Having Fun

Starting out anything new is always a bit scary. So many variables to deal with, and a lot of stuff, if you're doing things that are interesting, aren't things you've done before. With Wonderspark, we're doing a ton of things we've never done before. We're starting this from the ground up, which means we have to deal with a lot of things we've never dealt with directly. Funding. How to deal with equity. Legal stuff. How to balance doing those things in ways that are "familiar" and well-established, and when to say, "We can do this differently, in a way that better suits our core values." It's a strange process, too, because it's still just the two of us.

Two people on a team can be difficult, because even though we talk a lot about what we're doing, and we collaborate really well, two people only have so much perspective. We've talked a LOT to a lot of our friends & ex-coworkers, and people have given us really great advice, support, and been extremely generous with their time. "Obviously" (it's almost never actually obvious) we can't thank you all enough. The other thing that's ... well, it's not "weird", it just is what it is, is that both of us wanted to do this specifically because we really wanted to build a great team again.

The game industry has a lot of stuff about it that's frustrating, but the thing that draws me back to it over and over is that there are very few other industries out there like it. Artists, engineers, designers, audio folks - it's just a big ol' collaborative mish-mash, and everything works better when you have this kind of open, respectful, and passionate collaboration across all these disparate fields.

For me, growing up, I took a lot of music lessons, but never felt like a musician. I drew for hours and hours every day for years and years, but never felt like an artist. I programmed my old Commodore 64 (yes, I'm old, thank you, let's move on) and took programming classes in college but was OH MY GOD not good enough to be an engineer. So for many years I felt like a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none, and even when I found something I really loved in mechanical engineering, it was missing some of the "art" that I wanted out of something I'd spend the bulk of my life doing.

I remember having the realization that you could make games for a living. It's weird, because I'd already known people who did that - but it never occurred to me that I could make games for a living. I assumed I didn't have the skills since I was a terrible programmer, a lousy artist, and not great at anything specific.

But through luck, timing, preparation, hard work, and fostering good relationships with my peers, I managed to get into game design - a field that requires someone to know about a whole bunch of different artistic and technical fields and needs someone who can speak the language of artists and engineers, or at least understand what they're saying.

For the first few years, holy Impostor Syndrome, Batman. But after about six years of designing games, at a point where I'd been the Principle Designer of a pretty well-known game studio (Factor 5) for a while already, I was out walking the dog one night, and thought, "You know, I'm alright at this." A bit of a digression, but impostor syndrome can last a long time. I don't think it ever really fully goes away.

But anyway - the point being, it's that intersection of art & technology that is just an amazing creative endeavor. There's so little that's not possible in games, given enough time and money, that the process of developing an idea & a game from the ground up is always an act of creation & faith & experimentation & excitement. Every idea is exciting, and bouncing it around with other passionate, enthusiastic people those ideas just get better and better.

So yeah - working for the last five months or so has been fantastic. It's been educational, exciting, challenging, hilarious, and really, really fun. Learning is really satisfying. But man. I can't wait until we can get a few more people on board, because then we're gonna see some really interesting sparks fly.