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I quit my job...

Posted by Demosthenes, 05 November 2013 · 1,161 views

...To make games full-time.

Yes, this is going to be one of those posts.

My name is Ricardo Moura, Once a Bird is made of myself and my cousin. I do the programming and "art" and he does the music and sound effects.

I quit my job at the end of July but only left it mid-September. It had been making me sick for years and seemed to be going nowhere. The job consisted of programming various pieces of the back-end of a stock-broker / bank, It was well paid but I very rarely did any interesting stuff.

If you have been following this journal, you're probably wondering at this point how can this guy quit his job when all his games so far were commercial failures. If you didn't, now you know all the games we made so far were commercial failures. Posted Image

The answer is, I've been working as a programmer for 12 years now and for about 5 years I've been doing games in my spare time. I consistently enjoyed making games more than programming "corporate" software. When you reach a certain point in life you realize that it's very easy to spend most of your waking hours working on stuff that you don't like (and doesn't really matter much to you) just so you can make a living (this realization probably comes earlier for most people).

Also, I realized I could survive some time with the money I saved. Posted Image

So, games. Fold was our latest and best-selling game, it was released in June for iPhone and sold 1016 copies so far. If you want to take a look, the app store link: https://itunes.apple.com/pt/app/fold/id645248522

Although it didn't sell much, Fold had very positive reviews, including a glowing review by tuaw.com: http://www.tuaw.com/2013/07/13/daily-iphone-app-fold-is-the-most-original-ios-puzzler-in-years/... Posted Image

In September I entered the Ludum Dare 48-hour compo alone and made Twitchy Thrones, a real-time strategy game parodying Game of Thrones. Here's a link to the post-mortem: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/2013/09/12/twitchy-thrones-post-mortem/.

For our first full-time game, we decided to remake Twitchy Thrones for iPhone. Right now I'm doing pixel art for it:

A map:

Posted Image

A knight's death animation:

Posted Image

Thanks for reading, let us know what you think! Art critiques in particular would be very welcome. :)




Best of luck!

Man, I love seeing this kind of stuff. So much that I logged into my account for the first time in 4 years...
 
A job can be so frustrating especially if you acclimate to a certain level of income. Making the jump from steady income to chaos is a brave move for some, foolish for others. I was the foolish, but I am thankful I was stupid enough to do it.
 
Now that we're over the lofty stuff, here's some (hopefully helpful) perspective...
 
Unless you have a supportive family, significant other, VC money or have a ton of money just sitting in an account, then consider your next few years the learning experience of a lifetime. No matter what you do, you will fall flat on your face and probably eat shit at first! Thats fine though. If you're resilient then you will bounce back stronger than ever. Nobody escapes this trial by fire. Not me, not you, not an entrepreneurial A-type with a Harvard MBA. Don't be scared though. Just be prepared to run into roadblocks or sinkholes and be prepared to bounce back.
 
I have seen a lot of people make this jump to doing something they love. Its exciting. Sometimes they make a lot of money and that's pretty cool. Even so, 90% of them will go back to a regular, soul-sucking, shitty job. Most of the time they end up at a WORSE job than the one they left. Screw that. Don't be this person!
 
The ones that do make it are OK at big picture things, but super anal and nitpicky when it comes to how they run their business. They know what they want, exactly how to get it, and go out and do it within a timely manner. I could write a book on this, but a bunch of people already did. I'd recommend reading some books that are completely unrelated to programming and mostly related to business:
 
* Good to Great
* The Outliers
* Great by Choice
* Poke the Box
 
Will you make it? I hope so.

Wow, a wild nes8bit appears! Thank you for the advice.

 

And thank you all for the encouragement! :)

Wow...I applaud the risk.  At the end of the day it is truly about following one hearts and dreams. At least you were smart about it and socked away a few pennies to give it a shot.  Worse case, you just have to go back to work and save again....but at least you will have continued the building of your skill-set if that happens.

Good luck man, all the best!

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