

In terms of both quality and form, what is it that makes a multiplayer game a game worth playing and/or a multiplayer game at all? Can, for example, a single player game be a multiplayer game if you choose to consume it as a group? Stace Harman and John Robertson delve into these questions and more in this episode that focuses on the nature of multiplayer gaming. This episode includes discussion on Dungeons & Dragons and tabletop games, as well as videogames. More episodes:...


IBD #20 - How and why do you play games?

We play games, but why and how do we play them? Compared to other mediums - such as cinema and literature - games have a wide variety of means when it comes to absorbing and consuming them and this can affect the how and why of our playing of them. In this episode Stace Harman and John Robertson discuss how they prefer to play games, why they play them at all and if/how this has changed as they've gotten older and their tastes have changed. Mentioned games include Dishonored, Firewatch,...


IBD #19 - What's happening in Life is Strange 2: Episode 1?

In this episode Stace Harman and John Robertson of Indie By Design talk about the themes, impact and direction of Dontnod's Life is Strange 2: Episode 1 and whether or not they are so far impressed with the new cast of characters and their world. ***This episode contains spoilers. It is recommended that you finish Life is Strange 2: Episode 1 before listening.*** See for more podcasts, as well as books and other original videogame content. Twitter: @indiebydesign


IBD #18 - YoYo Games on GameMaker Studio, creating tools that create games

This week's IBD podcast features James Cox and Mike Dailly, general manager and head of development respectively at YoYo Games, curators of the GamerMaker Studio toolset. That makes this episode of the podcast a bit different to the norm, because while we usually speak to the people behind the games, this week we're speaking to the people behind the people behind the games. The first iteration of Gamer Maker, called Animo, was released by Mark Overmars in 1999. Since then it's gone...


IBD #17 - Tim Conkling on Antihero, tabletop games & video game design

In this episode of the IBD podcast we talk to Tim Conkling, creator of strategy title and digital board game, Antihero. We discuss design inspiration, Steam reviews, AI programming and curiously titled locations, such as the Salty Nonce and Windy Bottom. Before all of that, however, we start with talk of games that have made the leap from the physical tabletop to the virtual one. Games such as Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Talisman, Warhammer Quest and many more besides, and to what...


IBD #16 - Old Man's Journey and the interpretation of games with Broken Rules

In this episode we’re talking to Felix Bohatsch co-founder of Broken Rules - the studio behind Old Man’s Journey, one of 2017’s most mesmerising and engaging games. It’s also a game that asks us to look within ourselves in order to interpret the events and themes of the game. We’ll be talk about that and more with Felix. Games typically ask us to inject ourselves into them, whether that’s by simply interacting with a button in order to open a door and progress to the next area or if it's...


IBD #15 - Stoic's Alex Thomas on The Banner Saga, Killers & Thieves and Creative Pressure

Alex Thomas is co-founder of development studio Stoic, the team responsible for The Banner Saga series of games. Alex has also released stealthy heist management title, Killers and Thieves, which he developed alone and published though Stoic. Here, he gives a raw account of his time developing Killers and Thieves, offering an honest assessment of his successes and failures throughout the project and highlighting what he believes have been the downsides of a low-key launch. There's also...


IBD #14 - Steve Gaynor on Gone Home, Tacoma & games in culture

Gone Home was one of the first games upon which the term ‘walking simulator’ was bestowed, games in which you move around an environment, seeking out interactive artefacts and/or triggering audio and video logs that, together, tell a story - the interaction and player agency coming from the order and pacing through which you uncover moments of interest. Your resultant depth of understanding is determined by how far you're willing to explore both the world around you and how you decide to...


IBD #13 - Housemarque and Mastering the Twin-Stick Shooter

Housemarque is famed for its downloadable console games including Super Stardust, Dead Nation, Alienation and PS4 launch title Resogun. The veteran Finnish developer has made a name for itself crafting, precise, polished, technically accomplished and visually striking titles in publishing partnership with Sony. With its latest title, Nex Machina, launching for both PS4 and PC, Housemarque is taking its first step into self-publishing. Working in collaboration with pioneering developer...


