ZackBellGains #8

Hello world,

I hope that you are making the most of your day! In case you hadn’t noticed, I took a week off from this series of blog entries. I wanted to talk about why that is, and use it as an excuse to talk about what I view as the entrepreneurial mindset.

A Look Back
To understand why I took the last week or so away from the blog, you have to understand why I wanted to start this thing to begin with. Rewind and you’ll see that my project HackyZack had launched on Steam, I had reached a fork in the road as far as my career was concerned, and I wanted to write about my relocation to LA and what it means to/for me. Over the last week, I haven’t been in LA! I have been back in my home state of Washington. Initially, I had been back to visit my family for a late Easter, but because of the volatility of the independent games industry and entrepreneurial job stability, I took some time off to really step back and consider my options.

A few things happened that really sparked this mini vacation.

1) Spaceboy Games’ co-founder and animator, Sandy Gordon, accepted a full-time position at Yacht Club Games! I want to wish a huge congratulations to Sandy for taking a huge step in signing onto such an amazing team. We wish him the very best!

2) Given that, our plans as a studio needed to change since our ability to produce games that focus on high-quality pixel art has now vanished (for the time being). We need to either hire a new artist or figure out an alternative.

3) As a safety net, I tossed my resume out into the world to see if anyone would bite. I applied to work with the following companies: Bungie, Gearbox, Pokemon Company, Sucker Punch Productions, and Vayner Media. I am talking to a few of them, but due to NDA(s) I cannot go into detail at this time.

 To me, the spirit of the entrepreneur and the spirit of most independent developers that I relate to comes from this special form of undying curiosity. It’s an unquenchable hunger for knowledge, answers to questions about how things work, and finding solutions to problems that people didn’t even know they had. I am looking at all of my open programs and browser tabs and I am realizing that I have found my way back to that special place. I have codecademy open, where I am teaching myself HTML and CSS to further my ability to share content. I transcribed all of the rhythms and rhyme schema from Kendrick Lamar’s new album, Damn. I am listening to Dorian Yates discuss high intensity training via podcast as I type up this blog entry draft. I have been playing the hell out of Destiny DLC, Borderlands, and Infamous as I carefully fill out gameplay design tests for their respective studios. I am watching all of the GDC content put out by their employees, as well. I am prototyping new multiplayer content for INK 2 and discussing funding options with a potential new publisher. I am doing familiar things and new things. I stumbled my way back to what feels like the beginning, but also further along than I have ever been.

Find out what inspires you to think, and then you go and you feed that. Dependent on a few factors I will either be moving back to Washington (Bungie or Pokemon Company), remaining in Los Angeles (working on my startup, full-time), moving to Austin, TX (Gearbox), or moving to New York (Vayner Media). I am not really leaning in any which way because I am not sure which doors are open to me. When I find out, all of you will know, too. I want to remain transparent and accessible whether I continue to stick with my indie roots or I venture off into AAA games territory. I would be more than happy to talk about that end of the industry just as openly as I have about what I have come to know so far. Be patient, but there will be more from me on this very soon!

Until next time,

ZackBellGains #8

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