Saturday, August 15, 2015

Indie Game Developer "Bullying" Rant

So I am a member of a prominent Indie Game Developers page on Facebook. Fellow indies can post about topics related to the development of independent games, and others can comment here and there about the topic. For the most part, it's been very helpful, I always read the posts every morning and when I get off work for anything relevant to the development of indie games. Some of my team would probably notice I cross-post a lot of interesting articles that I find off of this group. Long story short, it was a group that I really felt connected to, and felt by contributing to the success of up and coming indie games made by other small people and small studios.

Until last night.

A post was made from a teenager asking for team members for a game he was working on. He was admittedly a bit naive, in the sense of he was promising unspecified payment for the game to his team members when it was done, without talking or how or when these payments would occur. The guy said he was 15 years of age later in this post, but what I saw in the comments were severely disturbing, even for "this is the internet standards". Grown men and women were bashing this poster, making jokes at his expense, editing this original poster's profile picture with making memes of jokes, and hardly any meaningful comments were given as constructive criticism to this individual.

I did my best to give this original poster the best constructive criticism that he needed to specify the genre and scope of the project and how exactly the team was going to be commissioned. But my advice was drowned out in memes, crude jokes, and harsh feedback that was, in my honest opinion, really uncalled for.

So I am going to be rescinding my membership to this group, effective this post. I considered posting this exact post on the Indie Game Developers Facebook group, but what would that solve? This post would be drowned in the same comments, memes, and brutal jokes that the post of this individual had to bear. Plus, I would not want the admins to bother dealing with people who are leaving anyway, I have the same philosophy with groups that I run. If they were on their way out to begin with, it's already too late.

As I was once a naive 15 year old developing crappy video games, I would see myself forever scarred if this kind of forum existed when I was learning the basics of independent game developing. We should be helping cultivate newer generations into wanting to make games and learning these skills and techniques that we're currently roughing out the edges. Those coming in to learn should have an easier time than we did.

A point can be made that I could apply to be an admin for this group, but I am busy working on my own projects and groups, I would love to given the time, but unfortunately that is not the case.

For all of the useful resources that the group has given me, I will cherish and use going forward with the team. But I cannot be part of a group that will resort to online bullying of its peers.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Change in Life Direction: Part II

Change in Life Direction Part I (March 2015)

Hey all, it's honestly been a little while since I've had time to write down some thoughts. I thought I'd give somewhat of a large update to what's been going on with life. What better way to knock out two birds with one stone than taking the blog out of a much-deserved hiatus and updating?

Life and Relocation

First and foremost, since my last big post, I've up and moved about 200 miles north to Las Vegas. It's a move that I've personally wanted to do for about five years (it's really gotten to the point where one friend in particular said I was sounding like a broken record about it), so I finally found my chance and I went to act on it.

The final straw which caused me to want to move was me visiting my grandfather in Los Angeles and meeting with the composer for Selatria who lives not too far from said relative. I left in the morning to visit both people, and left towards home in the afternoon. It was a 3 1/2 hour drive to go 60miles. In that same 3 1/2 hour drive I could be going to/from Vegas, and so I looked for a way to go there. I've visited Vegas pretty often for the past 5-6 years coming for anime conventions and buffets, and we had one FFXIV guild meeting here as well.

I will say, I do absolutely love it up here. The heat isn't much of a change from what I'm used to, but the people are really nice, my neighbors are fantastic with helping me out (and I do the same to help them), and don't get me started on the food. I'm worried if I'm going to gain a lot of weight from pigging out at all of the local eateries. But I am balancing that out by picking up my jogging again. I am currently maintaining a 20 minute jog each morning around the condominium complex in order to burn off what I ate the night before. I am kind of concerned with my metabolism slowing down (finally!) and gaining weight, I'd rather stay relatively skinny and not let myself go. I'm currently living alone, but I may get a dog in the foreseeable future, so it won't be so quiet around here. (The companionship would be a nice plus!)

