Crystal Ball – Looking into 2016

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This will probably be my last blog post for a few weeks so I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog this year if you’ve been a regular reader or have just started. I certainly like putting my thoughts out there in writing, and the more people it helps the better. This particular post is all about where I think I’ll be a year from now.

I’m not going to talk about spring semester too much as I figure that’s already a done deal. I’ll pass all my fall semester classes, spring semester will be a tough but good experience, we’ll publish Blind Trust (hopefully on Steam), and I’ll be in a good position to take a job somewhere in the summer or fall. I can’t assume where I’m going to work, obviously, or if I’m even going to land a job in the industry soon (probably not) but there are some things I can control and hope turn out well. For one, I really hope that by the end of the semester I can create my own small games from scratch without too much difficulty since that’s the main reason I even applied to the EAE program in the first place. If not that, I’ll at least be a stronger designer and programmer and can continue developing from there.

Again, it’s impossible to say where I’ll be in six or eight or 10 months but it’s pretty safe to say I won’t be in school again for a long time. Aside from one year off I took between 2011 and 2012, I’ve been in school since preschool and, as a 26-year old now, I think it’s time for me to finally get out there in the world to see what I can really accomplish. I’ll have two master’s degrees soon in addition to my bachelor’s degree and high school diploma and I’m finally ready to leave behind the academic world for a while. I definitely want to earn my doctorate some day, but at this point it won’t really help me that much beyond making me more qualified for a teaching career. Plus, I’m deep in student loan debt now and sooner or later I’m going to have to actually start paying that off in substantial amounts.

So it’s safe to say I’ll have a decent full-time job or I’ll be living on the streets or living with my parents back in Iowa by the end of the year. Two of those options are not really options but more like absolute worst-case, sky-is-falling scenarios so I’m going to write those off right here and now. I don’t know where I’ll be working but I will probably still be in Utah. The real kicker is whether or not I’ll have more money than I need to pay all my bills and do more than just live from paycheck to paycheck. I’ve lived that life a lot and I really hate it. It’s not the most uncomfortable existence ever, making ends meet and little else, but it’s not fruitful and doesn’t really lead anywhere I’m interested in. And if I’m planning to move further west in the next few years, I’ll need a job or jobs that will do more than just put some bread on the table and keep the lights on. It will be hard but definitely not impossible, I think, and whether or not that happens is mostly up to me. I’ll have to get a little lucky, like everyone, but life, like Hearthstone, is all about making the RNG work for you as best you can.

I think I’ll still be practicing level design and working on my own games too by next December, and that’s reassuring to me. It would really be a shame if I went through this whole program only to realize that I hate making games, like I suspect some people will. True, it hasn’t been easy, and some aspects of the EAE program have been disappointing, but that doesn’t mean I’m any less passionate about the dream I had when I first applied. I still think video games have the power to change the world for the better, and I still think they can be a greater art form than most people are aware of.

I guess that in the end it doesn’t really matter where I’m working as long as I feel like I’m working toward something and improving myself. Hell, I could even be full-on back into practicing for trombone auditions by the end of the year if things go a certain way. I do feel like I learned a lot of valuable lessons about both the video game industry and working with people through this program, and I’ll be able to apply many of those lessons to lots of different kinds of jobs. Well, I think that’s about as concrete as I can get about the next year right now. I’ve never been very good about planning any further than a couple years ahead anyway. My next post will probably be about my team’s future plans for Blind Trust, whatever those turn out to be. See you on the next level!

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