IBD Special - The Best Indie Games of E3 2017

In this special additional episode of the Indie By Design podcast Stace Harman and John Robertson round-up and discuss those indie games that have stuck out for them from E3 2017 and chat about the nature of E3 as a forum for such games. Games discussed include: A Way Out, Materfall, Griftlands, Nidhogg 2, Donut County, Ruiner, The Swords of Ditto, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Nex Machina, Steamworld Dig 2 and more. A video version of this episode is available via...


IBD #12 - Virginia and its creators, Variable State

Is it a game, isn’t it a game – this is a question becoming increasingly popular in discussion about certain games and has certainly, for better or worse, been the central topic around which a lot of criticism of Variable State’s Virginia has revolved. We talk to the studio’s co-founder Jonathan Burroughs about his reaction to that question, whether it’s a meaningful point of enquiry, the design goals of Virginia and much more over the course of the interview coming. If you’ve ever...


IBD #11 - Giant Sparrow / What Remains of Edith Finch Interview

Giant Sparrow and the studio's creative director Ian Dallas state that their goal is to make the world a stranger, more interesting place. With both The Unfinished Swan and What Remains of Edith Finch they have certainly realised that ongoing ambition. Both The Unfinished Swan and Edith Finch are games that present striking, stylishly presented visual narratives and that feature poignant tales with ample room for personal interpretation. Their highly subjective stories make for games that...


IBD Special - Patreon & Podcast Highlights

In this special episode of the Indie By Design podcast, hosts Stace Harman and John Robertson talk past and future. Featuring plans for the future of the podcast through the launch of a dedicated Patreon page – – and how support from the community will help bring about new content, in audio, video and written form. They also highlight some of the key themes and ideas discussed over the first ten episodes of the podcast with the likes of Dean Hall, The Chinese...


IBD #10 - Tequila Works / Rime

Spanish studio Tequila Works is responsible for both Rime and Deadlight. These games are very different in their presentation and forms of interaction, but they share an indelible quality that has resulted in deserved acclaim for their creator. The studio is young, having only formed in 2009 as a coming together of former employees of gaming companies as diverse as Blizzard, Sony and MercurySteam. Impressively, however, it has already found a voice and given us games that are impactful...


IBD #09 - Jason Rohrer Interview

Jason Rohrer is one of the most admired and respected game designers amongst his peers. Whilst his games are typically considered too individual and challenging to garner wider commercial success across a mainstream audience, there’s no denying the influence he has on those interested in the art and design of videogames. In 2016 he became the first videogame creator to have a solo retrospective of work exhibited in a museum – with arguably his most famous release, Passage, positioned...


IBD #08 - The Chinese Room interview

The Chinese Room was founded by husband and wife duo, Dan Pinchbeck and Jessica Curry. As writer and composer, Pinchbeck and Curry have led their studio to BAFTA wins for Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and helped define a genre with Dear Esther, a title that started life as a Source Engine mod. That latter title was in part a response to Pinchbeck’s frustration with games academia of the time, which he felt was too preoccupied with the theory of game design and not enough with the...


IBD #07 - Ghost Town Games Interview

Ghost Town Games has catapulted to fame following the success of its maiden release, Overcooked - winner of 2 BAFTAS. The game, which tasks players to work together to prepare, cook and serve food, has stolen the hearts of many thanks to its focus on co-ordination, co-operation and its ability to entice those that don’t usually even play games. It does all of this without muting its potential for complexity. Here we to talk Ghost Town’s co-founders and sole permanent members, Phil Duncan...


IBD #06 - Dean Hall

For many people, Dean Hall is synonymous with 2012’s free zombie mod, DayZ, which he created for Bohemia Interactive’s ARMA 2 while serving in the armed forces. The startling popularity of that mod led to it being officially acquired by Bohemia and to Hall himself working at the Czech Republic-based development studio on the standalone version of DayZ for two years, before leaving to found his own company in his native New Zealand. RocketWerkz has since released Out of Ammo, co-developed...