Making video games is about pouring your soul into something that you can share with the world in an interactive and entertaining way. It’s about making people smile and have some fun, but really it’s more than that. Like a good book, film, painting, or song, it’s about expressing yourself in a way that lets people experience your perspective. The goal might be to have them on the edge of their seat, to make them laugh, or cry, or to scare the crap out of them. It’s about sharing something about you without “you” being the object of focus. And, of course, it’s about giving people a means to unwind and have fun for a few moments, simply to fantasize and play a little. Game development, to me, is a beautiful endeavor.
Lately though, it has become more than just a hobby or even an obsession. It took a long time to finally admit to myself but I believe that I don’t just like making games, I need to make games. It’s woven into my innermost being. By refusing to embrace it fully I’ve only been denying myself and my potential, and I’ve been denying you the experiences that I could share with you. This is all I ever think about these days, literally. Everything I do, everyone I speak to, everything I see… it’s all through a lens of game development. During the day, when I’m at my graphic design job, I’m on auto pilot… eagerly awaiting breaks between customers so I can jot down a few game design notes or a chunk of code I’ve been constructing in my mind. It’s not that I don’t enjoy helping customers create business resources – I really do! It’s just that it’s clear that I’m meant for something else. I can’t sleep at night unless I keep a pen and note pad nearby for the same reason. I can hardly concentrate on anything else at all! I can’t turn my wandering imagination off and I don’t want to.
It seems like the only time I can really let it go is when I’m playing with my kids. Thank God for my kids! They are my primary source of encouragement and I love them dearly. They are the catalysts that force me to look within and do something about what I see. I want to give them the best “me” that I can create and to me that can only be the “me” that I dreamed of being when I was their age: the me that made games for a living. They have so much faith in me and look up to me with so much wonder that I can’t bear the thought of disappointing them or myself. I strongly desire to show them that I can realize my dreams so that they will know that they can realize their own dreams. I don’t know if I want that more or to prove that I can do it to myself more. All I know for sure is that I owe it to all of us to actualize my potential.
Passion leads only to frustration when circumstances prevent you actualizing your dreams. I can’t be satisfied with only being able to dedicate a few hours a day to game development anymore. After work and errands have been attended to, my kids have been cared for and tucked in for the night, and dishes have been done, my body and mind are already mostly drained.
Yet, still, I suck it up, brew some coffee or tea and do what I can. Usually that’s writing some code or creating content. Some nights it’s leveling up with various books and videos on the subject. I keep trying to find those nights when I can write blog posts like this one, but they rarely come.
My resources never seem like enough but I keep at it anyway. I don’t have the proper time, equipment or money, and Fresno is horrible for this kind of work. I can’t find anyone around here who’s serious about making games – I feel like I have to do this all myself. What I do have is inspiration, passion, talent, creativity and logic… and I’m gaining the skill through experience.
What really keeps me going is the thought that if I lay down one brick at a time I can eventually build a wall. But, while that may be true, I can’t help but wonder: how much greater a wall can I make if I could lay down more bricks at a time and how much faster could I build it? But is full-time development even a feasible possibility or is it just an impossible child’s dream? Sometimes it does seem impossible but I know deep down that there must be a way. I need there to be a way.
My kids’ needs come first, and always will. I don’t want to ever change that. But I can’t help but feel that my needs are being neglected. I know that it’d be too much of a risk to drop my day job and devote myself to making games all the time. And yet, more and more, that’s exactly what I’ve been feeling compelled to do. I feel like nothing else is going to make me as happy as pouring everything into making games. I desperately need to find a feasible way to turn my passion into a full-on career.
So what’s stopping me? I hate to say it, but the resource that’s holding me back the most is money. I hate money! I wish it didn’t exist. People spend their whole lives in pursuit of money and never follow their dreams. I think that’s very sad. Just as sad is the realization that the pursuit of one’s dream is often a literal impossibility without money. We must eat. We need shelter and clothes to wear. Bills must be paid. That’s why I work a day job.
*sigh* I don’t know. I guess I’m just feeling really frustrated with my life recently, knowing that I have so much unlocked potential and so much to give, yet being held back in so many ways. I’m thankful that I know what I’m supposed to do in life (so many have no direction at all) but it’s also aggravating to not have a practical way to get there. It feels almost impossible to actually make the dream real…almost. I haven’t given up and I never will, but often it does feel like trying to type with clinched fists and then forcing myself to stay positive about it.
Well, that’s enough personal babble for now. I guess I just needed to vent and get some of my thoughts sorted out. You can only race uphill for so long before you need to stop and catch your breath!
You know what? I bet I’m not the only one who feels something like this, so if anything I said here means anything to you… If you sympathize in any way or just want to let me know that you’re out there and care, I’d really love to hear from you! If you happen to be a game developer in the Fresno/Clovis area, I’d REALLY love to hear from you. Looking for fellow game developers out here is like trying to catch Bigfoot.