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Spritemage Games

Created: 2024-Apr-26

I’m excited to tell you about Spritemage Games, but to be honest it’s so new there’s not much yet to tell, so most of this will be explaining what led me to founding Spritemage Games.


The Goal that Became Spritemage Games

Building video games has always been a dream. Some of my earliest memories are of playing Duck Hunt for NES, and making games out of the real world in the way that kids often do (the stick is a sword, baseball bat, wizard staff, …).

I built my first “video game” in 2007. It was about 1 minutes long, and involved 2 or three interactive clicks followed by some animations that moved, rotated and stretched a .png of Mario as he traversed scaffolding on a static background. My second video game wasn’t until 2015, and was a fully functioning rebuild of the Atari classic Asteroids done for a software development course in community college.

However neither of these experiences gave me the confidence to pursue the goal, and before community college graduation I got hired by IBM and swept into the corporate world. The next 6 years were a whirlwind of meetings and REST APIs. Not bad, but busy, and within that busy-ness business it was easy to convince myself that I simply didn’t have enough experience to pursue my goals directly and that I needed to keep working within the structure I was already in.

Then, a deep breath.

Career Catalyst

When I got laid off, for the first time in my adult life I had significant free time. I spent more time with my family, and taking my dog for long walks. I read a few books I had always wanted to read in spaces adjacent to my career experience, learning more about distributed databases, and taking a tour of C++.

Amidst reading those, and applying to jobs hopefully, I had the luxury of time for peaceful contemplation, and I had time to look at some unfocomfortable questions. Questions such as “Why did I limit myself to backend development after taking education and apprenticing in the full stack?”, and “Why am I anxious of being asked to do technical projects and tests even though I generally test well and have worked in the field for years?”

One of the big realizations was that my overly-academic approach was likely a crutch. Books are great, but in order to feel comfortable in any job, I needed to orient my career more around DOING, rather than just learning what can be done. This was something I had figured out within a work setting (and had started to see good success with within the last couple years especially), but hadn’t yet applied to my career asipriations outside my day job.

A related issue was that I hadn’t initiated many projects myself. Most projects in my day jobs were already underway when I was onboarded, and even “new projects” within those environments rely on a lot of existing infrastructure. To build the best version of myself, I needed to build projects from scratch, experience owning every aspect of those projects, and embrace working in skillsets that are not yet within my circle of strong competency.

Barbell Catalyst

Alongside this contemplation, I was lifting weights. I was putting in the sweat and effort, applying myself consistently, and seeing results in numbers. Coming up to my 1 year lifting anniversary my numbers are exhilerating:

  • Bench: 109kg (240lbs)
  • Squat: 184kg (405lbs)
  • Deadlift: 230kg (507lbs)

Those numbers aren’t prodigious, but they’re quite good, and I’m proud of them. However, beyond my pride there’s a reason I share this: Weightlifting has been instrumental in building my confidence and overall mental health.

The software industry is not easy on the head. No matter what you produce, the business will always want more, and it’s notoriously difficult to measure performance. These and a few other factors lead to a high rate of imposter syndrome.

Weightlifting is the opposite. You drive the goals, you determine the effort applied, and you own the entirety of the results. Results that are measurable and objective.

That, plus all the good chemicals your body creates from exercise all add up to fantastic mental health, and a sense of achievment (especially if you learn to set achievable initial goals and celebrate small wins along the way!).

The Confidence of Doing

Of course, the confidence of weightlifting doesn’t directly translate into the specific skills required to start or run a business. Instead I think what it does is build up enough confidence that you can generally do hard things to convince yourself to take the plunge into a new hard thing, and learn along the way.

To help bridge between existing confidence and new domains, we can prove out small portions of a venture before committing to the full thing. For example, if starting a software company, learning to program and proving out some programming skill is probably a good idea.

My thoughts when building this blog were along these lines. I thought that if one is planning to strike out as a solo dev and publish a product that will generate revenue, publishing something purley for its own sake might build confidence and skill in the domain of publishing, so that is a known quantity in the next venture.

Similarly, publishing for myself gave me more confidence in publishing creative work in general. That, plus my first few video game prototypes earlier this year, gave me the confidence to found Spritemage Games.

Spritemage Games

Spritemage Games is an indie video game development studio, currently working on a 3D puzzler, with early access release slated for early June 2024.

Setting off on this new venture is scary, but in the way that exciting adventures are scary.

Looking forward to telling you more about it as the date gets closer!