What gets me down these days is a dissonance between the future I wish for me and my family and my perceived ability to get it. Not that I have a bad life : I've got a girlfriend I love deeply and two great kids, I spend a lot of time with my family, I like the work I do, I have plenty of friends and I live in a cozy, well lighted apartment.
This is all very good but despite my best efforts, I can't make my indie game development business take off the ground.
Today I read Leigh Alexander's article "All the women I know in video games are tired" and I must say I can really really relate to the validation part. OK, I'm a man, so the video game business mustn't be that hard on me? I guess. Thing is I still need validation, like any other human being, on the things I do. I've made the choice of not burning myself up by working constant overtime in the game industry. I've made the choice to have kids and take big part in raising them and spend time with them. I do not want a full time job, that's my choice, and part-time work in the game industry is basically non-existent.
For these reasons I became an indie developer. I've been developing games for the web for almost ten years (part time). Some of my games made money but most of my work was disappointing on the lucrative side. Working part-time also meant most collaboration gigs I saw were not possible. Most people in this field expect you to work full time or more. This is why I'm now doing Sprite Sequence, just so I don't spend months and years on a single project and become crazy. I must have done things wrong because even after all these years, my name is unknown, I don't have the slightest fan base, my income is very close to zero and I'm worrying about my financial future.
In the future I'd like for my family we can actually afford to buy a small house in the countryside and pursue our creative passions but right now this seems so far away. There is a raging storm in my head. A storm full of the things I should do, things I think could get me followers, or money, things that could have value for other people. Maybe this is just my ego freaking out. Yes, I'm looking for validation. I'd like to know that my work means something for someone. So I guess it is my ego talking. But in the end, it's me freaking out about my financial future. And it tires me deeply. I'm tired and I go on. I don't spend that day in bed (because I can't). Most developers don't see themselves doing anything else. I do sometimes see myself doing something else, like opening my Tai-Chi school, but those things ain't much easier or lucrative.
Why do I have to be attracted by all these income less activity?
It's a few days later now and I add this : I won't quit. I'll persist and eventually figure it out. Because video games is still such a beautiful medium with many untapped potential. I hope I can dig out a bit of this potential in my lifetime. Also, I found it hard to share this piece with you, exposing what may look like a weakness. No “man” wants to look weak. We've been educated that way.