So, with 2013 coming to a close ( or has, now I’ve finally finished this post! ) it’s probably about time I gibber a bit in a post to see what’s gone on.
The year started with me dealing with ATOS and illness.. I still think it’s horrifically wrong that what equates to a 5 – 10 minute interview determines whether you legitimately are unfit for work or not, but that’s the system. Either way, I have been fighting through my depression and anxiety for over a year now, and every day I am clawing back what I had. It’s progress
I also started on the path of my dream this year, and officially set up Arcade Badgers Limited through the help of the Princes Trust, Business Gateway, the Dundee Development Grant and the New Enterprise Allowance. One of the first things I did when I went to the JobCentre was rather than accepting ATOS’ decision of being put on the Work Related Activity Group, I asked to be put on the New Enterprise Allowance. This helped immensely in providing initial funding for me to find my feet, produce a quick prototype, and then a small web-based game – Germies!
Ok, so the Badgers hasn’t done particularly well with Germies, unfortunately… but we’re still poking about with things, and the company hasn’t quite gone completely bankrupt yet. Bills are still being paid, and it’s ticking over at least, if not actually earning anything or even managing to pay a wage!
A couple of important things with the Badgers, however.
First off, we got approved for Microsoft BizSpark, which has helped immensely in providing us software to actually get work done! While I may prefer the Linux platform, I cannot ignore Windows, so having access to MSDN and everything is a massive boon.
We also got approved for dev access to PS3, Vita, Wii U and 3DS. There might not be enough money in the coffers to purchase dev kits for everything at the moment, but it does allow me to read up on documentation and ensure things at least compile. We do have a Wii U devkit and have been tinkering with it… will update on that at a later date
Additionally, we have built a few important links with people. Germies! was picked up by the Toon Goggles service, as well as HoodaGames, and got some good feedback which we can use to further develop it.
So yes, although the Badgers hasn’t quite been successful, it hasn’t completely caved in on itself either.
As for other things on the go, I got a bit of interest with YoYo Games and eeGeo; both of which giving me interviews and a little programming challenge. I spectacularly mucked up the eeGeo one as I was at Claire’s parents at the time and didn’t have access to my Game Programming Gems ( where the very first one does in fact have a gem on what I was supposed to do, and would’ve helped point out the idiot mistake I did! ) however, I still progressed to the phone interview stage. I thank them for their time for entertaining a lunatic like me, as I gibbered a fair bit during the phone interview, and it turned out I was perhaps a bit too rusty for what they were requiring ( algorithmic programming and lots of maths, from what I understood. )
As for YoYo, they too gave me a programming challenge which I fared better in, and then brought me in for a face to face interview; where I also gibbered a bit in. While they didn’t have a place for me at the time they originally interviewed me, they recently got back in touch with me to see if I was still available, and I started work with them just a couple of weeks before Christmas!
This helps tremendously as it means I am back on a steady wage, and they’re completely happy with me continuing on the Badgers on the side. It also means I’m working primarily on tech with my day job, and games with my night job – so I shouldn’t get burnt out as easily of tackling the same type of problems all the time.
It’s not been an easy year at all, but we’ve got through it.
Here’s hoping that 2014 is the year of the Badger