Sunday, December 11, 2016

The butterfly effect of salary system

In my previous post I did praise a lot about salary. However! there is a catch!

I once thought, when I am rich I would make a company that allows flexible time. If you are done with the work early you should be able to go home sooner. If you need to be absent tomorrow then you can work overtime for 2-3 days to make up for one man day that you will be absent. Why can't you work from home and measure work based on your task? Or other thoughts along these line.

Then I talked these with my friends why no such company exists in common. The answer is surprising, it's all because the after effects of a salary system!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Success and scale

I have an interesting idea of how to approach making games for living.

You might have heard that game X is a "commercial failure". That's because the profit could not compensate money spent.

Based on that instance, many pro game creators is going around talking what kind of games can earn money, be it gacha game or match-3 with lives, but in the end your "design" is limited by this kind of situation.

I could not make a simple 2D action game because it would fail commercially. For example.

Then I have an interesting idea, what if I think this way, if I manage to reduce money spent on the game? What if I degraded to working alone so the large cost of salary money for team is going away? What if I does not party every now and then and save money?

Suddenly, I think many possibilities have opened. Many "low money" design is now possible depends on your scale...

Looking at the music game I am working now. To think about it, the game would fail if I did not work alone! The salary cost would heavily outweighs its monetization design. If I want to have teammates I might have to change its IAP model to something other company is doing. But thinking in other way, because I am working alone and cutting cost, a new game design is now possible! Isn't that exciting? A game where a lot of content is free and that is possible because not much money is needed for the devs, the players might be happy and feel refreshing to play, and also sufficient for me alone to live from it..

Someone said, making a game is not a one man show. But that really depends on your game's scale. By reducing the team size, at the same time you can reduce the requirement for your game to become a success. What is a success? Success is when you are happy with your work. That might be you get enough money from it or you are proud of it.

The post does not have conclusive end, just an interesting thought.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The wonders of salary

The more I work alone, the more I thought "salary" is such a very good system.

By having the required skill set, you can register to receive money periodically! It's like from that very moment, you have become invincible already! I learned this by having no income, as of currently. Moreover, it's "waiting for you". The job, that is. Without this system, you have to "get creative" to get money. You just can't "drop in" and get it.

That is not all, I found that now you can subconsciously abuse this system by slacking off at work. The work stops, but your income does not because it depends on time. You are free to slow down or speed things up later in a month to meet your requirement, and you still receive steady income. I found this out after I realized when I work alone, if I stop, I basically became a trash. I yield nothing at all! (absolutely nothing!) Even when I am studying in schools back then, when I slack off and play around I still "going" towards the "goal" (graduation). At day job, slacking off still nets me salary at the end of the road.

Moreover, you are actually more happy with your work with salary system. Everyone is happy when their efforts paid off, and that is what salary ascertain you. Not only that, you are loyal and happy to your work because salary "never betrays you, never lies to you". Almost surely you will get money from salary.

I learned this from doing a game team with no salary but with post-launch income dividends. You got to have a next level of self-push, because you will be "betrayed" when what you do does not paid off. And this shows as my teammates loses motivation real fast without salary system. I understand that the result is not immediate, not worth it even. But not everyone have extreme self-push so I don't blame them. Because looking at myself, I am basically killing myself little by little right now (and no one want to be a part of that?).

Also, I have real respect to "someone" who pays salary now. Before this I have never thought about it, even when I receive month allowing from my parents. Now when I thought how much money I will lose if my 3 other friends were to get salary (and in turn be more happy, more loyal to work, more friendlier to me too) it turns out that in only 2-3 months I would go bankrupt with nothing to eat. (Me alone can survive for 1.5 years minimum) That makes me thought, all those company that pays salary to employers each months are truly awesome. How did they do that! What if the income does not turn out well! In salary system, you can survive together with few great people that will certainly share some money with you.

It's kind of like ads system in games nowadays, even in my game too. I don't know what kind of millionaires paid so much money into ads which in turn goes to my pocket when people watch it. I even feel sad for them because I am leeching money of them while probably someone who watch ads does not care about their content at all. But... it's like salary in the way I get paid by rich people, and this feels really "safe". I respect them too.

