gbadev
Game Boy Advance homebrew development forum
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Do you guys have full time jobs outside of game development?

I work full time, and have been going to college part time, so it's difficult for me to make real progress on my work outside of weekends. Even those days can quickly clog up with non-GBA errands 😅

How do you find the time to work on your passion projects?

I try to schedule days after my job to sit down and do nothing but try to learn or create. It always feels like this should be my last priority, but it's honestly a great hobby that brings me a lot of joy.


-e9

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We saved up money and took this past year off, which allowed us to work on our business full time. Unfortunately we have to go back to work to pay the bills, but it's been a lot of fun this past year.

I work professionally as a web developer, and my partner works in marketing.

Working on a game on nights and weekends is really tough, I've tried that over the years, and never really had success with it... but everyone is different. For me, it's better to save up and take time off between jobs (and keep expenses low, so money lasts longer!).


- Sean aka velipso // Inky and the Alien Aquarium

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velipso wrote:

We saved up money and took this past year off, which allowed us to work on our business full time. Unfortunately we have to go back to work to pay the bills, but it's been a lot of fun this past year.

I work professionally as a web developer, and my partner works in marketing.

Working on a game on nights and weekends is really tough, I've tried that over the years, and never really had success with it... but everyone is different. For me, it's better to save up and take time off between jobs (and keep expenses low, so money lasts longer!).

Thank you for sharing your perspective, that helps. My wife tells me, "You have to want to more than you don't know how" so I keep on trying despite not knowing where the road will take me.

I will definitely take time off work for the next GBA Jam. Thankfully this one is small in scope, and my approach to GBA dev is novel enough that I'll be proud just to get my dog working and pettable on real hardware.


-e9

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I technically have a job with Something Nerdy Studios, but they haven't given me work to do in a year.

I also do volunteer work everyday.

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I've been working as a software developer for 7 years. The amount of time I dedicate to my hobbies fluctuates a lot. There have been years when I spent a lot of my free time writing code, and years when I've done basically nothing outside of work. I don't try to allocate any time for it because there is no way for me to actually stick to my plans.

With jams I try to make an effort, though. For the 2021 GBA jam I actually managed to work a lot more than I normally do and it wasn't a great idea, to be honest. I sacrificed time I normally dedicated to socialize, and I felt it after a few weeks. This is also why I avoid jams in general.

Nowadays I just take it easy. I may spend a few weeks working a lot on my projects when I have time, and then the new Pokemon games come out and I spend weeks playing and spending no time with my projects. Then I get bored and start coding again. This is the only way I have to not burn out. There is no point in forcing yourself to do something you are doing for fun.

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I've worked as a developer for over 20 years on an internal ERP platform. It's been a long and bumpy ride, and has certainly affected my wants to develop in my personal time.

It's not the sole reason though, my personal life has changed a lot in those 20 years too, and my son often wants me to play those stupid LEGO games with him. Though we had a great run of Castle Crashers and BattleBlock Theatre, which are highly amusing as a team.

He also has been asking me to make his game, where he draw some pictures on paper, and both he and I then adapted them into sprites on the computer. I should put more time into that to be honest

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SkyLyrac wrote:

With jams I try to make an effort, though. For the 2021 GBA jam I actually managed to work a lot more than I normally do and it wasn't a great idea, to be honest. I sacrificed time I normally dedicated to socialize, and I felt it after a few weeks. This is also why I avoid jams in general.

...There is no point in forcing yourself to do something you are doing for fun.

I'm glad you were able to stick around after that tough experience. That last sentence means a lot.

pmprog wrote:

It's not the sole reason though, my personal life has changed a lot in those 20 years too, and my son often wants me to play those stupid LEGO games with him. Though we had a great run of Castle Crashers and BattleBlock Theatre, which are highly amusing as a team.

He also has been asking me to make his game, where he draw some pictures on paper, and both he and I then adapted them into sprites on the computer. I should put more time into that to be honest

The LEGO games are fantastic at what they do, it's not their fault they don't have any depth! I do love the heck out of some Castle Crashers. I got hundreds of community awards on Steam for the guides I wrote for the game.

I love that project for you two, definitely consider sharing some original drawings with us, it'd be cool to see the transformation.


-e9

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SkyLyrac wrote:

There is no point in forcing yourself to do something you are doing for fun.

