First of all, go listen to this. It’s only five minutes, you’ve got five minutes. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be browsing Facebook, would you? EXACTLY. Besides, it’s a Saturday.
That is one goddamn sexy bit of music.
Shame I can’t dance, but eh.
Moving on: Now that I’ve got you in an agreeing mood, go read this (old) blogpost by indie game-dev, Tom Francis. No need to read the whole thing. Maybe just go as far as where he mentions that he was able to quit his job. Actually, don’t, because I kinda want to maintain your attention to this post (on the note of retaining your attention, go Google “recursion” some time!).
The main point, and the main thing of that Francis’ blog post that makes me happy, is that after Gunpoint was available for pre-order for a mere one-hundred-and-sixty hours (yes, hours, not days) he was able to make an amount that he describes as enabling him to “become a game developer”. Now, do note that Gunpoint was made over the period of three years as a weekend project, so I suppose he means that at that point, he was able to recoup external dev costs (the artists and musicians, given he did the design/code/writing himself) and it became financially viable to become a game dev as a main job.
The point, though, that makes me really really really happy, is how after another two-hundred-and-twenty hours (nine-and-a-bit days) he had made around six times that goal in terms of revenue/sales, assuming he’s using a linear scale for those graphs (and admittedly, that is a big assumption, given that there aren’t any numbers).
Now, of course, I am making assumptions here. I’m assuming that he doesn’t define that base level of financial sustainability as the amount of money one requires to buy a packet of Mi goreng per day and live under a bridge. I’m assuming that he defines that level as, at worst, slightly under England’s minimum hourly wage for the same hours as he was working at PC Gamer as a journalist, and hence the worst-case assumption is that said level was a small drop in terms of his weekly pay check.
I’m fully aware that Francis’ success is an oddity, an anomaly, and is hardly the normal situation or repeatable by even the vast majority of people out there. He had an excellent idea for a mechanic (Gunpoint’s distinctive jumping system) and an incredible amount of luck (in that mainstream gaming journalism jumped at mid-stage dev videos of Gunpoint, though I’m not sure how much of that was because of luck and how much was because he was employed at PC Gamer). Point is, though, that it’s heartening to see that it’s possible to go from having an idea without having much dev experience to actually producing a very, very successful piece.
It’s heartening, because it’s something I’d like to do. Maybe not the “successful” bit, because that’s not exactly something you can plan, but getting into game dev as an amateur (in terms of the actual definition of the word) would be a good idea, I think. Not just because it could lead to doing it as an income source, but also because I see stuff in video games, ideas, themes, and mechanics, that I’d like to present a spin on, or explore a little. (Another advantage is that I’ll be writing code more frequently – for a guy doing Computer Science, I really don’t write enough code.)
Of course, like I said, it’ll be an amateur thing for now. I’m not dropping out of Uni for this, because academic stuff is still awesome, and if I had a job I wouldn’t be quitting it for this. It’ll be exclusively a thing on-the-side. But watch this space, because interesting things might happen.
(Sidenote: I decided to delete “Eric”. I doubt that I’ll re-write it at some point, but you never know. (‘Cept we totes do. It’ll never come back.))