Archive for January, 2012
It’s kind of personal and I wrote this mainly for myself, but I think there might be lessons for others too.
About a year ago, when my granny passed away, I met a lot of people at the funeral that I haven’t met for a long time. I was sitting in the ceremony and looked around. I saw many faces that “suddenly” seemed so very old. This being the funeral and all, I got a really strong feeling about how short life is. I felt that I’m playing it too safe and being miserable for it. At that very same evening, I asked my mother if she would help me start a company.
I didn’t really have any viable products or ideas. I had one game in the App Store making pennies and I was making another. I figured that the act for doing the paperwork and starting a REAL company would push me forward. I had a full-time dev job which I kept and was really open to my employer about my new endeavors.
I noticed Unity had an Asset Store for selling extensions and assets. I realized I had developed this spline editor for my new game that I could sell. Why not just put it out there for $50 and my company gets it’s first real product. It sold 60 units in first five days. I couldn’t breathe. It was a bit too awesome.
Soon I got very upset going to my 9-5 job and my morale went down. I couldn’t get anything done and work just piled up. My product kept selling well and I was very close to rage quitting and going for the “indie dream” out of frustration. Although it should have been happy times, I was actually miserable. I couldn’t sleep. I already had an e-mail for resignation written, but something kept me from sending it.
Finally I just went to my boss and confessed that my mind is on my own projects and I can’t really focus and feel very stressed. I said that maybe if I worked part-time (50%) for half the salary. My boss wasn’t too excited, but I think he saw that if he wouldn’t agree, I would just brainfart. I worked half-time for couple of months and got some time to relax. My mood got much better. My boss asked if I could work more and first I didn’t go for it. He kept asking every week and finally I caved in. Luckily I was sane enough to ask for a raise and got it. Now I’m working about 70% and almost making the same money I was making full-time in the same job earlier.
My first product (RageSpline) has now sold almost 600 units and grossed $36k. Unity takes it’s 30% cut so I netted about $25k in 8 months. I’ve kept improving the product every month and I’m also going to release another shortly (RagePixel). I think I could live with this income if I quit my job and obviously would have more time to make additional high-risk products like games, but I feel it’s not the right thing to do right now. Many people would make the jump, but I have gut feeling against it.
I’m now in a very good position mentally and financially. Everything I make from my company is basically extra and I’m saving it for later. I might go full-time indie someday, but currently I don’t feel the urge anymore. My dayjob is sometimes still boring compared to my own projects, but I don’t feel that bad going there anymore. I’m slightly busy and don’t always have the energy to do stuff outside my work, but I feel like I’m in a more balanced situation. The future seems very bright and I feel like anything is possible now. I just don’t feel like rushing it anymore.
Here is a link to the game: Blunk
My last post was many sunsets ago, but such is life.
On Christmas, I had one week off from work, and noticed the Unity 3.5 and their Flash contest. First I thought that I don’t want to “waste” my Christmas for coding, but soon came to my senses. I think sitting in front of a computer screen is a proper, noble and legal way to spend the holidays. My Mrs. didn’t agree, though.
I saw a triple opportunity in the contest:
- Get to the top10 and win something
- Take the new RagePixel toolset through it’s first real project
- Free pre-launch visibility for the product
My biggest risks were:
- RagePixel is still too rough for production use
- Top10 is crowded by quality pre-made games by massive teams
- My wife is killing me for ruining the Christmas
Now that the game is done, I couldn’t be happier. RagePixel, despite it’s rough edges, delivered way better than I expected:
- Making assets was fun and fast. Finished 5 days early!
- I have a realistic shot into the top10
- She lets me live. For now.