It's easy to get depressed during the winter season but, for once, I'm feeling pretty pumped about entering the new year. I've got some projects I'm banging away on and not feeling overly stressed about money. Hopefully things will snowball into GREAT things in 2016.
I just read a brutal article about game development that hit way close to home by pointing out some of the mentalities I have about succeeding at being a game developer that have contributed to my stagnation. Read it at the risk of recognizing yourself in the "negative" attributes column:
I have a dream though, and I'm just gonna name names and get it out there:
I want to have my own game development studio.
I think I know enough about the industry to be able to successfully lead a small team of talented people to success. It would have to be small at first and payment to team members would largely be in revenue sharing of our first launches, but once we had our first semi-hit, I think we could easily support ourselves.
Key components of this team:
1. Performance Programmer: Up to date on the latest tech (open FL, Starling, Unity, Haxe) - Intense attention/skill/love for nerdy things like optimization, mobile performance, game engines
2. Back-end Programmer: Database, API, multi-player specialist - Not intimidated with supporting 1,000 simultaneous-user multi-player game... (this position is not necessary for start up, but would need to come in once things are financially stable)
3. Game Artist(s): Strong visual style, good animator, quirky/unique personality and vision
4. Marketing Guru: Somebody that nerds out over analytics, setting up booths at conventions, shmoozing, and social media
Requirement for everyone is to be aware of the industry and trends of what's finding success (and why) and full of ideas for new games.
For #1, I want Antony Lavelle, or Joey Betz, or Newgrounds Mike, or Afro-Ninja (but most of these guys are already gainfully employed with their own stuff) I would also probably fill in here when needed for the first few projects.
For #2, I'd take my old business partner, or PsychoGoldfish, or Tyler Glaiel (also all doing their own stuff)
For #3, I fit the bill pretty well, but I'd really like Luis to be that guy and maybe work together with me on art/animation/menus etc. Poxpower would be good to have on board too for extra retro touches. Kupaman would also be a nice addition here. Mindchamber would be fun to have on board in this slot too. NG Tyler's stuff is looking awesome lately. Oh, and Wiesi...
For #4, I have no idea really... these guys are tough to find and tough to trust, I might have to fill that role for the 1st few years.
So what's stopping me? Mostly fear of failure, some is just not having the right combo of availability of the right people, some is not having the finances to tempt some of the more successful guys.
What bothers me is that, most of the guys mentioned above (and including myself), are all struggling (or at least only mildly successful)... mostly independently as freelancers, some are beholden to a list of regular sponsors/publishers. Most of them are hoping to make the next big hit, but don't have the resources to pump it out and promote it properly. If only we could join forces into a slightly bigger, but still surgical, team. A team needs that perfect storm of abilities and availability to reach a tipping point and break out of the endless loop of scratching up a bare subsistence... some kind of key change or power boost to break out of orbit on our individual planets.
That said, I've also witnessed quite a few "teams" rise up from our ranks and then fizzle and crash. What made them fail?
Anyway, that was something I had to get off my chest and reveal to the sunlight of the world for scrutiny. Tell me your own game devolpment secrets, aspirations, and fears!