I used to agree, but not so much any more. I don't totally disagree, but there are times that you need to push through some less fun bits for the sake of the whole. Game Dev is a great example of this. There's the polish bit at the end which is hard and boring (most of the time), but if you can make your way through it, the end result of your game benefits greatly from it. At the end you'll be smiling a lot more.

Don't get me wrong, something that just is making you miserable or stressed, then yes, reevaluate what you're doing,

e9zyI39w3 wrote:

The LEGO games are fantastic at what they do, it's not their fault they don't have any depth!

I call them stupid, but in all fairness, they aren't bad. I actually quite liked the Lord of the Rings one. It's just they got a bit same-y and dragged out. I considered applying to TT Games, they have an office not too far from me.

I love that project for you two, definitely consider sharing some original drawings with us, it'd be cool to see the transformation.

I should make something of the game really, I'll probably build it for the GBA so I might post a devlog in the Showcase board

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I'm in the insanely lucky position to be making a GBA game for a living right now... But before getting to this point, I had some day jobs, and worked on the game on weekends.

First I sold my soul to work in mobile games (well, at what was initially a small & very creative studio) in the Netherlands, which is where I met Rik and we started making Goodboy in our spare time. As time went on, the nature of projects we were working on at the day job got worse, and we both grew tired of being milked for our creativity to make shallow ad machines.

But yeah, the trick to making progress on Goodboy during that time was to arrange to meet up with Rik every other weekend. I could never have done it by myself, but when you set aside time to jam it out with another person, you can really keep up the momentum that way.

After a couple of years I handed in my notice and moved back to the UK for a job in web development, just as the pandemic struck. Unlike the last job, this one was for a good cause. But it was infuriating in its own way because the processes were sluggish, the team was underqualified, and the technology stack was atrocious. PHP + Jira + being stuck in Teams meetings for hours every day is a really brain-rotting combo!

The stuff I did for the GBA community during that time (helping to set up GBA Jam 2021 and such) was basically done while procrastinating from work to keep myself sane. But this also had its toll, because my resulting focus & productivity issues (undiagnosed ADHD maybe?) meant I was basically "at my job" for every waking hour, as I'd feel obliged to catch up on all the work I didn't do during the day.

The silver lining was that I was able to negotiate Fridays off, which I dedicated to working on the game. If you ever have this opportunity and can afford to, freaking take it!

We kept plugging away at the game on Fridays & weekends for another year and a half, and eventually were able to get everything into gear for the Kickstarter campaign. And it took off, because we had the right headlines at the right time (20th anniversary of the GBA, first commercial GBA game in 13 years (yes, that's a stretch, we really meant something more specific than that)), and a physical publisher who could push the story through their own channels, and we reached out to retro gaming YouTubers, and spread it on Twitter as far as we could. But on top of all that, we had a great trailer and great demo to back it up.

So that's the story of how I tanked 4 years of psychic damage to break free and go full time indie, with a lot of luck too. But it's not over, we still have to finish the full game... And do the Switch port. And we have no idea how successful the final thing will be, we can only hope it's enough to sustain us so we can keep doing this!

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e9zyI39w3 wrote:

I'm glad you were able to stick around after that tough experience. That last sentence means a lot.

You make it seem like it was an awful experience. 😅 It wasn't super bad, but it really made me take a long break afterwards (and by the time the break would have been over the covid restrictions ended, so I could go back to normal).

pmprog wrote:

SkyLyrac wrote:

There is no point in forcing yourself to do something you are doing for fun.

I used to agree, but not so much any more. I don't totally disagree, but there are times that you need to push through some less fun bits for the sake of the whole. Game Dev is a great example of this. There's the polish bit at the end which is hard and boring (most of the time), but if you can make your way through it, the end result of your game benefits greatly from it. At the end you'll be smiling a lot more.

Don't get me wrong, something that just is making you miserable or stressed, then yes, reevaluate what you're doing,

Oh, for sure, but even the less fun parts shouldn't be too bad. I even enjoyed the parts about creating the build system of my games, converting assets, etc. But I don't think I'd work on such a big project for a game jam again, I would try to keep it simple so that I can work on it when I actually feel like it.

exelotl wrote:

[...]

Wow, what a story! 😃