Games are art.
Art is created by artists.
Artists are people.
People have lives outside of their work.
Our personal lives can be messy.
Parts of our lives are reflected in our art.
I've been thinking a lot about life lately. My personal life has been going through some pretty radical changes in the last few months. When it comes to tech, I often say, "The only constant is change" followed by "if you aren't changing, you're not growing, and if you're not growing, you're dying. Complacency kills!". I think this also applies to life in general. When life changes, it has second order impacts on other things.
1) I started a contract position doing research and development in VR for a very large and well known social media company. It is now my 'day job' and my indie game projects are a side job I do when I have time. I am realizing that the day job takes up a LOT of my time when I factor in any overtime work and the time to commute between my work and home. The steady paycheck is nice though and it helps me worry less about money in the short term.
2) I ended my long term relationship with my girlfriend recently. It's sad and it sort of turns my world upside down, but it was time: We're quite different people and our lives were moving in very different directions. I won't get into it out of respect for her privacy.
3) I moved closer to work in order to reduce my commute to 15 minutes. It took me 3 hours to pack everything I owned and 30 minutes to unpack it all. It's a bit disappointing that my net worth doesn't amount to much, but the materialism of possessions has never held a lot of importance to me.
4) I found out last week that my mom has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and doesn't have much time left to live, so I took emergency leave from work and flew out to Europe to say goodbye. I'll never see her again. How do you carry on when the person who has looked over you, cared about you, worried about you, protected you, given you life, dies and is gone forever? It's heart breaking, but death in the family is inevitable and unavoidable. I suppose its better for children to bury their parents than for parents to bury their children, and I can be thankful to have had the opportunity to say goodbye.
5) I've started writing a fiction book about a princess and a dragon.
With many of these life changes, distractions and tragedies, I am wondering if I still work in game development? It's certainly not a daily activity as it has been for the last few years. Do I care? The scary answer is that I'm not sure. I can totally understand why other game developers would say that they're "taking a break for personal reasons". My day job is tangentially related to the game industry and I'm pretty happy with it. I've also been hearing a lot about how abusive and exploitative game studios are to their employees and I'm not really sure I'd want to work directly for most studios. My sister and 14 other people were recently laid off from a mid sized game company in the VR industry -- a company I also interviewed at in September. I dodged a bullet there. The game industry as a whole makes me a bit wary. The hours are long, projects frequently are mismanaged and go into crunch time, the pay is low, some players are toxic, send death threats and abuse to devs, released game success seems to be based on luck which creates a lot of uncertainty... why would you want to be on the receiving end for any of this? Is the 'entertainment' element really so compelling that it would override all the other industry problems?
Anyways, I'm going to be writing a novel and working on my games on the side. They're my creative outlet. I don't know what that makes me but the definition probably doesn't really matter.