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You should work from paradise
by Dylan Jones on 01/26/14 05:35:00 pm   Featured Blogs

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.


Orgianlly posted at

We live in an incredible era of technology. Even some of the most successful indie game developers skip on paying studio rent or choose to work from home to avoid the commute and hassle. If you’ve been around a short while, you’ve probably heard of Colin and Sarah Northway who travel the world making a collection of games. Colin Northway gave a short talk at GDC a few years ago about creating Incredipede while showing a slideshow of the perfect islands he used as a workplace. His goal was to encourage more game developers who work from home to try out his methods.

I tried it. And you should too.


What’s holding you back? To collaborate on game development with a team, you need two things. A computer and a little internet. Sure, there’s an initial cost of traveling and the eyebrow raising plunge of unknown adventure. But, if we’re going to spend a significant portion of the day on our computers, we should consider using whatever is left to experience something new. Who knows, such adventure might even soak into your work. The internet may be slower, but it usually covers Skype and any repository action. Not many prefer to work on a laptop, but the sacrifice could be made in order to have dolphins swim by your workplace. The final piece of the internet, is the 100 bucks a month for internet anywhere near developed lands. Or even off land!

I had the privilege to join my retired father off the coast of New Zealand, while working on the sequel to Battle Group. I’ve also known friends who find cheap hotels (exchange rates fluctuate, but never enough to ruin much) on those same perfect beaches. I brought 100 dollars of internet which held reception during 2 weeks of sailing (turn cellular data into wireless) and had bandwidth for scrum Skype sessions as well as downloading the latest art assets. Keep in mind the timezone of your travel destination when you pick a spot, because your spare time could be pre-work hikes, or post-work late night beers with locals. It’s an incredible field and time we all create in, I hope we can grasp the advantages!

I just sent back the below video to Tom and Pohung, but let this post also act as your personal invitation to do the same!

It's 2014, work from paradise!

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Zachary Strebeck
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As a California attorney who is currently living and working in Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City for the next few months, I second this! No reason in this Internet age to tie yourself down to an office (not to mention the amount of overhead that an office entails for very little benefit to the client or employee). It helps that my work is all transactional, which means that I don't have to show up to court, etc. I've sort of tailored my practice to allow and encourage this.

Igor Hatakeyama
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But you need to apply yourself or else you'll end up getting distracted way too much. Offices are usually boring, but they are work places. So you know that you need to work, because that's what you're there for. When you're somewhere intended to be a fun or relaxing place, you need the discipline not to relax or have fun during the time you need to focus, so you can actually make your game.
Anyway, nice post!

Freek Hoekstra
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I agree I'd find it hard to focus,
but more so hard to communicate with the team!

I find offices also give me social interaction I enjoy, so there are more benefits to them.
although I must say looking at that picture weakens my resolve considerably ;)

Zachary Strebeck
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Yes, it does take discipline, and it's easy to slip into a mode where no work gets done. I'm lucky enough to have access to office space from Regus worldwide, so I can get the "office" experience rather than working from a cafe where there are too many distractions.

Then again, the biggest distraction is the Internet itself, which is hard to shut off!

Robert Leach
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Should traveling game devs get a bit peckish while soaking in the tropical sun, let them eat cake. The proper type of cake has just as many nutritious elements as bad, and should never keep an adventurous game dev from eating exactly what he or she wishes.

Lars Doucet
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"What’s holding you back?"

Here's a short list:
1) Children
2) Disability and/or chronic illness that requires specific medical resources
3) Immigration/residency issues that require you to stay in one place
4) Family that depends on you to take care of them
5) Age-related issues
6) People think you're a terrorist when you travel
7) Etc

This is super cool that you have this opportunity and all, but would have been nice to drop in a line to acknowledge that it's mostly for the young, healthy, and unattached. As it is, the tone comes across as a little naive.

Dylan Jones
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Lars, I completely agree with your comment.
While I tried to go for light hearted encouragement, it does not properly reflect the privilege and good fortune that many (myself definitely included) enjoy every day. While this is something I try to bring up in meetups and talks, I certainly could have properly highlighted it above. Thanks for the comment.