Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Happy 2015!

It is 4:15am, exactly 2 weeks into the New Year. I've been sort of passing in and out of consciousness on my couch for the past couple of hours; finally dragged myself up, should turn to bed, but what the hell. I'll throw out a little blog entry.

Lots of my mind (when isn't there?) I had some haunting dreams (when don't I?) and plenty of unfinished business to attend to (when don't.. ok, ok, I'll quit it!) It'sa litle sobering to look at that date. 1/14/15. It's been 6 years now since my career changed drastically, and with that the path of my life. So much happened that first year of the new path. It was an exciting and tumultuous time. "If i knew then what know now" well I'd sure be much richer for it :) But I like to think I am somewhat prescient then, as now as well, that I can realize there are so many great things to be done in this period with the opportunities and tools I have been given, and have earned. Don't think I haven't tried...

It's been 5 years now since a legit new game was brought out under my label. That's always somewhat harrowing to consider in whatever capacity, but it feels empowering to consider how hard I have been working with my partners to reach another release milestone. It feels quite good to start this new year with the knowledge that Blast Rover has finally been completed, at least the proper game itself has; still working on the behind-the-scenes stuff, and that's nearing completion (and still so much work that no one ever talks about, even in these indie circles - but more on that shortly). I'm still regularly working many late hours building and planning with my other projects as well. Yes they are all coming along at a snail's pace, but they are coming, and that is all that really matters.

The independent development world is so, so daunting. It's been elastic for years, and each turn around the sun yields many strange stories, of success and sorrows, drama, ups and downs, shots in the dark and shattered dreams and everything in between. It's an emotional journey. I was inspired to write this blog post after reading some neogaf forum discussion about "Minecraft" creator Notch's success, sell-out, retirement, and resulting lifestyle extravagance (buying a $70 Million Beverly Hills mansion, partying with gaming and entertainment celebrities). Yeah here's a dude who came from a not dissimilar place (absolute obscurity in the indie gaming sphere), put something out that captivated and changed the world, and is now on the other side. We other devs like to look at this stuff and play the "what if?" game. We look modestly at our own work and wonder what it's purpose is - what does it mean for us, what could/should it do for us, what the reality will be.

Reality is bitch. It really is. Living in Hollywood and working on the digital creative end of the entertainment industry, in what is still a very young aspect of it, I've sure seen and heard many crazy things. I've seen some friends go from very quaint means to being millionaires. I regularly chew the fat with such people on a day-to-day basis; maybe most of them aren't quite "millionaires" but they are doing quite well for themselves in such an important, prosperous, and prestigious place in the world as Los Angeles. And of course I look at myself and compare what I have got, what I am, what I have earned, what I have squandered, what I have paid, what remains. I'm 40 in a couple of weeks... I have a pretty pimp bachelor pad the likes of which almost no one I've ever met/will meet gets to enjoy.. I work for a decent salary at a great day job surrounded by awesome people, in a relatively stable capacity, on the bleeding edge of tech and I've got myself worked into a good situation with it. My head is always exploding with ideas and I am surrounded by the means with which to actually execute on those that I cherry pick (even if sometimes it takes a long time to execute!) I have good people and good health and no shortage of things to do.

On the other hand I am usually pretty skint, every couple of weeks I pick through my change jar to see if I have enough money to get some fast food as I have too many bills always keeping me down. The years of "fighting the indie fight," sometimes aimlessly, have taken their toll (along with my insistence on not relinquishing the pimp bachelor pad, which if relinquished would make it much easier to get on top of my bills, but dammit I have one really nice thing and won't let it go until absolutely necessary!). My spirit is a bit dented, my mental state is quite exhausted in some ways. I've kinda got busted some time way back, not to the point where it'll ever stop me, but it certainly colors my outlook on the world.

Ah, things you write in the wee hours. Anyway now it's 15 years since I have made my life here in LA, away from my birthplace, my family and all the close friends I grew up with during the formative years. And my close friendships have changed a few times over, quite dramatically actually, since I have been out here (from age 25 to 40) in so many regards.


Pushing every day as a Unity designer for augmented reality during the daylight hours, and a planner/producer/artist/schemer for games and promotions during the hours when it is dark.  All the years have been interesting, and this one will be no different. Carry on.

And watch this space - as usual.