I'm currently heading back to San Bernardino roughly every two weeks to meet my family and my friends and catch up with the studio folks in person. I'll get to the studio and independent game development in a bit.

New career: Softvision

The new opportunity that I jumped for was a Software Quality Assurance Engineering position for a company called Softvision. I really enjoy it here. The co-workers are great, I get along very well with my bosses, and they have a great work hard-play hard mentality, which keeps me in high spirits throughout the work day. The casual, friendly atmosphere up here is a nice change from the position in the company that I left last January. Some of the newer QA engineers are straight out of university so I take time to help them out with learning the QA process, and I still have plenty of time to get work of my own completed. It makes them happy because they have someone helping out rather than reading a guide from a computer, and it makes me fulfilled that I am helping someone succeed. It's a win-win!

Especially with how I posted about my burnout episode with all of the unfortunate circumstances that caused me to resign from the last company I worked for in my last life update, I expect people reading this to be somewhat concerned about why I'd so happily take another QA job. I honestly believe this situation and circumstances is a lot different. The gracious relocation time I was given, mixed with the far less commute (10 minutes versus 2+ hours a day) and not having to deal with Los Angeles traffic on a daily basis was reasons enough to where I don't think I could suffer another burnout as badly as I did in January. Taking care of my own needs will be first priority going forward.

Independent Game Development

I set up a home office with all of my computers and I'm currently directing Selatria from here during the week. I make a point to work on studio-related work at least an hour a day. I try to aim for doing it when I wake up before my jog so I am going to the office happy, but if I get up later, I will focus on it when getting home.

Going forward, for at least as long as I have the ability to, I am going to fund the games we create in the future on my own without having to crowdfund or rely on external financial support. I would like to commission people out of pocket to do assets for the game to continue production, so they can be studio IPs. Due to existing contracts with Selatria, this cannot be done, but the next game I will direct will be doing this.

As for Selatria, the game development is coming very nicely. We just finished writing the story last month, the music is almost complete, and we're in the midst of casting the remaining voice talent. The game development and art is going to take the largest amount of time to complete, and that's not something we want to rush. Selatria will be done when it's done. I am looking into porting the game to Android/iPhone/Mac with the new engine coming out, but with the announcement that it's going to be in JavaScript instead of Ruby, that's going to be a massive undertaking. Not to mention upscaling the art to match the new resolutions. I'm currently thinking about it, but I don't want to be discouraged with putting out the game as it is for PC, and working about a version for that sometime after release. We'll see how it goes.

I am going to start looking into streaming my development for games next month as well as get in touch with the Vegas Indie Collective and meet/network with other indies out here. May establish new connections and team members! :)

Viva Eorzea

Viva will be coming up on its 5th anniversary in September. Crazy! I've been leading this group for a fifth of my real life years. I will say, there has been many of times when I've considered stepping down, but I am glad to been involved with keeping the group together this long. I am looking forward for having our third real life group meeting in late-October or early-November.

I also think I made the right decision moving the FC towards a progression/achievement group. Doing everything the game had to offer multiple days a week was one of the major contributors to my burnout earlier this year. It was causing me to get agitated during events easily and super mad over little things. I lost a few good friends over it, too. Since January (?) or so I've been keeping Viva events to two days a week, and it's done wonders for my mood and patience.

We also have our own guild airship! The FC voted on Facebook for the name "Flight Club", so it is as so.

The Viva Airship - Flight Club

Here's to many more good years to Viva!

Frequency of Blog Posts going forward

I'm not sure why I'm currently sticking with the title of "Grover's Semi-Daily Rants" when I'm clearly not posting every other day. Going forward, I'm probably going to be making only a few long posts per month rather than a lot of short ones.  I like to rant and have a large information dump available rather than a few short bite-size pieces. We'll see how it goes.

I hope that was a sufficient life update! This sure as hell couldn't fit in a simple status update or twitter post.