Hi, I’m Barry Grubb and my plan is to become a full-time independent game developer.
I’m 29 years old and soon my wife Nikki and I are going to be parents for the first time. Our baby is due in October, and nothing can express how excited we are about that.
The realisation that I’m going to be somebody’s dad soon is such a huge deal, and it’s caused me to take a proper look at my life. Right now I’m employed by a company, and like millions of others I rely solely on my wages from that job to make ends meet. That’s not a situation I want to be in any more, I’ve always wanted to work for myself and be in control of what I earn.
I’ve drifted between different industries since finishing college ten years ago; I’ve tried my hand at retail management, exhibition setup, TV editing, movie visual effects and now technical illustration with a bit of interface design. I’m trapped in that modern day curse of not knowing what I want to do with my life. When I was at school I figured I’d work it out one day, but now at the age of 29 none of the industries I’ve tried so far have ticked the right boxes for me.
Recently however I’ve come to realise that the answer I’m looking for has, as is often the case, been in front of me all along. I had two particular interests competing for my attention when I left school, TV and movie post production, and video games. Video games have always been my biggest interest, a passion would describe it better, but through circumstance I landed an interview for a job at a TV company soon after college, and I got that job. It started me down the TV and movie path early in my career, effectively taking the decision of which industry to aim for out of my hands.
Years later at the height of the global recession I was made redundant, and by that time I was already feeling dejected with that industry. However I also felt like it was too late for me to retrain and get in to the industry that I really wanted to be in: games. I now know that was a ridiculous way to look at things in my mid-twenties, but back then things seemed bleak, and financially I had to get another paying job as quickly as possible, rather than take the time to get good enough at any game-related skill to land a job in it. I drifted, and ended up where I am now, doing a decent enough job but not one that I really want.
My recent introspection has flagged some personal goals which culminate in the fact that I now need to build a real life for my family. That means not just existing any more but living; I need more money, more free time, and my own personal happiness. That might sound selfish, but I believe that I can’t be the best husband and dad I can be if I’m miserable all of the time from working in a job I don’t love. It’s time to follow my dream of becoming a full-time independent game developer.
I’ve experimented with making my own games plenty of times before as a hobby, but that’s ad far as it’s gone. I have a lot to learn, but that feels like part of the adventure. I’m not going all-in any time soon, that would be crazy with a family to look after, so I plan to start building my games in my free time until I can hopefully build a sustainable business from it.
Starting this blog feels like an important first step for a few reasons: as a way of recording my progress, as a way of hopefully meeting some like-minded people, and also as a way to add accountability to my plan. To expand on that accountability thing a bit, the idea is that the more I blog about what I’m up to, the less likely I’ll be to get lazy or give up on a good idea, because I’ll have people watching me. Or something like that, I thrive under pressure so expectation is a good thing for me.
I realise that what I’m striving for, making a full-time living as an indie game dev is not an easy goal, I’m under no illusion, but many people are doing it and I’m going to try my hardest to join them. Right now is a great time to be indie, it feels like there’s never been more opportunity available to those who’ll just step up and take it.
Thanks for reading this first blog post, I guess you’ve just become one more reason why I can’t fail.