Well, my wife and I have talked about it…and it doesn’t seem like I can stay in professional game development. For one thing, we don’t want to move again so soon (it’s been less than a year since we left Austin). And for the other…we just can’t put up with the uncertainty of the industry any more.
So I made a video to say goodbye.
Don’t worry, this blog is not going defunct. In fact, I’ll have more time to devote to it than ever!
that sucks. it’s a shame your obvious passion can’t be more fulfilling financially. maybe some of these companies should lay off a few execs instead of god knows how many devs. good luck in any case.
Damn. And I totally understand where you are coming from.
Although from your description of things, I feel like there were structural deficiencies in the way Stardock ran things. They shouldn’t have been crunching as much as it sounds like they did (i.e. I suspect the upfront planning was compromised to get the project greenlit)
Let me share my story as I tried to leave game dev a couple years ago.
After I lost my game programming job in Dallas in 2007, I tried to make the jump to another industry. It was not easy, and in the end I was unsuccessful – but not for a lack of trying. Most of the programming jobs in ‘regular’ industry wanted skills that I had not developed as a gamedev (C#, SQL, etc), or I was vastly overqualified (and they would ask me why I wanted to take a 50% pay cut) . The best ray of hope I saw was the financial industry – they liked pulling guys from the game industry because they liked the skill sets (optimization, low level, etc). Maybe you should look for jobs in that sector also? But there was pretty stiff competition (40+ applicants / opening )for the jobs I applied for. In the end I went to Austin and another game dev job, and I need to put food on the table for my kids. That lasted a year and I was laid off about 3 months before you were cut at Aspyr.
I couldn’t find any game dev jobs in Texas in late 2008, (except for Aspyr – see below), so I expanded my search nationally. I wound up taking a job out of state – which was brutal for personal reasons – but the offer was one I couldn’t pass up. I turned down the job offer I got from Aspyr – probably a good thing in retrospect as that was 2 months before the big layoffs – though I didn’t like saying no to Glenda.
I grew up in the Detroit area, and was visiting friends there just a couple weeks ago. That area is hurting. Good luck on landing a government job there. I fear it may be a situation with few jobs and many applicants for the jobs you want to land. I’m not trying to be a nay-sayer, but the given the local economy a *lot* of other people probably have the same hopes of finding a safe government job at a time when the revenue base for the government has been contracting.
If something pans out for you there, and I really hope it does, you’ll be able to pursue the life of a serious indie dev – mild mannered by day – super hero game dev by night. And you’ll get to do the game dev your way, which counts for a lot, and provides a lot of personal satisfaction.
This may sound crazy (or maybe crazy to your wife), but would you consider a ‘Plan B’ of applying at the game companies you listed in your video as being ‘stable’? (Blizzard, etc) To see if you could get a back up offer in the event that you don’t land a job outside the game industry? I took a look at your resume online just now, (and some of your video blogs) and I think you could make it in at some of those places. I know you feel pretty burned by the game industry right now, but if you’re like me, you’ll do what you have to if means the difference of keeping your family safe.
In any event, I’m not trying to tell you what to do. I just am hoping that you land on your feet and find yourself in a saner place.
sorry to hear that anthony. i’ve enjoyed your blog and will continue to. your 40-hour game posts have gotten me on track with some of my own projects.
I commend you for making the (in my opinion, anyway) correct choice of your family.
It’s such a hard thing to not feel you can pursue the career that you feel is your number one choice. Believe it or not, I originally wanted to do Art for a living, not Computer Sciences. It was the one area in school where I felt I excelled. However, everyone around me (whilst being incredibly enthusiastic and supportive of my practice of art) told me there were no good (or stable) jobs available, particularly in the UK and that I should do computer sciences instead. In some ways, I always regret going into Computer Sciences instead of Art, as it’s where I feel my heart was, really. I love games, but still had this idea that I could make it on my own doing freelance art.
A lot of friends I know (primarily in the States) found it a particularly hard industry, often saturated, difficult returns and bad clients.
The same can be said of the Games industry, I feel. As the saying goes, “It’s more fun playing games than making them”. I think that refers not to the programming of them, but the workload, the atmosphere, the pressure of publishers, the relative job insecurity etc.
You are right about the family (but wrong about the age, at 39 you are still YOUNG imo!). Having no partner or children, I guess I would be prepared for that kind of risk, but I think Ernest and Spiff are right, you did the right thing of putting the family first. Who knows what the situation would be in a year’s time or so. Keep optimistic, keep blogging and wishing you all the best.
That sucks! I hope you get more time for game development now that you’re leaving the industry than when you had to work in the industry, kind of ironic. I guess the only upside is now you can do what you want!