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My little side-project…
by Anthony Hart-Jones on 07/26/10 01:04:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

After nearly four years working in the videogame industry for other people, I was made redundant in July, due to the ‘credit-crunch’ that had been plaguing most industries.  I lasted a little longer than some, but my employer had taken some serious financial hits in the previous year and it was either redundancies or bankruptcy; it’s not like I can fault their decision.

I suppose I could have moped, maybe flirted with industrial tribunals and unfair dismissal, but I decided to move on instead.  I started networking, started looking for freelance work, but I also started work on a new project.

Cut loose from big-business, I suppose I am free to consider myself a freelancer or an indie, but the last thing I want to be is a bum.  I need to stay active, to keep getting my ideas down on (digital or literal) paper or I will go mad.  Unemployment does not suit me, but working on my own projects while I find gainful employment is enough for now.  Of course, better than ‘stay active’ is ‘work toward independence’ and at least two people have actually congratulated me on my redundancy because it got me out of the rat-race. 

 With this in mind, I decided to put a name to this project of mine.  If I am to bring in other developers (and I intend to, once I can pay them) then I need a name and a company.  Later on, it will have limited liability and insurance and HR and stuff, but all it needs now is a website and maybe a blog.

So, with a little help from my wife, I named it Freya’s Aett after my daughter and the 8 Norse runes of creation and beginnings.  For added poetic value, I did not look up the exact translation of ‘Aett’, but it turns out to mean ‘family’, which is a good description of the kind of bond you need to have to commit yourself to making an indie game without ever knowing if it will even make any money…

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Felix Adam
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Good luck :)

Anthony Hart-Jones
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Thanks; I have a feeling that I'll need it...

dominic cerisano
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Just look at your time like a project manager. Your project might require 5 man years to complete. That's 1 year with 5 contributors, 6 months with 10, etc.

The internet is amazing for productivity. It can reduce your learning curve so that 1 man-year can be shrunk to 2 months and online partnerships can give you a further boost.

I have always worked on my own side-projects between jobs, and they are hard to put down, but easy to pick up again. I probably spent (with learning curve boosters) about 2 years total on one project.

I built the thing to an alpha state, and now I am in networking mode, trying to find interested parties to pursue it.

Have a look at I know I will monetize the thing at some point, but that's another couple of man-years of effort in the pure marketing arena.

Jiovanie Velazquez
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Congratulations, and good luck.

I'm in a similar boat, though I have 12 years experience and decided I needed a sabattical. Being out of the rat race feels amazing, if you can let yourself enjoy it (which I couldn't at first) and it gives you a chance to do what you really WANT to do. I worked on a project to keep my sanity called Bubble Rockit and it's on the App Store now.