Back in 12th grade I made a promise to myself. A promise to spend my college years working hard on becoming the best game developer I possibly can. One capable of bringing all of my visions to life and living comfortably. One that never has to worry about running out of money in the bank every month or dread going into work every morning.
Back then it seemed easy enough. I expected to be surrounded by other college game developers doing the same. I had no plans of having a girlfriend either but (thankfully) fate threw me a curveball. Lately the thought of just how hard I'm working compared to my peers has been occupying my mind for a moment I questioned if I was doing the right thing.
My friends complain about me working on a daily basis. I don't play games and joke around with them for more than an hour or two because I still have three years worth of work to do in just two. There are 4 games I need to release by the time I graduate (May 2016) in order to see if I can survive as an indie, a free man, immediately after college. Ready to live out the rest of my days in peace doing what I love every day, having everything I ever wanted, and enjoying the sweet victory of overcoming this mountain I challenged myself to climb.
I honestly believe that going through the pains of making and finishing my first few games now will keep me from struggling the way many indies do when they start out. I learned firsthand that finishing games is really hard. To this day I only have 3 to my name, but each title feels like a pillar representing how far I've come. It seems like a good idea to do that in college when you have fewer bills to pay and almost nothing to lose. I just can't help but question my logic when people around me are unanimously discouraging my behavior. It makes me think I'm doing all this for nothing and I'll regret all my wasted time 3 years from now.
I wish I had more time to spend goofing off but I just have too much to do. Even when I am relaxing I can't hep but feel like I should be doing something productive instead. Between school, homework, game development, and making time for my girlfriend, I barely have any time left in a given week. If I could have just one wish it'd probably be to not need to sleep anymore. I think anyone could get a lot done with an extra 6-8 hours of free time.
One of the things that really gets me envious is thinking about how easy others around me seem to have it. I know very well that everyone has their own problems but that knowledge becomes transparent when you notice how the only things your friends worry about are what games to play that day or what homework can be put off for another week. I'm constantly trying to get as much schoolwork out of the way as I can so I can get back to making video games, matters most to me. It really feels like I'm sacrificing my youth for a better future and I see everyone around me doing the opposite. Living these days as if it's all downhill from here.
I've always dreaded that kind of life, where all I have is childhood memories and I can't have fun anymore. The majority of everyone's life should be enjoyable and exciting, not just the first part. So am I making a good choice by sacrificing fun times and easygoing in college for good times and easygoing for the rest of my life? I think so.
I've always been the type to do what's hard for what feels right. I'm willing to run where others choose to walk or sleep. I'm okay with sacrifices if I know the outcome is worthwhile. I can't recall the exact memory but something I did as a kid made me realize that when you work really hard for something when everyone else doesn't care, you get the greatest reward and the others begin following your example.
It may be hard but I really don't know what would be left of me without my burning desire to make games and see other developers' creations. I'm determined to live up to my promise. If not just for me, then for anyone out there who feels as alone in this as me.
Determination today leads to success tomorrow after all, and I'm willing to run for a while longer. The prize for finishing the race is just too good to give up on.