A little life milestone, here. This blog may (may) feel some impact as a result.
I’m going indie again. I’ve gone indie before. It didn’t go amazingly.
8 Years ago I worked with Tommy Refenes on Goo! And because I was a bit naive, and more than a little arrogant, I fell badly. I wasn’t even aware, at the time, that I had an anxiety disorder.
But as it turns out, the entire time I was thinking about doing my own games. Learning your craft in a studio culture can be great, but the chance to go off piste, or work outside your stated retinue is rare, and tends to cause other people problems. But I would anyway. I was determined. No-one could tell me no! A man possessed! What I couldn’t see in that creative fugue was that an employer or client or publisher shouldn’t have to front the bill of a plumber gone mad.
There was a great struggle to accept this. The answer was there the entire time – get out, go indie, but the fear of past failures trapped me from doing anything but boil. I buckled down, worked on my craft, and eventually realized that if I wanted to be all “creative”, then I must own the mistakes as well as the successes. Getting into a position to do that has taken quite a lot of time and effort, hence my low output recently (and a hernia operation didn’t help either).
In the last year or so, I’ve been trying to set myself up with some semblance of stability, so that the anxiety doesn’t get the better of me again. In the coming year, I’m working with Ed Key (of Proteus Fame) on his new game, along with Nicolai Troshinsky – a very talented illustrator and aanimator. That’ll be 4 days a week with a tiny team.
I plan to use the fifth (and sometimes sixth, and seventh) to work on my own games (with people I really love working with), and I hope to boot-strap a passable living off that.
I’ve thought about Patreon and Kickstarter as other possible routes. I know they cause a lot of hand wringing, and I understand why. I’m not opposed to them (problematic edge case examples aside), but if I imagine it’s a zero sum game (it’s not), then I think that other people deserve/need the living they provide more than I do. All things considered, I’m in a very lucky, comfortable place for now.
If I were to entertain the Patreon route, the result would probably be more articles here; small games focusing on kinaesthetics, and development streams where I can answer a lot of unity questions by coding them up in front of your eyes. But, we’ll see. It’s not infinite time. (I also probably don’t have the sort of phenomenal track record/public face you need to get one going.)
If I’m in a position where a game’s core is solid, but simply needs the production time to be finished, a KickStarter would be appropriate. I just don’t want to ask for money before I’m sure I have a game. I prototype to mitigate risk, taking the cost on myself, so that once something’s proven, it feels a bit more responsible than KickStarting with nothing but a grab-bag of unproven ideas.
Unity web plugins are going to go through some changes, so I’m going to have to do a lot of recompiling of code for previous articles’. That’s going to bite into some time. Hooray!
Anyway, sorry for the bloggy style blog post. I hope to be back with something more on point, but that’s my situation for now.