How've you all been? I know it's been a REALLY long time since I've posted on this account. I figured I'd give a little update on life seeming I have the time.
In the real-world department, I am no longer attending college for game development. It's a justified drop out in my opinion. I had a bad case of the flu for almost three weeks prior to reading week, and I was using YouTube tutorials to catch up on course content while I was sick. I attended a few classes the week prior to reading week despite still feeling under the weather, and realized that I was somehow two to three weeks ahead in course content just from watching free tutorials online. I figured if I can learn more at a faster pace for free rather than paying $9k annually to work at a turtle's pace, then I may as well teach myself at a pace I'm more comfortable with while no longer accumulating student loan debt. Also, it was becoming increasingly more frustrating for me to have to put my personal projects on the back burner in order to complete assignments for school. I don't want to have my games collect dust for another year while I earn a diploma that isn't entirely necessary to find work in the industry. Finally, seeming getting one's foot in the door is heavily based on a fleshed out portfolio, I figured it would be better to have more unique portfolio pieces rather than using the same assignments that 150 or so students from my school alone will be using in a year's time to try and compete for the same jobs.
In short, learning faster online for free, wanting to work on my own games, and wanting a portfolio that's not filled with assignments that everyone else is working on were my deciding factors to withdraw from the program.
Am I lacking constrictive feedback for my personal projects by not being in the presence of teachers and peers? I personally think not. There are many online resources (here being one of them) where unbiased individuals will gladly rip apart a piece of work if I ask them to. I actually think this feedback is better than a bias that may occur from friends made in class or a teacher I have developed a positive relationship with. I personally feel like I am set to continue doing game dev on my own. I have my own ideas and have an extra 21 hours weekly to work with now that I am no longer attending classes.
In other real-world news, I am no longer working at Starbucks. Leaving the company after four and a half years was a bittersweet change, but it has been a pleasant one so far. Although I will not disclose the name or location of my new job, I am happy to say that it is more pay for what feels like less work. I no longer have to wake up at 3am to commute for 5am shifts. Being scheduled for 40 hours means I'm actually working 40 hours rather than having labour cut (mind you, there were plenty of times I voluntarily left early at Starbucks to prevent burn out), so it's not necessary to do math and figure out how much pay I'm actually getting versus what I was initially scheduled to do. I am still working a full time job, but it is not as tiring at Starbucks was becoming. I have the time and energy to reconnect on social media sites such as Deviantart. More importantly, my sleep patterns are slowly readjusting in a way where I am more alert during my time at home. I am therefore more motivated to clean regularly and even partake in hobbies without feeling exhausted or as if I was wasting my time somehow.
In the creative department, I am working on a game idea that seems to be popular among a few different groups of friends. I may be putting Rainbow Onion on the back burner for now, as I think this idea might be easier to sell/market in the long run. Without giving away too many details, it is a quirky, stylized version of a zombie shoot 'em up game. It will be a side scroller for many reasons. I want it to be a game I can develop on my own, and a side scroller is basic enough that I can pull this off. I don't want to hire a team if I can't realistically afford a team, so being able to independently develop the game is important to me. Also, I want to master working in 2D before I dive too deeply into 3D. No, this won't be pixel art or 8-bit style, but it will be 2D. If there's one thing I'd say may have been too fast about college, it would have to be that we touched very little on 2D gaming before all our assignments being done in 3D. I get it's an "industry standard", but I don't like to follow standards or a set of rules when it comes to creative projects. 2D gaming or the nostalgic looking games may be dying as a trend, but that does not mean I can't try to hang on to what's left of that trend and get one game out in the meantime.
I'd like to give a projected date of completion for this game, but whenever I do so online I never seem to be able to keep to my deadlines. What I will say is that I am trying my hardest to get all my art assets completed for this game by the first week of January, so the new year can focus primarily on inputting my assets into Unity and getting all the programming done. Realistically if I can manage 21 hours of work weekly to compensate for not being in school, I *should* be able to finish the game by late February or early March. IF I can keep on that work schedule, I can ideally get marketing stuff done by my birthday. If my budget calls for it, I can get my copyright and trademark stuff done by my birthday as well. I may start crowdfunding of some sort by mid-January once I have some stuff to show off.
