Hi,

As has been said before there really is such a thing as too much of a good thing. When you are young, something is brand new to you, it is easy to get caught up in the moment. It seams easy to believe you will always feel the enthusiasm, excitement, and absolute pleasure you feel when first working on something you enjoy. I know all too well what it feels like when taking those first steps towards something you always wanted to do, and I know what it feels like after it burns out like an old candle. It is often hard to believe that something like that can happen, but it does if you aren't careful.


When I was 19 I began attending Wright State University in Dayton Ohio. At that time I knew I really wanted to become a programmer. As you might have guessed my main reason was I wanted to create accessible games I could play, but I was happy enough to write ordinary software too. The first time I wrote a simple program in C++ I was over the moon. It wasn't long after that I wrote a few simple text based games in C++, and I was crazy about programming. I was willing and ready to program anything and everything I could. So what happened?

Well, after college it didn't take me long to discover the kind of programming that really pays you money is pretty boring and dull stuff like databases to keep track of employee records, programs to generate reports, a web site for some church/company, whatever. All and all it can be fairly dull and ordinary work. Certainly not the glorious and exciting profession I once believed it to be.

So in 2004 I began seriously writing accessible games. That was exciting, interesting at first, and I enjoyed it for a while. However, after I took over the games from Alchemy, I began to lose the excitement in the thing. There are several reasons why I'm not quite as excited as I once was about writing accessible games.

First, as with any kind of job where you deal with the public there is lots of stress involved. People have complained they want their money back because the game is taking too long to create. People complain they don't like this or that about the game. People continuously request feature x they feel should be in the game and currently isn't. Some people complain the game costs too much. Needless to say practically from the first day I took over the games I've had to put up with a lot of needless wining, nagging, and complaining that I didn't want or ask for.

Second, the pay down right sucks. I don't write these games precisely for money, mainly for the enjoyment of it, but it doesn't hurt to pay the developer something for his time and money spent working on said game. I have sounds and music to pay for. I have to cover operating expenses such as a web server, web site, whatever. When you deduct operating expenses as well as taxes I don't end up with a whole heck of a lot for my time. If that wasn't bad enough there is always a few jerks out there who will happily hack and crack said game and pass it around to their fellow hacker buddies. They might as well walk up to me and flip me the bird for the amount of respect they show me.

Finally, I've given up a lot of my personal time to see that Mysteries of the Ancients and Raceway get done in something like a timely manner. Working on those games day in and day out instead of watching tv, playing my guitar, going swimming with the family, etc is a major drain on me emotionally and physically. No matter how much I loved programming before I'm beginning to go just a bit crazy sitting in front of a computer 24/7 without getting involved with some outside interests that aren't computer related. I still love computers, still like programming, but I don't want to be chained to it like a prisoner with a ball and chain. As soon as Mysteries of the Ancients is done I'm going to take some serious time away from the computer to indulge myself in non-computer enjoyments. I need time away from the computer to recharge my batteries, to think about new projects, and to hopefully regain some of the excitement and energy i had for writing accessible games to begin with.


The moral of this story is simply this. Chasing the perfect job is like chasing the perfect girl. The guy who dreams of getting a woman that looks like Pamela Anderson will in all likelihood end up with some average ordinary looking chick who lives around town. It is easy to get burned out, lose sight of your excitement and enthusiasm, because real life isn't like your dreams.

The bright eyed programmer who dreamed of creating the next best selling video game probably will in likelihood find a job managing some companies web site, MySQL database, or creating report writing programs. If he writes games on the side that is alright, but only the best of the best get hired to mainstream game companies. That reality has a way of shooting your dreams right in the foot, and it is wise to keep that in mind before letting your dreams get carried away.

Cheers!



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