Last weekend was the Global Game Jam 2013. After much bemoaning and debating on my part during the week leading up to it I eventually had to relegate myself to the side lines. Despite my want to take part, a lot of key factors made me have to walk away and just sit it out. This first post is about the personal and professional factors with the next post centered around the more ideological reasons.
Waking up on Friday I felt the now all too familiar feeling of excessive sleep deprivation from the week of work prior. Working on my game project as a profession instead of an after work hobby has extended most of my days well into the night, far longer than before. It was upon awakening that I began to realize that the weekend before me would not include game jammin’.
It was more than a straight lack of sleep, of course, that was on my mind. The reality was that I’m just too busy with my job working on my game project as is. It’s become my life, and much like any game project, big or small, it keeps me from being with my family as much as I would like. That’s definitely a choice that I have made and it is a sacrifice that everyone around me has to deal with, but at the same time, am I seriously supposed to expect them to be fine with me actively choosing to engross myself even further in game development, this time as an aside from my current project? Doing so would be thoughtless and immature even if my family would have supported me, as they always do.
Last year I was also in a similar situation of time constraints but it was also very different. I was in AAA crunch; the kind where all of your time is scheduled by one group of people to create a product for another group of people with little to no real direct creative input. In this pit of mental despair I found myself languishing and I needed something to inspire me. Having just found out when and where the Global Game Jam would be taking place for the first time (after finding out just after the event the year prior) I knew I needed to be a part of it. It would be an exercise really; I needed to see what would happen if I tried to make a game with some random people in such a short time.
Thankfully that experiment was beyond any predictable level of success and it boosted my game designer ego into existence. Otherwise, if I had ducked out of work and abandoned my family for a full weekend that culminated in creating garbage I think I would have been crushed.
Suffice it to say that the circumstances this time were not at all the same. I’m “living the dream” of being broke, sitting in front of my screen for forever hours a day working on something that I don’t know if it will ever actually find an audience and I’m doing it all as my own boss, so it’s actually pretty awesome. Over the next few months I have a scary amount of work to do, with a lot of that work being necessary leading up to certain events coming soon. So rather than spending a precious weekend, one that could allow me to be with my family, sleep a few extra hours and still manage to get some much needed work done, distracting myself with another project completely I decided I needed to just man the fuck up and do what was the right thing for everyone.
So there’s the side revolving around my personal responsibilities, creeds and codes of honor and all that good stuff. But there is another side to my final decision to stay the fuck away from the Global Game Jam 2013, an uglier and more political side to things. That post is still to come in the following days.