Lastly, to those who have salary (and even "bonus") and is complaining about your low numbers, the salary system itself is your valuable asset! It is so common that maybe you haven't thought about it, but it is truly wonderful. Please be proud and protect it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The story continues today

Today I am already in Thailand.

I spent 6 days organizing my luggages, my room, and clean up my computer. Getting rid of academic stuffs! haha! (To the 1TB external HDD) And also finished my tasks for BOFU2016 doujinshi event.

Reading previous blog posts it surely was painful in Japan. (in terms of game development) But in exchange I got several other good experiences especially doujinshi stuffs. That was a good trade!

As planned, I am taking this full-time from today onwards. This post is short, but below is the UR-rare picture of myself in commemoration of this (epic) re-opening!

I am very hungry so after eating something I should fire up Unity, and probably bug my other 3 friends to do something again. Time is limited because my savings from Japan will keep decreasing so I better hurry. See you!

Friday, September 30, 2016

So long, research life.

Finally I have finished my master degree. I got that "certificate" that my mother wanted so bad. Now, my plan is going back to Thailand to try make a game, or make other things.

What I have learned from this is, I am definitely not a researcher. (And I am glad that I have spent 2 years in my life to realize this early, rather than later on.)

There is one time last year that my researcher said "Even a monkey could make game" when he is persuading me to continue my work faster because he thought I was wasting time making games and music. (In fact I have no time to touch the game at all.)

I did not argue because that would be a waste of time, but I think he does not mean literally (but maybe a monkey could make tic-tac-toe, I guess) but he means making games is just following instructions and program on until it is finished, contrary to "researching". Now, the reason I bring this up is because I am going to talk about why I am not a researcher. It is a mindset like this that I don't understand. Maybe he thinks researching is much more interesting and more complex.

First of all, I am not a monk, so I find that harvesting happiness in life is "good".  People like me find happiness from making useful things that make others happy. This is the same as researchers, they invent new methods/knowledge for the better world. But as I will soon explain, I am a "maker",  not researcher. I found researching prohibits many things that could potentially bring me happiness.

Initially, "researching" seemed to be a pinnacle, purest form of inventing, making things. I like making things, so isn't researching ideal for me? I discovered that, in researching, many "interesting" things does not qualify to be a research.

For example, if I make a game, it worked well and 500,000+ people downloaded it. No matter what I say it won't be a research. But in fact, the game does have many "new" things that cannot be put out easily as a research. (In fact, it worked because of those new things) I would like to say that my game worked and resonate with so many people because I combined frame-to-frame animation with Tom and Jerry style screen cut, along with comedic sound effects. Now that's interesting. And definitely makes other people happy. But it is an application so it is not a research. On the contrary, this could not be put out as a paper because all of them works as a whole application.

I have more games design, more arcade design, more music to make, or more food products to try to cook. All of them probably is not a research. But definitely making new things. It requires trial and errors just like researching. To make music I also have to learn about which of millions combination of beats, melody, and synth parameters that will work together. I think this is the bigger side of researching, or making, that I want to be in.

In my master degree, I felt limited even though I am in the place "most suitable for invention". Maybe by the various systems such as attending class, lectures, meetings, strive for publications, getting money for survival and place to stay, and finally getting degrees. All of this for an exchange of being able to stay in good place to create new things, that is also limited to your lab's interest. In the end, I am wondering what I am doing in this system and does that truly contribute to what I really want? I believed what I do is a form of researching, but not in this system.

I feel like, I am in a cycle of trying to please someone or something, that is not directly related to what I want to learn about. Publications, fundings, etc.. And you have to adapt your dream to your supervisor too.

On the other hand, Introloop, one of my work that I am really proud of, I think that IS a research. I managed to find a way to play audio file that loops seamlessly in Unity to any point. I learned a lot, I can make use of it, and no one have ever done it before, and this is definitely what I want to do. But I can imagine this would be funny as a research paper. I can put it in more fancy, research term like "Introloop : A Method to Play Looping Audio File With an Intro in Unity Without Cutting the File.", but again I kind of don't like that you have to complicate things up to get to the paper-level.

