Decompression

Looking back at some of my old blog posts where I contemplate and muse about long term career goals; I would have never guessed 9 months later I would sitting here having accomplished one of my ‘loftier’ ones: Become a full time independent game developer. It’s been 23 days since I cut the chord and went full time indie. And the range of emotions are wild and varied as I flail about trying to get settled into a new and super exciting lifestyle. Having been laser focused on such a goal for what seems like forever, it’s a bit jarring at times to think that challenge of “going indie” is over and done with. I now have to come to terms with my new found freedom, and stay focused while trying to switch gears to newer long term goals.

It feels like a weight has been lifted as I haven’t had to make some decisions for the past few weeks as I did for the past several years: Do I hang out with friends, or work on that feature for game X? Do I call person Y back to catch up on things or keep working for the next hour before I have to sleep and get up to go to my day job? Do I skip working out today to squeeze in an extra hour to finish up this last build? Do I work through the weekend to catch up on lost dev time or take the time to get to know person Y better?

From all the indie devs I’ve talked to, doing this type of work is a 24/7 job. And it certainly feels that way, but less ‘compressed’ so to speak. I’m constantly thinking of what needs to be done next, whether it’s send out press e-mails, catch up on support e-mails, bug hunting, developing, prototyping, yadda yadda yadda. But having those extra 8-12 hours in the day now certainly helps keep me sane. And I’m aware I’m probably feeling a bit more relaxed right now because we’re at the tail-end of development of Tilt to Live, instead of in a ‘crunch time’ period for another game. So I’m enjoying it while it lasts. But I can’t shake the feeling that the last 5 years of my life has felt like crunch time, and I’m only now returning to someĀ semblanceĀ of normalcy. That’s if you can consider a career in making indie games normal.

5 comments

  1. Hey man!

    I am about where you are. I just graduated University and went back to a game dev company where I worked 7 months before going back to school. I am at the end of a iphone game port of a flash game of a friend and I am considering quitting my day job. Almost every article I read it says the same thing. DO IT! Such posts just enforce my idea and plan.

    1. Yea, the opportunity is certainly there if you have the discipline and determination to keep going at it no matter what. My advice is just make sure to have a decent amount of runway before making the leap!

  2. Hey Alex. Congrats on “making” it.

    I’m working in that direction myself. It’s a grind working the full-time real job and part-time “desired” job, but I won’t stop till I get there.

    Good to hear a success story.

    Good luck!

    -Jeff

    1. Hey Jeff! Great to see you! It’s definitely a great time to be doing this too. Especially with mobile taking off thanks to the likes of Apple, Google, and possibly very soon Microsoft (Window Phone 7 with Silverlight/XNA). Yea that grind can really take a toll on you, but you sometimes you just gotta keep your head down and power through it.

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