Happy new year everyone!
Since the holidays are over and a new year has begun I want to do a little recap of my first “year” (more like 3 months) in the world of indie-game developing.
First off I have to say, I was overwhelmed with the Black Pants. I have known Stamm for ages now, but I had only met some of the other guys (not even all of them because they had left for Berlin already) once before starting to work here. Stamm basically vouched for me to be OK, so after a brief talk with Christian I was in. Like a dream, right? Here I was, having played computer games since I was a teenager, always thinking : “Working in the games industry would be cool” but first: How to get into the game industry, and second: “Hey parents, I wanna do something with games…” – sure, son! Fast forward to 2013 and – not so fast forward – through all the crappy jobs I tried before: Kassel, here I am!
Everyone was super-friendly and I instantly felt welcome and at home. I did not really know what to expect but in my mind I was on top of the world. Finally the dream job! But is it really? Is working in the game industry really what a gamer expects it to be? Well, yes and no. The office work is pretty much like I knew it from before. Mostly boring stuff, that needs to be done, but nothing glorious. The hours are like heaven – at least so far (no crunch time yet). The coffee is great. The people are friendly, no stupid office wars or what have you. Everyone is here, because they want to be. No one feels threatened that their job is hanging from a thread, depending on how you can kiss someone’s ass.
I quickly noticed though, that working at an Indie-Dev is not the same as working in the machine that the gaming industry has definitely become. Majors and indies are as far away from each other as compared to the music industry. I really had to readjust my notion of being “successful” making a video game. Of course Black Pants has had great success with Tiny & Big and also with Love & Hate, but we measure success on a different scale as majors do. Success means, we can work for another year, because there is enough money so everyone gets paid a below-average salary. Of course, we had a steep climb from nothing to where we are now, and I guess (compared to people I have talked to), we are well off, so I am not complaining at all! I just want to realize people that we are not in some kind of dream universe where making games makes you rich. It’s hard work and sometimes you have to burn the candle from both ends (see what I did there, Christian 😉 ).
Splitting up the company into two offices (Kassel and Berlin) was not easy for everyone, but the first premiss of Black Pants is: Everyone gets to be happy. If some guys want to live and work in Berlin, we will find a way to make it work. That being said, coming in at a point where the “veterans” had to cope with not being in the same room all of the time was a piece of work for me. Sometimes I felt a little lost because they were just figuring out how to make the information-flow work between the offices and there I was, not knowing much about anything, not always knowing who knew what and when to ask. It took us some time and we came to the conclusion that I would have to visit Berlin and work with them for a few days so I would know exactly what is going on. So I am very happy to tell you, I will go to Berlin next week. Yeeeehaw!
The people I have met while working here are just amazing. My highlight so far definitely was the Spielsalon. It reminded me a bit of going to a music festival. People bonded instantly, people had fun together, talking about a common interest, people played together and it felt like going on gaming vacation. I can’t wait for A Maze. in Berlin this year and hopefully more festivals and conventions when we get close to releasing our next game. Expect news on that topic this year. We are working on our next awesome game, and we are not far away from releasing the first information!
So: conclusion. Have I found my dream job? Hell yeah! Moving to Kassel and joining the Black Pants was the best decision of my life! I am so excited for what will happen next and I am so grateful to have the chance to explore this word of endless wonders and opportunities! (OK, that sounded cheesy, but writing about my job makes me really feel those emotions!)
One last special shout out goes to a fan I met on a Christmas party near my hometown. I was wearing a Black Pants shirt and he came over to me and said: “Cool shirt man, I love their games!” and I was like:”You have no idea!” – So big shout out to Chris (I hope it’s spelled like that, I was so wasted!)
HAVE A GREAT YEAR 2014 FROM ALL OF THE BLACK PANTS!