This summer, Robots Love Ice Cream, this year. This project is the long-awaited realization of Burton’s dream to be an independent game developer creating his own original titles.
We’ve been working almost exclusively on Robots Love Ice Cream since June, and we’re in the middle of an $18,000 funding drive on Kickstarter that will end July 30th and should, once fulfilled, allow us to finish our game in time for a fall release. Burton is the development talent and the man with the vision of what the game will be. I’m the MBA with the management/PR/soft skills and sheer determination who’s going to help him make it happen. We’re supported by an amazingly talented creative team of artists, composers, and designers. We have big dreams for our upcoming title–both in terms for what it will bring to the table in the mobile games industry, and what it could do for us and our company if it makes the impression we hope it will.
Producing this game has been a really intense but overwhelmingly positive experience so far. We’re taking a risk by investing so much of our own time and financial resources into this project. But when you look at the big picture, the bigger risk would be not to use this opportunity to try to create something great.
I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of the things I’ve learned so far through this venture. I hope this post will serve as an encouragement to everyone who’s in the middle of something similar, or considering diving in.
Things I’ve learned so far from working on our indie game project:
It’s important to make time to figure out what you love and learn to be good at it. Not to get all existential, but what’s the point of it all if we’re not, at least some of the time, doing what makes our hearts sing? We all have a thirst to create and restore that we need to tap into.
Surround yourself with the best people you can find. People who are on top of their game will elevate your work and encourage you to give your best. once we get their time fully funded and really put them to work.
’The best people’ doesn’t just mean the best talent. Personality and trustworthiness matter. People who make you feel insecure or fearful are an unnecessary distraction. At the same time, make room for reasonable differences of opinion. A respectful challenge is a compliment to your intelligence.
The world opens up to people who are doing what they love. People are hungry for someone to root for. If you show initiative, passion, and integrity, you’ll become a lot of people’s hero. You’ll find that as much as you inspire others, they’ll inspire you.
Not everyone is going to understand or honor the motivation of doing something primarily for the love and excitement of it. Some people are going to try to get you to conform to their idea of why you should do things–usually for money or for recognition or status in some system that was built by people whose values are not the same as yours–and inadvertently pull you away from your work to ‘help’ you attain them. None of these is worth giving up the freedom and exhilaration of doing what you love. At the right time, it’s likely you’ll be able to get the money and the recognition without feeling like you’re trading your integrity or the integrity of your project. Be selective and intentional with your time and attention. When you must, establish boundaries respectfully but clearly.
Hard work can be fun. When you’re focused on the process of discovery and creation, and when you’re interacting with people who inspire you to be at your best, you’re not looking at the clock wondering when quitting time will be here. You’re looking at the clock wondering how it got to be past dinner time while you were deep in the middle of a breakthrough.
It’s important to pace yourself. Know what you want to accomplish each day, and leave yourself some room to enjoy life. It’ll help you keep from burning out, and it’ll also remind you what you’re working for.
If you’re looking for inspiration, renewed enthusiasm, or a boost in your career, try helping someone else pursue their dream for a while. This is basically a free pass to try new things without fear of ultimate failure or rejection.
Here’s a secret: I love what Burton and I are doing with Addo Games, but ultimately, it’s not my dream to make video games. My dream involves working at or with the State Department or some equivalent–as you can tell if you read my tweets, I’m a global affairs nerd and I want to travel the world on missions to promote freedom and prosperity. But helping Burton pursue his dream of making a beautiful, engaging, innovative game has been incredibly exciting and fun for me. Probably because it’s our own little mission of freedom and prosperity right here at home. It’s also helping me grow in ways that will ultimately help me achieve my career goals–in support of this venture, I’m writing, persuading, analyzing data, understanding trends, connecting with interesting/influential people, managing a team, growing an enterprise, and engaging with an industry that’s full of creativity and innovation.
I joined this project as a gift to my husband to help him fulfill his dream, but I feel like I’m the one who’s received a gift. I didn’t expect that, and it’s pretty awesome. So try helping someone else–you’ll likely end up helping yourself more than you realize.
I’d love to hear other’s thoughts on these points. Have your own observations been similar or different? How has your perspective on your indie experience developed over time? Thanks for reading–glad to be a part of this community and looking forward to sharing more game updates throughout the summer! Find me on Twitter as Addo Games if you want to connect.