Friday, August 1, 2014

Life As An Indie Game Dev - Month 1

A while back I mentioned that I was becoming a developer for a small independent game company called Flying Helmet Games. Now that's it's been one month since I started, I figured I'd report in here with some interesting info.

As a developer, I'm not actually much involved in design decisions proper at the moment. My job has largely been handling the mathematics required for features. Things like camera work, line of sight, area of effects, and so on have been my domain so far. Thankfully I have a whiteboard in my apartment, which constantly gets filled with diagrams, equations, etc. before I discover I am wrong yet again and erase it all.

Don't look too closely, one of my substitutions accidentally made everything work out to 0. The theory was mostly sound, though.
On the bright side, I can now completely justify the math minor I got nearly a decade ago, so that's good news.

We're a small studio, with only two developers total (soon three) among artists, designers, writers, etc., many of whom wear multiple hats, so I'm kept pretty busy in the code mines. Frankly, I'm okay with this since I love coding, and I didn't realize I had missed all the math until I started doing it again.

I've been working remotely from home, compared to most of the rest of the team who're in an office in Vancouver, BC. I've never really worked from home permanently before. In my previous job, sometimes I would work from home to enforce an uninterruptable day; the more senior I got, the more folks needed to interact with me, and so interruptions would be constant. So I thought it would be great.

My home office. Not fancy, but it works quite well.
Focusing hasn't been an issue. I have an area in my apartment divvied off for working away from all of my distractions like games, and such. But the lack of human contact through the day is driving me slightly mad. I'll admit, I miss having people around. I'm a pretty chatty person, so not having anyone to talk with has almost been a distraction unto itself. It's been great for driving me out of the house in the evening though. More than ever, I've started reaching out to friends to do things in the evening rather than my modus operandi of being a passive nitwit and waiting for people to invite me to things. Still working on that, but hey, nobody's perfect.

The other bonus is having a laptop and working from home is tethering my laptop to my phone and going elsewhere to work. Apparently my apartment building has a gorgeous courtyard in which I can hang out and get stuff done. Clearly that'll be more of an issue come fall, but for now it's great.

Warm yet shaded. Also, secluded from the rest of the city. I don't even really hear much traffic.
So yeah, I don't really have much to report otherwise. It's been great so far, I'm working on interesting problems, but we don't really have much to talk about quite yet. At least, not that I'm aware I can really talk about. I'll get back to folks on that!

#Personal, #IndieDev


  1. I'm surprised that the kind of math you're working on isn't all taken care of by gaming libraries. Which probably only demonstrates the depth of my ignorance of game dev!

    I can relate to how a total lack of social contact can drive someone slightly mad! I have to resort to some online interactions to help keep my sanity when that happens.

    1. The problem areas I'm working on are relatively customized for the game we're making. While the building blocks are taken care of, a lot of the geometry math to derive values we need for things like moving the camera in and out don't exist in game libraries because it's extremely specific.

      Online interactions seem to stave off the madness for me, but eventually I still need to get out and see real people.

    2. *see people in real life. People online are real people :)

  2. I can neither confirm nor deny that I am a real person.

    But yes, eventually it's nice - ok, viital - to see real people, face to face.