The Power of Paid Free Time

TLDR: If you are in a small company, petition for free time to explore concepts that can benefit the company and make you better.

Working for a small company has its benefits but also its draw backs. One is that since the team is less than 10 people everyone needs to work hard to get the project done even if it goes out of your job description. And this is good in the sense that you can feel like your accomplishing something, and when you’re not, it’s easy to identify the holes. But since you’re working almost all the time it can sometimes feel more of a drag then fun and creative.

So my boss decided to start something called "Freeday Fridays". it is basically the same as google's and doublefine's idea of give your employees free time to make stuff for the company. On the outside it seems like I am getting paid to not do work but really I am working and loving what it does to me. You see having this free time to develop something that I want to make and a game that I want to play, gives me motivation on knowing this was the right career choice, that being with this company is the right thing to be doing. I work harder and better because of this. It’s not like I just spend all week wishing it to be Friday, quite the opposite. It really just reminds me that even if the game I am programming is not something I want to play, I can really learn and grow from that and that can be beneficial to my skill.

Now we come to the fourth of July, and the company is having a game jam, if you don't know what that is you have a set amount of time to make a "playable" game. Since it was a long weekend the company broke into 2 person teams and had 4 days to make a game. We also had daily meetings were everyone showed off what they did and gave feedback to other teams. Most people if you told them they were expected to do crunch over a holiday they would just say no. But not me, I was so excited because I knew I could use this as a long going project for my Fridays that actually had a goal ( before I was making just small games using different engines sdks etc ) . So it started and not much sleep was had but we got something that I am so proud of and even though I can't work on it full time I get motivated to work on it when I can. And I see that I am doing better with my other projects that are for reals as working hard to be the very best you can will make everything better.

So I spent last weekend working on it, making it nice to show people. Still have some things I want to get done before I can make a real trailer trailer. I had monster fighting combat working sort of but not to the level I was ready to show. Even the bug battles we are not 100% sure on how we want them to play out, most likely a turn based system. But I have enough of the concepts we want this game to be to make a quick video. It is strange how you can get attached to things that you have done but not in a suffocating way but in a way that you can say to yourself, man I want to make this better so bad, and be motivated to do so. That is what I have for this, maybe it is the music which I love our sound guy so much but I can't stop watching or playing and taking notes on things that I want to make better, then doing it.

I guess I should say that I am not every good a motivational text, speaking one on one I am good but I can ramble. But I hope that some of this gets through to people. Work hard and spend time creatively doing in your field as it will open yourself to be better.

So Check out the prototype video and feel free to ask any questions.