By: Earle | January 24, 2020

Every choice to do something is really the choice to *not do* everything else. As much as multi-tasking is lauded like the silver bullet to fix everything that's wrong with productivity, we can really only do one thing at a time. Or at least, I can only do one thing at a time. For the last six months, I have been deluding myself, saying that I can integrate into German language/culture, work "American" full-time hours (40+, instead of the maximum 35 that Germans work), and also keep developing Dwarves. Instead, I have fallen very short on all of these things by trying to do them all at once.


My goal when I left the US was to be able to devote more time to developing Dwarves. The longer-term goal was to settle into Germany and enjoy my exit from the corporate world by creating games that people love playing, but I was willing to start my journey in a place with a lower standard of living. I had told my employer that I was quitting so that I could move overseas for cost-of-living-arbitrage, and have a decent runway to make my short, bearded fellows a success. So when my employer countered by saying that I could keep my position and relocate to Germany if I was also willing to keep working on the project that was in utter chaos, I didn't know what to think. My honest first reaction was that this was too good to be true, which ended up being partially correct.


I got blinded by the false sense of security that comes with a "stable" income, and convinced myself that I would be able to fully compartmentalize the various aspects of my new life to maintain focus and productivity in all of them. I didn't see the additional months of work to integrate into a new society that came along with that, the corporate dynamics that were created between US/German branches, and it even made me forget exactly why I was ready to walk away in the first place. So, I took the offer and moved 1/3 of the way around the world where I spent a good deal more than I expected to set up residence, eating into my DwS runway fund. All-in-all, not my best decision-making.


Or was it?


Comparing the cost of living between Denver and my small village in Nordrhein Westfalen, the amount that I had to steal from Dwarves to set up residence here will be paid back in another 6 months. My current contract is for 2 years, so the leftover 9 months savings is all bonus development funds. Depending on exactly how well the investments I've made for Dwarves do, this might be enough to completely bankroll the first print run and/or digital release on my own, allowing me to skip any kind of crowdfunding (the questionable benefits of which could be an entire series of posts on its own).


This 2-year mark is actually quite interesting, because after 21 months, I am eligible to apply for permanent residence. This would let me legally stay in a "first-world" standard-of-living country (without needing to work for someone else) instead of the deep jungle of southeast Asia or the politically unstable southeast Europe while I make use of the lower cost of living to funnel every cent I can into the game.


All-in-all, not as bad as it first appeared. Still not what I hoped, but the tradeoffs are interesting. And interesting tradeoffs are the heart of any good game.


The ultimate outcome of all of this is a 2-year delay as trade for a much higher degree of stability. So now I have a very firm timeframe of June 2021 that demarcates the next major phase change for both Dwarves and myself personally. I have missed being eyeballs-deep in the math and rules behind combat, and waking up excited to get to work. Starting back over from the beginning is painful, but a very good lesson in trusting my gut.

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