I came across and interesting article on Gamasutra about how Kane, also known as Gritfish, decided to keep his day job and become a part-time indie developer. Now this type of story is very unusual because we usually hear about the person who quite their day job to be an indie developer. But this option is talked about less than it really should be. For most people they feel that the only way to succeed is to go 100% into game development. For whatever reason, people feel that they either follow their passion as a hobby or do it full time. Their never seems to be a half measure. This could be because society often says not to half ass things. Which makes sense when teaching people to finish what they start. But if you’re not expecting to be a huge commercial success, then being a part-time indie developer is a viable option.
The first reason why you should consider being part-time indie is that there is less financial risk. If you quite your day job, you are under the constant threat that if your game fails, you may be homeless. The second reason to go part-time is less mental/physical stress. Instead of being in constant crunch mode and starting bad habits you are able to take breaks and still have a life. Which leads into the third reason which is that you will have more freedom to be creative in your game design. It is a lot easier to create a unique game when you are well rested. But if you go full time you may end up making a generic game that appeals to a larger audience but feels like a clone.
Ultimately the choice to be a hobbyist, part-time or full-time game developer is up to you. If you are looking to make a large expansive game, then going full time may be an option. Though you can also make that same large game part-time but it will just take longer. For me, since I really enjoy blogging, I think I’ll put my full time game developer aspirations on hold and be part-time. But just because I’m not making games full time doesn’t mean I can’t change my mind later. That’s the cool things about goals. You can change them if you change your mind. As long as you are able bodied, then you should never give up on your goals.