Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Passion and the part-time indie: Why the candle gets burned at both ends

Posted by Rampant Coyote on August 13, 2014

When one is a part-time indie game developer, one comes to expect certain things. Like the inevitability that crunch mode at the Day Job will coincide with crunch mode for indie dev. If you are a serious, “professional” indie, this may also mean that you find yourself coming face-to-face with some very real deadline issues that can’t be easily dismissed.

That’s been my reality the last few weeks.

I haven’t pulled any all-nighters (yet), but I have pulled some nights with only 3 or 4 hours of sleep.  12-hour days at the day job followed by five or six hours doing the indie thing, with a break in-between only for dinner, a chance to remind my family that I’m still alive, and maybe 15 minutes of guitar practice. And of course, taking care of hygiene needs, and catching what sleep I can, because the following day won’t be much better than this one.

Waitaminute! Isn’t this supposed to be what going indie was supposed to get me away from? That whole psycho-work-week thing, long hours, no-sleep, no-time-for-life lifestyle that the major studios have been forcing their employees into for years?

Well, yes and no.

First of all – the day job is the day job. Crap happens. It’s the way of things. I’m still quite dependent on the steady paycheck from the day job, thankyouverymuch, and so there’s that. At least it’s not in the games biz.

Secondly – it’s a whole ‘nother ballgame when it’s your own game, and you have a stake in the results. I don’t harbor any illusions about Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath becoming any kind of mega-hit or anything.  But it is my baby. I take pride in it. I’m excited about it.  This is all intrinsic motivation… with some self-created (or at least signed-up-for) external deadlines to provide some extrinsic sticks to go with my intrinsic carrot.

I willingly sign myself up for this kind of crap, so I really can’t complain too much. And… let’s be honest… even if all it does is pay for my out-of-pocket expenses, it’s still a win to create something this cool, and have it go out there into the public, and to have it be fun and cool and enjoyed by others. There’s a level of satisfaction I obtain from that which is hard to beat. And it’s not just indie game devs – I’ve seen this in artists slaving away at web comics, in authors, and people with wild, weird hobbies that nobody seems to understand but themselves. We build things.

That’s really where the indie passion comes from. We create cool stuff, and share it with others. That’s what makes all this other crap totally worthwhile.

But in all this… I still have to give extra credit to my family for putting up with this. They have their own passions, their own things, and indie games development isn’t one of them. But they have always been incredibly supportive of this, with the understanding that I do have to make sure it doesn’t stay full-throttle all the time.

Filed Under: Indie Evangelism - Comments: 2 Comments to Read

  • Rampant Coyote's Wife said,

    As long as you still take out the trash, we’re cool.

  • Cuthalion said,

    Hooray for building things! And get some rest as soon as you can.