It is a goal of mine to have a game completed and released by the end of 2017....which brings me to my New Year's resolution.
Time, money, and creative management.
The money management thing is kind of....iffy, I guess? My finances go up and down like a yo-yo. One month I'm in overdraft, the next month I have an extra $500 to set aside. One month I have no credit card debt, the next I'm owing thousands of dollars. It all depends on the health of my cats, or how much the boyfriend can contribute when he's around. Seeming I'm working a job now where I won't get written up for working overtime (and they even warned there might be some overtime once in a while), and there doesn't appear to be any of the aforementioned cutting of labour from one week to the next, I feel it might be easier to manage money and re-establish my savings. I also have to be tight with my budgeting because I will be paying back student loans starting in May.
Time management I am trying to make a habit now, but the transition in jobs and leaving school is so new to me that I'm still trying to catch up on sleep. Also, the ever so slight change in routine over the Christmas season (family plans, plans with friends who want to reconnect even if I haven't spoken to them in years which only ever seems to happen in December, and other random seasonal plans) is enough to make this challenging at the moment. Nonetheless, I am still trying to enforce positive time management habits now so it won't be a challenge come January. Ideally I have the 40 hour work week, 20 hours of game dev weekly, 3-4 days of boyfriend time weekly (awake or asleep, as long as it's boyfriend time), and an average of six hours sleep nightly (because I only sleep longer than that if I'm completely exhausted). Household chores will also be a little bit daily as opposed to once every two or three days as it has been lately. It's better than the once a week cleaning I used to do, but I can still make this more efficient and therefore less draining moving forward.
Creative management I sort of mentioned already, but I want to sink in 20ish hours weekly to game development specifically. I'm seeing this as "hobby time" seeming it's my own personal projects instead of homework. Associating my game dev time as hobby time is a positive and motivating force for me to keep at it, too. I do want to try and have a 3-4 month turnaround for basic games in the new year, with one game being 100% complete by the end of 2017 (hopefully sooner if I can stick to my 20 hours of creative time each week). I also kind of need to finish the rest of my Mandiness Entertainment logo....the M I use for my display pic here on DA is pretty and all, but I need the actual words and stuff.
In all due honesty, my end goal for the upcoming year is to manage myself in a way where I can make game development my full time job. By the start of 2018 I'd like to be stable enough that I can work part time in a "regular" job (or not have to work a day job at all), and I can rely on residual income from a game or two, on top of other forms of monetization from marketing/publicity. YouTube and Patreon come to mind, once I can get those set up. It's time for me to break free from the monotony I've been dealing with for the last few years. Leaving school and Starbucks are a start in the right direction.
What does this all mean for my presence on DA?
Well, more activity on DA is likely.
I am honestly in a bit of a debate with myself at the moment as to whether or not I consolidate all my DA accounts and just use this one main account again, or if I keep my alt accounts moving forward. I'll make a decision come January as to how I'm managing my DA accounts moving forward. I like the idea that each of my games gets their own profile, but I also like the idea that everything is on my main account for easy access (and also so I don't have to play favourites if I'm able to budget for a core account).
My art will be in relation to my game dev assets. Whatever I can upload to generate hype and keep my games spoiler free I will upload. I am still weary about my ideas being stolen, but I know I need an online presence in order to generate public interest for my games, so I need to get past that paranoia and just upload when I need to upload. Also, I have always been a little self conscious about being on DA when others are around me. Seeming my boyfriend is with me for more than half a week each week, it has limited my online time just because of some mental block I have that my art can only be seen by those that don't know me. My online personality is the same as my real world personality, so I really don't know what I feel I have to hide, but this is something else I know I need to get over, so being on DA will happen more frequently now that I am figuring out how to combat the unnecessary self conscious reactions.
Don't expect any super regular activity prior to January, mind you. I'll try my best, but I really want to focus more on creating/completing art before I regularly visit here again.
I think that's all I have to update you guys with at the moment. It is a lot of rambling, but I have been gone for a while, so I figured I'd just say what I've been up to.
I'll see you all around very soon!
Watching: Jim Gaffigan
Playing: Pokemon Sun
Drinking: Hot chocolate