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Success is the same as pulling a rubber band back as far as it will stretch. Will the stress break the band? Or will the stress launch the band forward and hit its target?
I shot my rubber band forward like a veteran player getting the lay on the same night of his prowl but never developing a lasting, loving relationship. Riding the hedonistic treadmill over and over for temporary instant satisfaction without connection will eventually gnaw at the soul of the most non-committal libertine.
My rubber band went somewhere. I shot it, and it definitely went…in a direction. My last game Sentry Knight Tactics was a shot in the dark. A hot, heavy passion-fueled ejaculate shot on the chest of an uncaring stranger and wasted when it was meant to grow up and be loved and nurtured into further development.
Sentry Knight Tactics was me playing darts but I didn’t even see the dart board. I just wanted to throw some fucking darts. I was good at throwing darts in the flash game era. I was even pretty competent at throwing darts for hire for other people’s games. I had a knack for throwing darts and for some reason I was making decent money throwing them. My belief and patterns of triumph had me convinced I could continue to aimlessly throw darts and succeed. My ego swelled in the wake of my easily-obtained success.
Having a big ego is the same as being the biggest fish in a little pond. You only can conceive what little you know. When the big fish self-image one possesses gets thrown into the ocean, he realizes that there are bigger fish, different fish, and a brutal, huge world with a strangely different food chain to navigate. The magnitude of the reality of this new hierarchy comes crashing into the conscious. Web games were the little pond; the industry is the ocean.
Anyway, I made a game. The score was average; the game made back about what it cost to make. The money kept me alive for a year. But I also had no goal when I was making the game; I had no point B to travel to from my current location at point A. There was nothing concrete I wanted to achieve other than arriving at achievement in abstract fashion. Without pre-defined parameters of success, its impossible to define if one achieved anything. Failure and success are contingent on having a framework to work in.
I somehow managed to convince several other human beings along on my blind voyage across stormy waters. The ship didn’t crash but it was a rocky journey. Knowing what I know now, I should never have captained that ship nor hired a crew to put in it… but I’m glad I did. I realized after the fact what goes into succeeding and developed a better compass for navigating toward success.
Success parameters are really simple: Is the audience happy and having fun? Do you make more money than it cost to produce a game? Does your team feel compensated and appreciated? The relationship needs to be mutually beneficial; happy team and happy players and happy wallet are all connected. It seems obvious now, but it really wasn’t back when I started SKT. I broke even financially, got a mediocre score and the stress of the journey burnt out my last programmer partner. These metrics indicate now that I didn’t succeed; I simply survived like I have been. But thats not good enough anymore since I’ve come to this realization, so I consider my endeavor a failure. However, information helping me arrive at this conclusion is invaluable and has given me the mental framework I need to go forward with development. So that also makes it highly valuable.
I didn’t care about anybody but me before, but that egocentric view has fallen away. I was leading on pure arrogance and selfish preservation. It was a blind lead the blind scenario. I know better what it takes to be a leader now. The only way to lead is to jump in and lead. You can never be prepared for it; you can never be taught how to lead - only to simply become a leader.
TL;DR - Failing is the absolute best way to know where success lies. Don’t be afraid to fall down and take a blow to the ego; it absolutely MUST happen.
Speaking of going forward, here’s a peak at some concepts so far of my new game: