So, I work in an office now.
When I first started this game development gig, I loved not having an office. I was free of the standard 9 to 5 drudgery that plagued most of mankind. I had total flexibility. I could work when I wanted. And if I was sick of working from home, I could pack up the laptop and go to one of the many cafés in my neighborhood. For three years I worked this way. But I had to admit, I was getting a bit tired of it.
Three years ago, I thought it was so cool that I could make games from a café. I wrote Shivah from a now defunct café called Cima in Tribecca. I wrote Blackwell Legacy from the Cosi’s in Union Square. Blackwell Unbound? Any Starbucks within a 5 block radius of my apartment – of which there are many. I felt cool. I was the Guy Who Made Games From Cafés. It was, I have to admit, very indie.
But, lately, the whole laptop-in-a-café thing has become absurdly common. And I’m not saying that it became so trendy and thus not cool, but rather it’s become a bloody chore to work in those places now. You walk into a Starbucks and the place is crammed with laptop-users. Past 10am, you can hardly get a table, let alone one near an electrical outlet. I found myself rushing to get to a café early so I could snag a good spot, which totally defeated the point of having a flexible schedule.
Of course, if the cafés became a pain I could always work from home. Whenever there was administrative stuff to deal with, I would always work from the desk in my apartment. But even this had become tiresome. I could never really “leave” work, so I was always stuck in work mode. I would look over at my desk and see my laptop and my design notes and tons of paperwork and I wouldn’t be able to relax. My apartment is a one-room studio, so it wasn’t like I could go into the next room.
Then my gamedev buddy Julia told me that her company, Arkadium, was renting out some of their empty desks. The price seemed right, and after some deliberation, I decided to go for it.
I’ve been here for two weeks and so far… I love it! It’s ten blocks from my apartment, so there’s no commute. They’ve got DSL, so my internet connection is wicked speedy. It’s reasonably quiet. I know a bunch of people here. I get access to the Arkadium coffee machine. I can come and go whenever I want. They let me bring the dog. I can leave all my paperwork and documents here. And, best of all, when I’m done for the day I can leave it all behind and just enjoy being home. Then I’m fresh and energized the next day.
I was always an advocate of coffee-shop game development, and I not saying that I’ve given up on it entirely. When I first started out, it was awesome! But now? I need to keep my personal and professional lives separate. For a long time, they were becoming interchangeable and that’s never a healthy place to be.