The Challenges of Passion and Lifetime Aspirations

About a month ago, I was talking to my mom about joining the global game jam. After expressing my hope that somehow I could win the said contest, she responded with the question: “What else do you have to prove?”. I was caught off-guard that I just said, “I think you don’t understand” and she really admitted that I was right. She’s enigmatic with why I’m doing such things. She asks similar questions whenever I follow something that I want to do or when I want to learn a new skill. Don’t get me wrong. In the end, my parents usually support me on my final decision, though there are a lot of times, I’m being questioned about my priorities. So why did I made such decisions in my career path? Why do I continue to study a new skill? Why can’t I just focus on getting a high-paying job and buy all the stuff that I want? To be honest, I know getting rich will make me happy, but definitely not as happy as achieving my lifetime aspirations and doing what I love to do. I only have one life, and I want to make the most out of it rather than just having an abundant lifestyle…

A Dream Job

It has been my dream since high school to create a video game of my own. Back then, I had no idea how hard it is to make one. Right after I graduated from college, I applied for a game programmer job, but little did I know that they were requiring a game portfolio, something that I don’t have. That moment slapped me to reality, and I considered forgetting that dream and pursue a different track. The first company that I worked for has been good to me and I had a lot of fun working with the people there. They taught me a lot of things about software engineering and project management that are deemed useful, even in my current job. They even gave me the opportunity to work in Japan for three months (something I really dreamed of since I became a fan of Japanese media). I did well with the first path I chose, but then I reached the point where I ask myself the “what if’s”. What if I tried harder and  became a game developer? What if I made my own portfolio and showed it to other companies?

That’s when I resigned from my previous job to give my dream a second chance. It was a hard decision, but I’ll stay restless if I don’t make my paradigm shift. And so, I tried to apply for game development companies once again but this time, I passed all of the applications including a whole-day technical exam. That’s when I started living my dream job. Even though, I had a lot of development experience from my previous company, I still have a lot to learn when it comes to game dev. I’m enjoying the learning process nonetheless. I can’t say that everything went smoothly, but it’s part of every software engineering job. It didn’t take long to have my affirmation that I really love making games, and I want to stay in this industry. By the way, we recently released a game last November. You might want to check it out V(^_^).

I still have a lot of goals that I want reach in this field. More than being a game programmer, I want to give life to my game ideas and make a name in this industry. Sounds ambitious? Well sometimes, it’s part of following your passion. You don’t settle with mediocrity.

Beyond The Educated Skill

Working with a team is really good when it comes to game development, but sometimes, my renaissance soul keeps kicking me out of the box and urging me to learn new things and combining it with what I already know. I remembered one time when I was in the training for department leads, we were asked about our dreams. What I said was, “I want to be a one-man game development team”. And I’m really serious about it. I want to learn more about art, music, game design, and other aspects of game development. Back when I applied for my current company, I made a demo game on my own, from design to programming. The sound effects were not that special and the 3D models were not optimized at all, but for me, it pushed me a step closer to what I wanted to achieve. It’s not easy studying several fields, especially if it’s not part of your natural skill set or educational background. I’m not recommending you to do the same, but if you’re really itching to learn something new, then by all means, go forth and level up!

A Demo Game I Made on My Own: Word Panic Type K!

Does that mean that I want to go solo all the way when time permits? No, not at all. I still know my limitations, and some of my ideas are just too enormous to be done alone, in which case, I will find other talented people that are willing to collaborate. Besides, I want to learn more stuff from other game developers. I also want to help other designers to develop their game when I have some spare time. Just like in game jam, the output game is a valuable prize for itself.

Balancing Passion and Knowledge Aspiration with Sustenance and Financial Responsibilities

It’s a lot of fun doing what you really love to do, but that doesn’t mean that you will ignore your finances in turn. Remember that without proper sustenance, passion alone won’t survive, and you may end up broke and unable to continue your works. It will be a lot better if you plan how to convert your passion and interests into something that will improve your entire lifestyle. Moreover, if you have financial responsibilities, learn to compromise as necessary. If you’re one of the breadwinners in the family (like me), find a way that you’ll be able to earn enough out of your interests and passion. Learn to save money by treating it as a bill, making sure that you won’t run out of resources at any given time (just like in RTS games). Worst case, you have to postpone your goals until you have a steady cash flow. Just make sure you keep track of time while waiting for that moment, we’re not forever young, and it’s hard (though not impossible) to pursue your passion at an older age.

Well, I hope you readers are following your own passion and succeed in your respective fields. There’s nothing wrong if you’re really aiming for a better income, it’s practical and beneficial, but if there’s a way to get it while fueling your passion, won’t you grab the opportunity to do so?  Remember, you only live once, and you have one shot to reach your aspirations and live the life the way you want it to. (~^_^)~

Next Post: I need a breather from long posts so I’ll post my first entry for random quotes series V(-_-)V

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2 comments on “The Challenges of Passion and Lifetime Aspirations

  1. stump3d says:

    Thanks, Felix, for giving me lots of sage advice as a game developer! You helped pave the way for my dream job. I’ll develop my skills some more and when I get enough traction in this field, I’ll hopefully collaborate with you on a game. 😀

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