Refuelling

09 May
May 9, 2013

In my mind, I often like to think of what I’ve done here, going indie and trying to build my first commercial game, as journeying out to sea on a small boat. A boat that I’ve built myself, loaded with supplies I’ve stocked up over the years.

I said goodbye to my friends and family then cast off, heading for the horizon, looking for my dreams. I didn’t know what I’d find out there, whether I’d reach my personal paradise or end up dashed against the rocks. All I knew is that I had to try. I felt more at risk of drowning in the safe, comfortable humdrum of daily life than out there, in that ‘ocean’.

So I did it. I took the biggest risk of my life. Even though, honestly, I’m not very brave. If I was, I probably would have taken it sooner. And it’s been amazing. I’ve learned so much, about game development, about myself. Even now, even with my life savings pretty much entirely burned away, I don’t regret it. I’ve lived. Perhaps for the first time, I’ve really been alive and engaged.

But, that being said, I have, as I mentioned, essentially burned away all my savings. At the beginning of this month, I hit my red line. The limit I set myself when I left my last job, where I’d have only a few months finances remaining and would need to start looking for work before I ran out of rent money.

It’s unfortunate that I hit this point before I got System Crash completely finished. I had planned to be done by now, but the best laid plans of mice and men and all that. If I was braver, maybe I’d have chosen to gamble further, to race my bank account all the way to the finish line. But I am, as I said, not that brave.

So I found a new job. Started it this week actually, it’s going well so far. Nice people, cool environment, interesting project. And I’m being paid to develop in Unity, which is pretty great.

System Crash development will continue, though now after office hours. This will slow development down a bit, of course, but the game is very nearly finished, so it’s not too bad. The estimated release date is next month. Beta testing will continue, I’ll get a new build out as soon as possible.

So if you’ve wondered why, after the previous beta release, I dropped off the radar a bit, well, now you know.

This isn’t the end for Rogue Moon Studios, far from it. I have plenty of plans for the coming year, beyond System Crash’s release, plans I’m excited about. Like I said, I see this whole thing as a journey, a voyage across turbulent oceans, searching out exotic locales and adventure. Sometimes you can’t make that kind of voyage all in one leg. Sometimes you have to make a detour to a nearby friendly island to restock your supplies.

The good ship Rogue Moon is docked in port, taking on fresh water and salted meat. Hiring new crew and patching torn sails. The open sea still calls to her, soon she’ll set sail once again.

4 replies
  1. Rich Hudson says:

    You are much much braver than you give yourself credit for. Many people (me) would never have (and likely never will) take that plunge. Now fair enough I have a wife. mortgage and two small children to look after, but still don’t sell yourself short. Working for now is no sign of failure or a step backwards (not that you said it was). Can’t wait to get the final game and look forward to your next project.

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  2. C. says:

    I don’t think it is about bravery. Once one realizes what he really likes doing and once he realizes that it is not possible in corp env, there is no other way. The choice is simple: either slowly bore yourself to death in some cubicle (or some other “open space office”), or try really hard to get where you do for living what you really like. So, Gareth is not “really brave” (sorry), but really fortunate to realize this before turning 40. Good luck to him.

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  3. gareth says:

    Thanks guys. And yeah, I kinda agree with C. It’s less about bravery and more about realizing you are dying, slowly dying, in an office environment. It prompted me to take an action that I should probably have done a lot earlier.

    Anyway, regardless, something has broken loose in me. I’m back working in an office, for now, but I cannot go back to the same mindset, the same inertia.

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  4. Maximillion Miles says:

    Personally, I am just glad that you are doing well and will not be lacking for funds anytime soon. Going on your own is scary, and the road has many pitfalls, so don’t be ashamed of relying occasionally on other work and the security it brings. It’s not a black or white, full-time indy or give up kind of thing.

    Just don’t let the project die down so close to the finishing line. Work at it, one bit at a time, and publish it. It will be worth it. Not only for the money (which is nice, of course) but also for putting Rogue Moon on the map and for the experience. And then, apply all you’ve learned on your next game!

    Careers in artistic/entertainment areas usually take time and effort to grow. They nurture slowly, and depend a lot on you slowly making yourself known and improving your skills. Sometimes it may feel slow, or exhausting. And you will probably have to rely on another source of income at least for the first few years. There’s nothing wrong with that. But don’t give up. If you keep improving and your presence keeps growing, you’ll certainly manage to hit a breakthrough one day and finally be able to make games for a living, as you want.

    Best of luck, my friend.

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