PhD Student Profile

Darius Malek

Darius Malek

PhD Student

School: Creative Arts and Industries

Campus: Canterbury

Project Title

'What is an Indie Game?'

Biographical Note

A motivated student with a passion for the Video Game Industry and Digital Media, Darius completed his MA degree in October 2015. In February 2015, he was invited to discuss his MA research and teach 1st year Digital Media students, which he considered a fantastic experience. As a result, he became more interested in teaching and research. He then volunteered at the Society for Animation Studies annual conference in July 2015 (organised by Dr Chris Pallant), which was an opportunity to meet international scholars and practitioners in the field of media studies. During his MA research, Darius came to the realisation that areas of videogame production were under-researched and more specifically, the indie game. Darius was awarded a Scholarship for a PhD in the field of Media and Cultural studies in 2016. He believes his research will make an important contribution to both the professional knowledge base and video game scholarly discourse.

Research Outline

The video game industry has been subject to considerable research in recent years, of which the term ‘indie’, particularly since the release of big hits such as Braid (2008), Super Meat Boy (2010) and Indie Game: The Movie (Swirsky, 2012), has progressively become a subject of discourse. However, the significance of the term ‘indie’ has recently been challenged, with several video game scholars arguing that the term indie is not just an abbreviation of the term ‘independent’, but rather something else entirely. In view of the rise of the indie game, this research focuses on current and emerging knowledge in the current indie ‘scene’ and the meaning of an indie game. This research intends to identify whether it is possible to achieve a common consensus amongst the community, industry and academics in the field.

Additionally, by employing an applied research methodology, an indie game will be developed alongside the thesis. This practice-led research offers the opportunity to gain exclusive academic knowledge of the procedures, setbacks and decisions undertaken during the development of a full-length indie video game. Whilst this game is identified as an indie game, it makes no effort to follow any ‘indie guidelines’ or mimic styles from current indie game developers. The development of this indie game will provide first-hand insight into the culture of indie game communities, including message boards, meetings and conferences and the influence that this may or may not have. Furthermore, this indie game will hope to achieve as large an audience as possible on a very limited budget and thus many promotional strategies will be attempted to offset this.

Furthermore, throughout the development of this indie game, the reactions and feedback from players will be observed with a focus on using these opportunities as a contribution to answering the research questions. This indie game is currently being developed by one person, and consequently there are many limitations to the development of this game. The repercussions of such limitations will also be documented, and whether they have an impact on the overall style or quality of the game will be valuable data. For instance, the requirement of outsourcing graphical design may impact the style and feel of the final game from the developer’s original vision.

Supervisory Team

  • Dr. Chris Pallant (First Supervisor)
  • Dr. Alan Meades (Second Supervisor)
  • Dr. Andy Birtwistle (Chair)

Research Output

  • Master’s Degree – Investigating Machinima from the perspective of a filmmaker who utilises existing videogame software to produce short films. This was investigated by creating a research practice film that was 20-25 minutes in length, using recorded footage from a video game while also documenting the entire process via an in-depth production diary.
  • Learning on Screen Awards 2016. Master’s Project (Machinima Film) placed top 3.

Teaching Experience

  • SAS Avid Editing & Teaching, Canterbury Christ Church University
  • Digital Media Teaching, Canterbury Christ Church University
  • Critical Approaches to FRTV, Canterbury Christ Church University
 

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Last edited: 30/06/2020 11:17:00