Not dead, just resting

Hey, I remembered the password for this blog!

First! MacGuffin’s Curse is on sale, for 50% off, for first time in what’s got to be over a year. I try not to have the game on sale too often, but when Steam told me about the Lunar New Year sale it seemed like a pretty good fit for a werewolf game.

Yes, it’s been a while since I posted here; we’re getting on 3 years now. You’re probably expecting I’m retired and lying on a beach somewhere soaking up all those sweet Jolly Rover and MacGuffin’s Curse royalties. Well, not quite (at all). Let’s catch up.

In early 2013, before my last blog post, I parted ways with the Coles and Hero-U. I sincerely wish the Coles the best of luck. I can’t wait to play Hero-U when it comes out.

After that I spent most of 2013 and 2014 contracting, saving for the next game, which I hoped to fund myself. I worked on some cool stuff, like porting Ron Gilbert’s Scurvy Scallywags from iOS to Android, and porting PlayFirst’s iOS engine to Android, which opened up a lot of back catalogue porting work there. I was working on an engine migration for the latest Diner Dash game when I read that Amazon was making games, and they were hiring a bunch of really awesome people. I went to their jobs page and found they were looking for a Senior Gameplay Engineer, I applied and was hired in about three weeks. This was in May 2014, but I didn’t get to the Seattle office (yes America, I am in you!) until October, because my wife was pregnant with our third and we wanted him to be born in Australia.

Amazon was offering big company stability with the opportunity to work on an original game. I had visions of what it might have been like to get hired on early at LucasArts back in the 80s. It sounded like Amazon really was committed to the experiment of putting awesome people together to see what they would produce. I’m learning a lot at Amazon, there are some scary talented people here who’ve worked on awesome titles (Thief, Half Life, Portal, Dune 2). I’m like a kid in a game dev candy store.

The reason I went indie in the first place was that I didn’t have the ability in Melbourne, Australia to get decent paid work on original games, and many studios weren’t that stable (about two years after I left Krome Melbourne to go indie they closed). My game credits until starting Brawsome were all licensed titles, which was pretty fun at first. Emerald City Confidential with Dave Gilbert and PlayFirst was the first original game I worked on before Jolly Rover, nearly 6 years after joining the industry.

I should never have been indie, really. I had built a life that required a greater income than being indie could support, wife, mortgage, kids, etc. The kind of life where maybe not making money for a few years wasn’t an option. But in spite of reality I had a blind drive to work on something original I could care about. In the 6 years I was “Brawsome” I estimate about 18 months of that was spent working on indie stuff, and the rest was spent making ends meet with contracting. I only ever had one contiguous 3 month period where I was working on Jolly Rover full time (bliss!), the rest was contracting 20-40 hours a week.

That’s not to say I won’t do it again. There is nothing as exhilarating as full creative freedom, and ownership of what you’re building. But when I do, I would really like to come at it from a more stable financial position, and when all my kids sleep through the night, where I can enjoy giving the time I would really like to spend making it work creatively and financially.

About Andrew

I do all the boring stuff that's gotta be done so I get to do fun stuff sometimes.
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2 Responses to Not dead, just resting

  1. Yuri says:

    Nice story, thanks!
    But what are you working at at Amazon? Will we see something like ‘Jolly Rover’ soon? And preferrably on PC, not Androids :)

    • Andrew says:

      While we won’t be seeing Jolly Rover from Amazon that’s not to say that I’m still not keenly interested in narrative in games, and humour in particular. I can’t comment on what I’m working on, but I can say these are elements I strive to bring to every game I work on.