- In case you missed it, my most recent dev update video. I'll have another one up soon.
- I'll be releasing a tiny game within the next 24 hours, as a demonstration of Playscii's capabilities. Update: it's out, get it on itch.io.
- I now have a shot at being fully patron-funded, but I'd need to grow my supporter base - see below for how you can help.
- If I can do that, I can do both shorter and longer term projects and not have to put all my eggs in the One 18-Month Game On Steam basket, which would mean more games and cool stuff from me, and more generally a sustainable (read: happier) long term independent career. If I can't, I need to look at other options.
Longer version! My rent is going down, for very positive reasons I'd rather not share publicly. This fundamentally changes some of my financial calculations, which to be honest have been weighing very heavily on me lately. I'm not out of money yet, but at my previous burn rate I would have needed to reconsider my current plans within the next few months, whereas lower rent pushes my "time to panic" out further, and puts being purely patron-funded within reach.
To do this though, I'd need to substantially increase how much I'm getting from Patreon - see the new goals on my main page. I'm now getting some government money for food, reapplying for cheaper health insurance, and shaving down my other expenses as much as possible. (To be clear, I wasn't exactly living a life of luxury before.)
I feel like have a shot at reaching this next level but I need to get the word out. My current theory is that you - my current patreon supporters - are probably mostly people who already knew about me and my work when I started this campaign last December. The big question is, how many more people don't currently know of me but would like what I'm doing enough to support me? That's what you can help with: spread the word to anyone you think might be interested in what I'm doing, help me promote the games I hope to release in the coming months and raise my profile.
So about that game I'm releasing...
In light of the financial future-mulling I described above, I decided I'd take a week-long break from my big project and make a very small game. In general this is something I've wanted to do - several solo devs I respect do this as their primary Patreon thing - but didn't feel I could justify the time it would take away from said big project. I realized this was foolish, especially if the side project was very short, so tomorrow I'll release Endless Ladder Climbing 2, a sequel to a game I made on a 5-hour airplane flight 5 years ago today.
I wanted to prove to myself I could ship a game in a short time, and I wanted to give Playscii a test setting other than my larger project - something like a game jam setting where you're working intensely with simple goals.
ELC2 took about a week, but more than half that was improving Playscii to the point where it had good support for a side view game with gravity, multiple screens, etc. The next release of playscii, 0.7.0, should be solid for game jam usage! It's been a great experience, and while ELC2's value is mainly humor and education, it's paved the way for more work of a scope that really excites me. I have other projects I'd like to make with Playscii ranging from 1 week to 1 month, and if things pan out I can see myself working on those in between longer stints on the larger project.
If things don't pan out... well, I want to be honest, I will have to scramble, quite possibly take a full-time job, and I'll only get to spend a fraction of my time on my work. I am definitely not going to take another game studio job - after even Double Fine broke my heart, I don't really trust any place anymore. Please do not try to persuade me on this point.
I am definitely open to contract work if it's short term and the people are great, like the gig I did for a few weeks earlier this year, but the pay has to be good and the job great or else I'd just be treading water. There are only a few gigs like this and scores of bad ones; for designers or designer-programmers there's lots of "help fix our broken project", and lots of work that someone 15 years younger than me could do much cheaper. I feel like I've done a good job so far of being pragmatic and keeping an eye out for opportunities, but I can also spot what kinds of compromises would be slippery slopes back into the kind of career I've paid dearly to escape.
Your support so far has inspired me so much, I'm deeply grateful. Every day I wake up, sit down at my computer to work and think about how I'm able to do so because of nice people on the internet.
Thank you for reading... I hope to have many more exciting things for you soon! Once ELC2 is up on itch.io I'll make a post here.