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Agee

Career path for my *unique* situation?

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Hello, I've always had interest in programming and game design. I have taught myself C++ and C#. Recently, I've decided it's time to pursue some sort of avenue, in this line of business, but not sure where to start. First, my unique situation is that -- I suffer enormously from social anxiety, and 'agoraphobia' (fear of public places). I've also been diagnosed with Schizophrenia. This factor will likely be an unwanted barrier, when it comes to office jobs and working with teams. The only option I can think of, is INDIE game development, basically work for myself and sell games over the Web, to a nich market. Probably won't get me rich but perhaps enough effort will make me a living? I just want to know-- Is this a reasonable path? What my chances of failure/success? Can you think of a better path for someone like me? Any advice you can give me, will be deeply appreciated.

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Agee asked:
1. Is this a reasonable path?
2. What my chances of failure/success?
3. Can you think of a better path for someone like me?

1. Don't know if you have what it takes to go the lone wolf game development path or not. You have to be a businessman, a salesman, an artist, a designer, AND a programmer (not only a programmer). You have much to study and learn.
2. Nobody can tell you that better than your psychiatrist or psychologist, whichever the case may be.
3. No. Maybe your doctor can help you consider options. Good luck.

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Thanks Tom, you've given me a cold glass of reality, and it stings.
Anyone else have advice to share? I've already asked my Doctors and they refered me, to a job placement service, which has been no help as of yet. My passion really dwells in Game Development. I've made small games, just for fun; I'd certainly love developing for money if possible.

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If game development turns out to not be the right thing for you, have you considered doing freelance programming or consulting work ? It's pretty hard to come by competent and reliable freelancers/contractors. There are definitely ways to make a living from it, if you have the talent and some good contacts.

You won't need to work in an office, and actual physical meetings have been replaced by phone/video conferencing anyway. You can also work at your own pace, defining your own schedule, which can be an advantage if you have a medical condition.

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I'm not a psychologist and I don't know your unique situation so ignore me if i'm way off base but...

If you are agoraphobic and schizophrenic, presumably your psych and therapist are giving you drugs and therapy to help you interact with the world in a normal manner right?

If so, maybe you shouldn't be avoiding working with others, maybe it'd be a good opportunity to grow for you (:

Might be something to ask your doctors about.

But, btw, it's very hard to get into game development. If you are interested in getting a career doing it, you may have to go to school and get a degree or get experience in business programming first and do a lot of hobby game dev on the side.

If you are going to try working for yourself - good luck! it's very hard to be self employed!

A few markets you might be interested in though if you really want to go the self employed route:
#1 - ipod / itouch development (C++, objective C and OpenGL)
#2 - XNA / C# xbox live arcade development (C# / Directx)
#3 - casual flash games like those at armorgames and kongregate (action script)

stuff like that is probably your best bet, but it'd probably take a long time before you start making enough money to sustain yourself - unless you get really lucky!

Also, if you can prove yourself, you might be able to do remote contract work, have you considered that at all? The problem there is you have to be good enough that a company will want to pay for you, so you have to be a lot better than average usually (:

Anyhow, hope this info helps!

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Yann reminded me of something haha...

A friend of mine has ulcerative collitus (basically really bad intestinal problems) so had to find some jobs he could do from his house.

He found a job where he just had to watch some servers to make sure they stayed up, and also watch an email address in case any customers emailed in and he would be the first point of contact.

Anyhow, it didn't pay THAT much (i think maybe 20k?), but since he spent most of his time just sitting there watching just in case something happened, there literally would be no reason he couldn't have had 10 of those jobs.

Might be a good way to game the system :P

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I'm neither a Psychologist nor a Psychiatrist but I also suffer from mentally illness. I get social phobia and bi-polar depression. Because of something in my mind I find it hard to work on programming so a career of that sort is out for me. Therefore I look for work in other jobs.

Does your illness affect your work? For example my depression can sap my motivation so badly that my performance suffers. If you work for yourself you have to rely on yourself. It doesn't matter if I work for myself or for others if I can't do the work there is no pay. Fortunately I have a good family support network and a good social care system in my country.

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I have no expertise in these subjects so bare that in mind when you read this.

For starters you need to try and sort some of your problems (social anxiety/ agrophobia) as these will likely be a problem with whatever you do. Thats probably quite difficult, you don't have to cure them but at least improve them. Schitzopherenia well I don't have a clue so no comment. I joined a martial arts club many years ago, I was really shy, didn't really like the whole social thing/people but now I feel great and full of confidence.

Anyway, if you have no education in programming/games dev then your going to have to either get it or make up for it with experience. Work on simple, achievable projects, that will give you demo work and hopefully something you could try and sell. I think the indie thing is worth a shot, if it works out then fantastic, if it doens't then you'll still have what you made to show a prospective employer.

Check some of the threads/guides around here for tips on indie development, some are off putting in that you might not relate to the type of person they describe but remember, people change and so can you.

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Quote:
Original post by Agee
First, my unique situation is that -- I suffer enormously from social anxiety, and 'agoraphobia' (fear of public places). I've also been diagnosed with Schizophrenia. This factor will likely be an unwanted barrier, when it comes to office jobs and working with teams.


I would reassure you that offices generally aren't the most social places, despite all the talk about teamwork. I spend 95% of my time at my desk with nobody paying any particular attention to me. With a bit of effort I suspect you could manage.

This is a somewhat direct/rude question so feel free not to answer - but is the problem that you are afraid to work in an office, or that you don't think anyone would take you?

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I'd say the contracting/freelancing thing sounds better. That way you'll avoid the multi-talent-requirement Sloper mentioned. And you don't have to limit yourself to working on games if you're short on cash.

EDIT: Contrary to my sceptical assumptions, your situation actually was unique! :P

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