ZackBellGains #3

Hello world,

I hope that you are making the most of your day! Today wasn’t the most exciting of days. I did a lot of travelling because I wanted to be home for at least a portion of Easter weekend. I want to take this entry to talk about making and maintaining contacts, opening doors and creating opportunities, and how that first bit leads to the latter.


It’s Not What You Know. It’s Who You Know
I am sure you have heard that before, and it is no less true in the games industry than it is anywhere else in the world. A successful developer is likely good friends with other successful developers, actively communicates with popular YouTubers, streamers, and journalists, and is only one or two contacts away from a connection with a publisher or other means of potential funding. Who you know can make all the difference because in the world of indie games, the volume of your voice and the breadth of your reach is often more important than the quality of your game(s) when it comes to keeping a small studio afloat (sales are typically limited by your lack of marketing prowess).

It may seem like common sense, but it is in your best interest as a developer to be kind to everyone that you come in contact with. This goes for people whom you meet at conferences to the seas of faceless avatars met online. There may come a day where you need someone and having more options than you could possibly consider is an amazing problem to have.

Know When To Say Yes
“Know when to say no” is a common word of advice among my peers. A lot of these developers are also living paycheck to paycheck while juggling a game and/or studio during their long evenings alone. More and more I am feeling that it is important to continually analyze who you know and what options you have on the table so that you can also consider each of these options. There have been times where I needed more money, felt completely doomed, and had a dozen job offers to choose between if I WOULD HAVE JUST STOPPED PANICKING LONG ENOUGH TO ASK. A lot of developers have impostor syndrome and a lot of people with impostor syndrome underestimate the number of fellow developers who would absolutely love to collaborate with them.

Right now I am going through a bit of this myself. I am stressed out, some things are going incredibly well, some things appear to be crumbling, and some things feel fragile, but worth fighting for. I took a few days this week to slow down and connect with the people close to me. I met with one of my business partners and mentor, Robert Bowling (Infinity Ward, Humble, etc), and discussed my options regarding our startup. I met with my friends, Jesse Freeman (Amazon) and Austin Ivansmith (WayForward) to discuss the different contracting options that I have available to me. I also met with Ryan Swarner, my very first partner in the games industry and discussed the status of the project(s) that we are working on. Having these conversations with these people was great for morale and gave me a renewed sense of direction. I strongly suggest that you do this sort of thing often!

Moving Forward
Alright, so what were the results? It isn’t quite that simple. I certainly have a lot to consider. I can tell you that Ryan and I are collaborating again. We have a project in the works that will be published by Spaceboy Games. We are also discussing the future of Frog Sord with Fellipe and a few potential contractors. I am working hard on my project that sent me down to Los Angeles and I will able to speak about all of that a lot more in the near future! There are a whole bunch of very exciting options on the table and it is an exciting time for me, in general. I am hoping to be more descriptive with these entries soon, as well as start streaming the work that makes the most sense for that setting (likely INK 2 development). Let me know what else interests all of you, and I will work it into my routine!

Until tomorrow,

ZackBellGains #3

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