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James Steele, Blogger

June 15, 2009

3 Min Read

I've been devoting some time this evening, to working on a little side project which I'm hoping won't just fall into the pits of incompleteness.  It's a bit difficult to devote time to this as, I've been coding all day at work and I don't want to neglect my family when I come home.

But that's ok as it's sort of difficult to ignore my daughter who is now seven months old, when she starts making cute little noises that indicate she either wants to play or be picked up and cuddled. Maybe a bit of both.

There's always been a bit of an issue with side-projects in the games industry.  To put it quite simply, employers don't want their employees doing them.  There are a number of reasons for this, mostly quite silly ones I feel, and it's sort of problematic.  

If we can't work on stuff in our spare time, then employers will lose out.  I can think of five or six little projects that I've worked on at home in the last two years, that have made their way into my day job.  That's several man months worth of R&D that my company get for free, and only goes to improve their profits.

The problem is, my day job that I devote 100% of my energies to during the working day might not always let me do stuff that I want to do, and it can be quite frustrating.  It's not just about the types of games that we develop, but also the way we go about developing.  About having to work with a codebase that I feel is restrictive causes problems during development and realising that I could perhaps write a similar system, only better.

 And so I go home, and try to do exactly that.  Sometimes I realise that there were valid reasons for the implementation at work, and other times where I get that little bit of joy of having been right and creating something cool, that does the job and could make my teams life easier.

Then there are game ideas.  I realised quite early on in my career that I didn't join the games industry just to make games.  I got into the industry to hopefully make my game ideas become a reality.  To make games that I and other people would want to play.  And I still want to do that, but I won't get that chance at my day job....to work on something that comes from my own imagination.

So it's a creative release for me to work on my side projects to dull the frustration I sometimes feel at work.  So then rather than concentrating on my frustration, I can concentrate on getting my job done to the best of my abilities and earning my pay.

Surely, this can only be a good thing, right?

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