So in July of 2015, I relocated to Las Vegas for an awesome career opportunity - Las Vegas has small commute times compared to Southern California, tech jobs abundant, and 'all you can eat' buffets for miles, and cheaper living expenses. (Don't get me started on studio apartment prices in Los Angeles.) And it's close enough where I can take a 2.5-3 hour trip back to Southern California to meet my team. On some weekends, I would beat my friend to San Bernardino from his work in Los Angeles leaving at the same time. Anyway -- For the next five years I got to live the awesome bachelor life, and I don't regret any of it. (Ok, well, maybe SOME of the buffets.)
The COVID pandemic really has me re-thinking my direction. Now there's no commute times at all, tech job opportunities are remote and a lot more sparse, and buffets are non-existent (who needed all that processed food anyway?). Why am I still in Las Vegas? There's not much of a reason to be when all the things that enticed me to the city are not really relevant to my situation any more.
Based off the inconsistency of how the government and business leaders are handling this, (of course none of us know what's going on), how am I to trust them with what's going to happen to my opportunities and my life in the next three months? Two months? Next week?
I'm not going to.
I say this as I sit here with Selatria being worked on constantly for the past 9 years. I don't think I've been giving the project what it needs to really get it done, so since the pandemic started I began really crunching down on finishing the damn game. When things were going well, I saw the studio as something that I could rely on as side revenue or extra money when I'm older. But if I can't trust our economy to get through this depression we're going through, I can really only rely on my own projects and my own aspirations.
During what was to be E3 week, I took some time off from my day job, went to San Bernardino and locked myself in the (physical) studio for a week just hacking away at the Selatria backlog. Where do you draw the line between things you feel need to be cut and things that are essential? I used that time to figure that out. A lot of stuff I've been sitting on I finally got to sit down and work on it, but I still feel like it needs some more time.
As of this writing the metrics consider the game to be "93% complete" with about 178 tasks left to go. If I had to give a more accurate non-metric number based off my gut, I'd say Selatria is more 70-75% done. We still have about one chapter's worth of boss battles, cutscenes and dungeon design to go, and those are the hardest things to implement. This past month having taken a week off, we were able to get 83 tasks done. It's a bit of an outlier given the normal month was like 50-60 tasks a month. So that means about 4-5 months left to go? I wish I could be that optimistic. The closer to completion, the harder it gets to finish.
|Our Selatria HackNPlan Metrics|
Instead of treating the studio as an increasing hobby, I've been pivoting to make it something where I can actually rely on it to be a business that I can employ others and eventually myself. I'm going to be changing some things to make this happen. I'm going to be stepping down from the IGDA Las Vegas board and resigning my position as chair in August to relieve some of my responsibilities there and going to be spending more time working from the studio physically (but socially distant) in San Bernardino. I'm not going to leave my existing day job for these plans, but I'm going to redesign the studio area so I can seamlessly go from my day job to studio work after the day ends and really continue my pace of hammering out this progress and then move on to some new project ideas I've had brewing on paper. I love the Selatria project and I appreciate the team's ongoing work, but I'm also really excited to finish this and move on to different non-RPG projects after this is finished on a different, more modern game engine.
I really want Selatria, Spellbearers, our future projects, and our other partner projects like Corpse Castle to take off so I don't have to ever be in a situation again where I have to wait for the company I work for or the government to tell me what's going to happen to my opportunities or my income, and not have to be in a position where I have to worry about extremely unreasonable commute times.
I'm extremely fortunate that I can just kind of do things on a whim and still young enough to do it where it doesn't impact anyone except me. If I wait too long and just continue taking this for granted, I feel that I won't be able to do it as easily. But I guess that's the spirit of whimindie and why we have our name, right? I'm excited for this change.
We'll make our own opportunities. And with that, I'll leave you with a fitting quote from Futurama that explains this in a nice tl;dr.