The TL;DR; Version of this post should be read: “WTF Time, you serious?!”
Basically since I made a decision to leave the former employer I am working 16h / day on starting up my new Freelance Unity Contracting Service for IndieDevs (More about the business HERE )
I have no time for anything whatsoever. Which is not a good thing. Even now I write this post while preparing a test build for one of my clients and that takes a while so I’m kinda stuck on not-coding. The good part is that I work for myself and my family building independent life. If I screw up then I will be the only person I could blame.
One may ask: Why going Freelance ? You don’t have that much experience as a developer. 10 months? That’s nothing.
Answer is simple: Because there is a demand for my services and I work harder than the average 9 to 5 fellow.
My experience in 3 former companies where I either worked in a development or was closely looking at the production process proved that time on the market means nothing. I’ve seen companies that are 10+ years in business which lack the very basic management knowledge. Companies that have no game designers and still make games! Companies that do not invest in employees or preproduction and they still manage to deliver! Companies who even though have plenty of money from the investor have absolutely no clue what they are doing.
That proves the Michał Marcinkowski thesis from PGA2016 : We are equally incompetent.
Of course there is a bunch of well established studios with a great reputation with absolutely 0% employee friction.
They are simply great: they make awesome games. They care about their teams and their employees never leave. Why would they? The problem is I know only maybe 5 of such companies and they either are not in Warsaw or I don’t have a required skill set in order to get their attention. For now, at least.
I know my place. Dunning Kruger syndrome is long gone.
I could either again start another junior position and risk losing my nerves and be dependent to some weird decisions of someone whose only advantage was that he started earlier, for a wage which is below any industry standards or take a chance that fate gave me and go Freelance.
My Fiancée was getting nervous – we’re planning to get married. Fortunately she has a stable job not in gamedev but being almost 36 years old and working 3rd year below my market value just to chase that rabbit would be very selfish of me.
Just to give you a perspective: Mc Donald’s pays more and gives better work conditions than some of the gamedev studios in Poland.
I could always go look for a senior IT support role again. With 10 years of experience in IT I can find a job in IT industry practically with no effort.
However I got a call – name it … a Karma blessing. One small team of developers had issues with their programmers who failed to deliver. I took a chance. In two weeks I delivered what they couldn’t have delivered for nearly 3 months. We all got paid. Then I delivered the second milestone and it got accepted again, payment is on it’s way. Then I got a outsource offer from another company working on some minor tweaks… and the contracts keep coming and coming. I am in that point I must refuse to take any more work as I have no time for private live and sometimes sleep.
What about the future?
Hard to tell. Life tought me one thing: Never be sure of anything, go with a flow and adapt. I’m good at adapting.
I might have my personal targets or plans but in this particular industry you simply cannot be sure of anything. For now I have that Futurust game to be finished and published and those minor freelance tasks give me a great chance to learn different coding styles as I must add or change existing code which is a great experience. I might want to consider to form my own team at some point and contact a publisher for development funds… or I might consider joining one of those 5 renown studios to get access to their know-how and be part of something greater. Life will show.
For now I stay humble and keep up the hard work.