Feel free to skip this blog entry if you prefer – with the upcoming Kickstarter consuming my time, and in the absence of much dev progress because of that, it’s going to be a much more personal entry than usual. I want to talk about the process of becoming a full-time indie developer.
So far, the experience has been equal parts exhilarating and terrifying.
For a long time I’ve wanted, very badly, with a kind of sick longing that lives in my stomach, to make writing stories my career. Games are a way of delivering a story that I find really interesting, that I want to explore – and that I feel has a lot of untapped potential, too.
Pixel Trickery doesn’t feel like a proper company – it’s just me – but if it is, then that company’s ethos is that there should be more indie games taking all the imagination and invention I see applied to mechanics and art, and applying that to how they tell their stories as well. I’m not suggesting there isn’t good writing out there – there certainly is, in abundance – but it’s a slightly rarer beast.
So now I’m doing it – I’m making a game with writing and a story, as a job! I’m living the dream! That should be fantastic, right?
Well, yes. But it has also turned out to be very, very scary. Tack on a couple more ‘veries’ there, depending on what mood I’m in and what day it is. I’m learning a lot of things very quickly.
The importance of marketing, which I’d understood only in an academic way, has become hugely and terrifyingly tangible. The difficulty of doing it well has been even more of a surprise.
And it turns out that working from home is almost as difficult as developing the game in conjunction with a job – for very different reasons. Of course, before I had stability and certainty – terrible as my job was, and precarious as it frequently seemed, I at least knew that something was coming in every month to keep me going.
Now I don’t have that, which makes me determined to work as hard as possible for as long as possible. But I can’t do that, either. I need to remember to go outside, to socialize, to spend time with family and friends, to read books. I want to make a game. And it’s an ambitious game for one person to make. But I don’t want to be consumed by the process of making it – and I don’t want to burn out halfway through.
Two months ago it seemed very easy to say ‘I’ll do a Kickstarter,’ but now the Kickstarter looms ahead like an iceberg, waiting for my nervous little Titanic to stray into its waters. I won’t be asking for a huge amount of money. My goal is £4000, enough to pay some of my living costs and the game’s soundtrack.
Let’s hit that iceberg and burst through to the other side, shall we?
Because I’m not a fan of the alternative.
My Twitter exists here. I also have a Mailing List now, if you’re interested on being updated about game progress; just click the link at the top of the page and sign yourself up.