It’s been a while since I last wrote you.
A lot has happened since the last blog post. I got a job as a programmer at the Government. Where I am molded into a real software developer.
So far I have been getting to know the software by reading material, testing and a small code project. And afterwards they have given me tiny bugs to solve to start with.
I am working full time besides making games. I you would ask me 1 year ago if I could see myself working at the government I would say NEVER!
Me and my mother often argued about getting a job besides me doing game dev . And I would enthusiastically approve the idea to go from broke to riches. And she would be like, yeah but you should always have a plan B. And told me that I could make games besides my job in my free time. And then I would be like, but MOMMMMMMM at my job I will lose time I could spent on becoming better at game dev!
But back then I wasn’t aware of one of the issues when working as a full time game dev: WAITING. Let me explain.
1 Of the most important things in game dev is playtesting what you’ve made so you can get feedback. So me I am busy with a game and I make 15 levels. Then what do I do? I already have made the game, Now I need to Improve the levels. But as far as I know the levels are PERFECT.
So I ask for feedback and then I wait and in that time I can’t Improve the levels, because I don’t know how. It’s the feedback of others that brings me to other perspective, which get the creative juices flowing again.
In this same time I would wait and spend lots of time on other things perhaps even other new game projects, but in the end I would end up spending time on minutiae (trivial details of something). I figured this same time could be spend more effectively If I had a job. Then at the end of the weekend I would ask for feedback and when I come back from work next weekend I can iterate upon that feedback.
Work provides me peace of mind because It takes away the pressure to make money with games. Previously I would be stressed out to make a good game in 1 month. And I couldn’t take the time to play with different mechanics and really focus on quality.Now with some fixed income I can develop in peace.And I can use the money to pay for traveling expenses to game dev events and buy hot cocoa when I go to the starbucks and do activities which bring inspiration like dancing, freerunning and toastmasters. And that’s why I got a job. I don’t know what this feels like for other people, but let me tell you what this experience feels like from the perspective of a Game Designer.
Being a Game Designer means you have to be very close to your inner child.
Imagine a 4 year old in the body of a grown up. That’s what’s been like for me pretty much. It seems that in the grown up world people find it hard to express their feelings and really connect. There are all kinds of rules that they use to deal with these feelings in a comfortable manner. For example instead of expressing his feelings one of my colleagues would ask me to join him for coffee and then when we are 1 on 1 he would share his feelings. It seems like these grown ups have all kinds of methods to deal with the discomfort of expressing feelings.
I notice that the main game mechanic used by these adults is rational thinking. For all their opinions they use rational arguments to get it their way. And I see that the ones who give the best rational arguments and hence are the best rational thinkers seem to win and get the better positions.
What I do miss at work tough is the contact with the end user. As an Indie game dev I am in close contact with the player. When making tough growth demo I would put the game online and get feedback from the players which would be troubled by not being able to see when you are big enough to eat the enemy. Then I go back to the working bench and make the enemies yellow when the player is big enough to eat them. I adapt, upload and get new feedback from people who are really happy with the new feature and I know that I actually made a positive change. But at work I miss this and I often think, is the end-user even happy with this? What does the end-user want? WHY THE F#@! AM I MAKING THIS.
Besides that I miss the struggle of being broke and having to figure out how to make money. This adventurous experience is a really amazing life. I realize now that even though I get a paycheck every month some things you can not buy with money. Like that experience to go all out and make Tough Growth and then get 2nd place in a game dev competition is worth more money than I could ever make at a job.
But there are some things that work provides me that I don’t have in full time game dev. And have been really valuable to me that are not expressible in money too which makes it a tough decision for me to choose between full time game dev or full time game dev + work.
At work I learned how to work together with different kinds of people. People I might not like, but have to work together with because they are my colleagues. And I feel like this greatly enhanced my skills of working together in a team to get back to the previous blog. And as a result, now I feel ready to work in a game dev team!
Work taught me the value of rational thinking. It seems like even though I learned that women are very emotional creatures they respond very well to rational arguments why they should give me their phone number. And as a result my interactions with women have greatly improved and I feel like I am getting much closer towards having a girlfriend.
Work is like a small tribe where I can ask for feedback on non-game related, life-issues. Like which navigation should I buy for my car? Which car should I buy? How do I get a girlfriend?
And then get valuable advice from adults.
At the moment I am really struggling with the decision to go back to full time game dev. Because I miss the adventurous struggle when being broke the humbleness of being poor. You see money is not the question. If you work hard enough and don’t give up I am certain that eventually I’ll be so good at Game Dev that I will make a living income. Neither is getting better at teamwork. I could try working together with other game devs and learn from my mistakes.. But who will be my adults which I can ask life-issues related questions?
Remember to join the Feather Hat discord server for live screen share playtesting of upcoming games.