It's been an interesting year. Last fall, after Thunder Moon Online came out I was gratified to see how many players got it and were having fun. Sales were pretty good by XBLIG standards, but unfortunately after over three years of self-funded low budget game dev, I had to make the tough call and head back to the game industry.
I was very fortunate to land a job in San Francisco with a company making mobile games. They needed someone with my skills, and I was keen to learn about mobile games. A major factor in my decision to come here was the company was very reasonable about my indie game dev life and they were fine with me continuing to spend my free time on my own projects so long as they weren't competing with the company. This is a very fair thing for any employer to ask, and bodes well for the company culture in that they see the benefit of employees working to improve their skills on their own time. Because of this, I am able to keep the business active, keep the games on the market, and do my own thing so long as it doesn't impact work. With that in mind, I took the job, made the long distance move with my family and rebooted life in the heart of San Francisco.
To be perfectly honest, I haven't been able to spend much time on my indie projects this past year. Between work, the long distance move and settling down in an unfamiliar city it's been hard to find much time for anything other than a bit of research here and there. Finally, as I approach my one year anniversary here I have begun to sense a certain routine that I hope means I will be able to find more time for my indie goals.
The renewed spark happened when I was doing the most mundane of things, cleaning up a disk that was a bit full of redundant backups. As I started sorting through the screenshots and videos I began to panic when I realized some videos I had captured hadn't survived a main system crash that had occurred about a month after the last XBLIG update. I still have all my projects and important stuff, no worries there, but I did lose a folder of videos I had accumulated during development. That saddened me a bit, but in my search I found a fair bit of material which I plan to post in the near future a little bit at a time with some comments about the context.
The next thing I did was boot up the Xbox 360 and play Thunder Moon for a while. I was reminded of how satisfying it was to have created all that. I felt the fun, saw the (glaring!) flaws and thought about the future of my free time. Who knows what the future holds! Well.. I do have some ideas :)