On the road of game development

I’ve decided to change the subtitle of this page.

It used to be called “On the road to game development” and I’ve started it while still being a wannabe gamedev in transition.

Since I’m already “on the other side” meaning – I earn money from making games full time for more than 1 year – the current name “On the road of game development” is more accurate.

Since I already got you here, let me try to make a brief summary of my route:

I started my transition in year 2014.

I was working as a senior IT help desk for nearly 8 years at that time. I had a descent, stable  money income but I was deeply unhappy.  33 year old overweight fart, talking about games in the environment full of professional “suits” could not be treated seriously. Dont get me wrong – IT team was full of geeks so we got along very well. However, I felt something was missing in my life.

In 2013 I found this course called GameDev School. They were just starting up with a pioneer game development tutoring service. I felt like it was something I could use to get away from my current position.  The course was fine. Not the type of “serious” IT courses I used to know. You could probably find a better place to get the practical knowledge about making games. However they managed to succeed in one thing: They sold me a dream that I could earn money from what I enjoy the most – games.

That was just a first step but it made me move my ass.   After that, all I have now is thanks to my persistance (or creative obsession).

I quit my corporate IT job, took the closest to gamedev job I could find with my skillset, and started learning, learning, learning like hell.

Two years, 10 game jams and 1 released mobile game later (postmortems are here and here) I got hired in one of the Warsaw companies making mobile games.

I worked there for like maybe 6 months for a salary which was way below any industry standard. Literally, people working in Polish supermarkets earned more than me, who worked there as a junior Unity coder.

However… I was happy. I knew bigger money would eventually come if I continued to learn and absorb new knowledge. I got a great life lesson there as well – I got unexpectedly fired.

Two weeks before my exit talk everything was fine. Owner even talked about long term plans and giving me more reponsibilities… then came RKO from out of nowhere.

Why? I know why but this is not a place to write about such pitty things. I wish them luck. In fact they made me a huge favour.

You see… I’m a survivour. I never give up. This stubbornness sometimes causes me major problems but in the long term I’ve learnt that this is my super power. I always prevail.

2 days later I found another game dev job.

This happened thanks to unbelievably awesome game dev community. When I called out for help the feedback was amazing. I felt like I was surrounded by brothers and sisters in arms, who had found themselves in similar situation at least once as well.

Later I found out yet another thing: even though I was a noob in some gamedev areas, I was way ahead in other things. It turned out that my work ethic, years of crunch mode, working in a publishing / marketing department gave me some skills many did not have.

I had been contacted by a industry friend of mine who asked me if I could help one team in need to deliever their project milestones. I thought – ok, I’ll take it. I sure could use some extra money for a planned wedding. Little did I know that yet again fate wanted to give me another push towards my goal. After 2 months in (at that time) my current job things got very ugly. You can read more about it HERE

As I mentioned I had a backup plan. I’ve decided to go full time freelance as a Unity Freelance Coder. I had a company registered already, a contract signed with a publisher and what is more important: No Non Compete Agreement signed. Meaning – I could do more than one commercial project in the same time.

Soon it started to pay off.

Since I could do more projects due to my high work ethic, dedication and productivity, I could offer a more competitive hour rate. That gave me a steady flow of incomming customers. In the same time I managed to secure one more long term contract and now I’m finally able to provide income not only for me and my family but also hire more people.

Dont get me wrong.

This is not easy what I’m doing. It requires me to be constantly working on improving my skills, thinking and planning 6 months of contracts in advance. Sometimes at the cost my private life. I must say I’m very lucky to be with my Justyna. The most patient and lovable person I know. I wouldn’t have went that far in such a short time without her.

That’s about it. It’s almost 9 PM. I’m actually writing this post waiting for the game build to finish being compiled.

Yes, game development is not a 9 to 5 type of job.

However, I regret nothing. All my mistakes and failures made me stronger. Despite of all odds, despite everything not-so-friendly people told me or told about me –  I’m here, doing my own thing, getting paid for that and I’m not going anywhere else.

Deal with it 🙂

 

1 Comment

  1. Great to see you again here.
    We both share the similar story of leaving IT. And in fact, not only we. There are more of us. Nice to be part of this passionate, “pathological” family ;p

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