Saturday, 6 May 2017, 09:31 - Starcat

The coming half of 2017

It’s 2017, what have I been doing the past years?
Well, there hasn’t been as much time for creative work next to my day-job as web application developer.
I spend the little spare time I have writing fiction, which I love doing. Time is short, but there is no way I could be without my creative work.
However being a game developer most of my life, I miss the excitement that comes from new game projects.
My experience in the game industry taught me, I don’t enjoy the commercial side of making games. What I do love is making games to tell a story.

Stories were what lead me to making games in the first place, but stories in games are always an abstraction of the written word. Making a game requires much more resources than writing a short story or fleshing out an idea for a novel.
Things are going great for me as a writer. A bunch of my short stories have been published in the past, in February this year another was published. In summer and autumn two more will be published and available as print and ebook.
Most importantly I found a publisher for my steampunk-detective stories that revolve around Robert Fuchs– investigator of the supernatural.
That alone makes this a very exciting time for me.

I’ve been writing steampunk stories for a while. My ultimately abandoned adventure game project ‘Eerievale’ was set in the same world. The project was just too big at the time and I didn’t have the experience I have now.
When I sit down to plot a story it’s not so different to writing for a game. Sometimes the only thing that keeps me from turning a story into a game, is my limited resources.
As indie developer, I don’t have a team and making a game all on my own just takes so much time. I need months to tell a story in a game, writing that same story for print only takes days or weeks at best.
Yet I can’t deny that I miss making games, too.

With the adventure games released in recent months, I always wonder what games I could make of my stories if I just had the time. They won’t be big commercial games, but they would be what I wanted to play myself as adventure gamer.
Whenever I have an idea for such a project, I write it down. Eventually some ideas grow into actual concepts that are just waiting to be made.
I talked to friends and it’s become clear to me that while my writing is progressing, I need to invest more time into my other creative work.
There is no point in waiting and hoping to one day find the time to do what I always wanted.
I need to find a way to do it anyway just as I do with writing.

My plan for the coming half of 2017 is to do exactly that. Find more time for writing and my game ideas.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 19:20 - Starcat

It’s been so long

Only a month after my last post, I quit my game development job to look for something new that was more suited to my place in life.
Something with less overtime. Work that I didn’t take home to worry about it. In general less abuse to my health, which often comes with the territory.

It wasn’t easy to leave the old team. They eventually became my friends, but I saw things had to change. This wasn’t working for anybody on the long run. Others saw that too and left as well.

I love the creative side of game development, I also enjoy the technical aspects. Most of all I enjoy writing.
During my time making games which encompasses half my lifetime I learned that I really enjoy creating something and I enjoy problem solving.
However in a commercial environment creativity is seldom appreciated and doesn’t get the focus it requires. Technology rarely serves the end user the way it should.
Usually there is no time to do groundbreaking or great work. You can never really do your best or grow in your craft.
You’re running in your treadmill. You never get ahead. Ultimately you work until you break.
You work on games you wouldn’t buy or play yourself. Your boss has different ideas of what’s important.

Thinking back to the time of my game design study, I never understood people who decided to just “make a game”.
To me an idea always came first, not the decision to make a game.
Just as I don’t decide to write a novel without having an idea what it should be about.
When you think about that idea first you don’t stop brainstorming until everybody is thrilled and can’t wait to make that idea a reality.
If that’s not the case you better keep thinking. If that idea is not at the core of the project, how should each puzzle piece support and enrich that idea?

Oh well, I didn’t regret my decision to step away from making commercial games. In fact I didn’t make any games the last year. Instead I decided to focus on my work as a writer, which is very exciting and rewarding.

Since September I make a living working as a web developer and programmer for a leading telematics company. It’s a job well suited to my current place in life.
Sometimes I miss the old friends. I think about the good times and wish them all the best.