Earlier this week, I either made a really stupid decision… or I started a journey that I will look back at in a few years time and be very grateful to my past self for doing.
I gave notice to my employer that I would be leaving in January. And I have no other job lined up. Instead, my plan is to work for myself as an "independent game developer." I'll be continuing the game development work that I've been doing on the side these past couple years or so, but now doing it full-time. A risky thing to do considering that I still feel like I'm at least 6-8 months away from having something that I think could remotely be considered an almost-finished-product. Even when considering full-time work hours. And it's probably likely that estimate is not too accurate (probably should be higher!).
My main frustration, especially this past year, about working on game development projects on the side has been with my day job. Having a day job has really been a big drain on motivation for me as far as side projects are concerned. Very often, after working for a full day, I would get home only to not work on my side projects at all, but instead waste time watching TV or playing games. I was burnt out from coding all day on stuff I quite frankly didn't care about. I just found that I was unable to bring myself to code for several more hours. Weeks and months would go by and I'd make little or no progress. Every so often I'd get my motivation back (usually during slow periods at work) and make a bunch of progress during evenings, but then it would slowly slip away and the cycle would repeat itself again. I felt like I was never going to finish anything this way and game development was something I really wanted to do. I've actually been generally happy about the day job I've had the past two years. Some complaints here and there mostly related to working in a more-or-less typical "Enterprise" environment, but it wasn't something I was planning to stick with for very much longer anyway. Making boring business web apps during the day isn't really that rewarding to me and my interest in web development has been really starting to wane this year, I think in large part due to it being an "Enterprise-y" environment where IT is not the main business focus.
My solution to the problem became clear early this year: cut myself loose from the day job. Reclaim 8 hours a day and not have someone else's work that was not my dream sap my motivation and energy. The problem with this "solution" of course is that money becomes a problem. Luckily I've always been very good at saving money. At this time, I easily have two years worth of savings which I can use to fund my journey to becoming a successful independent developer.
Last day at my day job is January 27th. After that, I intend to hit the ground running! There's a lot of work to be done. And quite frankly the odds are against me on this adventure. But… nothing ventured, nothing gained! This is something I know that I really want to try to do, and I have the ability to give it a serious attempt.