Are you a Game Developer or are you a Game Developer?

Whenever I want to get inspired, I think back to the earliest days of Electronic Arts, making their games look like album covers and prominently showing pictures of the developers referred to as 'artists' like rock stars.  Where have all my heroes gone.
Some have passed away.  Some are still in the business at a variety of high profile positions that make me wonder if their earlier work was just more inspiring to me than it was to them.  I think back of those days of one person making something great, maybe with a few other people.  I think back to the days when my cousin and I formed ACES HIGH and made games for the Atari ST.  We released them before even graduating high school.  Everytime I think of those days something inside me has burned with desire.

Now my cousin has gone off into the corporate world of computer programming with no hint of returning since 1993. I have had my series of ups and downs in the computer game development world.  From being employed at a variety of studios to owning my own successful Gameboy Advance development company, Game Titan.

My friends in the industry seem to have success.  I see trouble on the way for them as well.  The industry as a whole is shifting in business models at a rate that the landscape keeps immeasurably changing.  One thing is certain, the business model of the large corporate way of doing things with Designers, Art Directors, Lead Assistant Directors, Studio heads walking around blah, blahing about Gnat Charts and posting silly Scrum post-it notes all over the office seem to be becoming less and less.

For all of the developers I know in the industry, I really am starting to feel somewhat sorry for them.  What the heck is a 'Facial Feature Animator' going to do?   Why was that even a job?!

But forget about them, what about myself?  Those people never really came to rally around my company when it was slow going.  I have never needed a handout from any of my previous colleagues and the one time I did reach out to my old coworkers at Midway it proved disastrous.

I have always made it through the industry by creating new contacts based on my merits, not about what company I kept in the past.

So where am I now?

I don't think many people have or can understand the route that I am taking this time in my journey.  Not even my friends who have struck outward to become 'independent studios' will be able to relate to what I am doing currently.

I feel more than ever that I am back where I started... Which for me has been the end goal ever since I got a corporate job making games.  I have never wanted to be removed from the hands on tasks of game development!  And that seems to be the only way up in corporate gaming.  I have always wanted to craft games!  It is what I was born to do.

Currently I find myself in somewhat familiar territory.  The rejection letters from major development studios keep the unemployment checks flowing but not for much longer.  However familiar that is, that is not the familiar territory I am talking about.  The ability to craft a game, by myself and then to see an avenue to release it and perhaps even make money on it isn't even the familiar territory.

It is my formula for making fun, that is what I am talking about.

I am having a BLAST making my game!  An absolute thrill ride as I complete section after section of code to make it work, see it working, porting it to one of many devices, seeing the look of surprise in my girlfriend's eyes while I then pace the room thinking up feature and idea for it over and over.  I can actually visualize how to make it happen, not just pie in the sky "wouldn't it be cool if" talk... Bursting with excitement.  As a child I dreamed of computers this powerful and languages this brilliant to do the things I am doing now.  It feels like I am once again that teenager, creating magic from my fingertips in the world that I have always dreamed of would one day exist.

This is the love for the craft I live for.  This is the journey I so happily adore to travel.  The game is already a personal success of creative fulfillment for me.  I will be sad to see it complete, yet so very proud.

If you feel like I am being one sighted and short changing you in my belief that you just can not relate, then please, by all means comment and tell me otherwise!

This old logo meant something totally different than the one today.  Seeing it still inspires me.

on that... 

To those in the industry of making games I ask you this...  Are you a game developer?  or are you a game developer?  What's the difference?   

World English Dictionary
painter 1  (ˈpeɪntə) 
— n
1.a person who paints surfaces as a trade artist who paints pictures


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