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The more I work on 'real' games (and it's only been a little over a month so far, I admit), the more it makes me want to get back to working on my own stuff as well. Don't get me wrong, I love the work I'm doing. But like it or not, we all know The Industry is a slow moving monolith that doesn't offer immense scope for creativity, especially not for programmers. After all, even small houses like ours need to get funding somehow, and that tends to filter down from the bigger players.

Besides, I'd love to put the new skills I've acquired into practice in some of my own projects which never got completed. When you see 'professional' code, you realise 2 things, seemingly opposed but yet perfectly intertwined:
1) Some of it is really elegant. This educates you on how to achieve the same effect yourself.
2) Some of it is really ugly, but works just fine. This gives people like me encouragement to stop worrying about perfect program structure and to get the game done, whatever it takes.

Anyway, in the near future we're likely to find that independent games can really take off over digital distribution channels, and although the amount of money spent on such games is going to be smaller, the slice of that pie which goes to the developer is an order of magnitude higher. Working on smaller games with an emphasis on creativity and design rather than AAA polish would let you create several in the time it would take for a normal game, giving you more of an opportunity to hone your craft, refine your re-usable code and assets, and make a name for yourself with published works. This is definitely something I'd like to look at in the future.
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