Of course you have to follow the system if you are in the research field, because you have to live from fundings, from publications. But I thought, if I take a day job to earn money for living and then using that money as a funding for my own research, that sounds equivalent and even more interesting. Salary, surely is a good system.

I could not put out my research as a paper, but I can as a product. And definitely that can bring happiness to others just like a research paper. And I am definitely learning entirely new things everyday from making things.

So in my opinion, researching does limits something, for me at least. I feel like my research (which I spend very long time on) does absolutely nothing for no one. When I cook food for 2 friends I felt more happiness than this. When I make music for 20 or so listeners I felt more happiness than this. It should be the case that my research sucks, but that is the more reasons that I am not a researcher.

Probably, I will continue enjoying making things and discovers many new things along the way like what researchers do, and enjoy when others benefit from the creation you made just like what researchers enjoy. But maybe the correct term for me is a maker.

I just type on without planning again, so this post might be hard to read. If my professor see this he would say "the worst blog post I have ever read!" (that might be true, haha) but I won't edit this because it represents my random thoughts well.

PS. I just realize what I usually blog has a word coined. lol

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Finishing line

This time I will keep things minimal. Pictures say a lot more than words. This blog post is a beautiful memorial of my once-in-a-lifetime master degree study. It might not mean much to anyone else, but when I read these things I can instantly recall every bitter moments that I have gone through.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

I did it.

I did it.

I FINALLY fucking did it!

No, it is not a completion of the new game. I just finished my MASTER THESIS.

Why is this matter to Exceed7? Because finally I can go back to continue developing the game once more. This thing have been keeping me busy since January. Some might think that, it is impossible that something can take you that much time. You surely have some time to make games right? In that 8 months..

No, because I also have life. I have to play games. I have to go relax. I have to eat out. Making games is not a relaxing activity. It's the thing I want to do for real. It is in the same category as studying, making thesis, making music,  practice drawing, etc.

So yeah, that means the time that I can use to make game becomes NONE. Of course I can remove sleep or other things to continue making games. And yes I already did that, but it is not enough. I already have to practice Japanese, want to participate in doujinshi music making events like BMS, and making thesis at the same time... the slots are all occupied.

Now that making thesis is gone, finally I can insert "making games" back to my schedule!

The time I spent in joining Japanese music making community is not for nothing. I gained a lot of rivals, I make better music now, and most importantly, I gained connections with music making friends. In Japan, no, everywhere, you become friends after you have something. Sadly when you have nothing then the relationship is not as deep.

The friendship from making music is simply because we all have our own music that we became friend. Even if the music is horrible, experimental, or godly, by doing something, you already have something of your own. Works is the defining character in the doujinshi world. The friend list in my Japanese Twitter, I related all of them to their work because I haven't even met them, but I can see their character from the music. What if I removed their music?  Although it is a bit cruel to say this, I think they will become just a "random person". This is sad, but true. This is how important "the work" that you should have is.

Think about your university friends. Imagine you met each other yesterday on the street. You would not become friend, even if both of you are nice. Because you shared nothing in common. In university, you spent a lot of (possibly difficult) time together. After that, we might be different in other things but we are still friends. The same is happening here in music making community, we are just connecting in Twitter but we keep in touch because once we competed together, and we keep monitoring each other's growth. This is definitely the spirit of doujinshi creators.

Back to the game's topic. What I just said is related to the new game that is coming in 2017. I really want to feature these Japanese friends in the game, and even the story of this game will be inspired from my experience with them. This, I believe is not what most game makers can achieve because the relationship I have build with them is not via business, it's personal. No investors can get the connections I have now with any amount of money. And I am sure this will make my new game unique, from the inside.

Well, for now, let's boot up Unity program! Long time no see!

Just you wait!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

What I want Exceed7 Experiments to be?

First of all, I really admired Rayark Inc. They seemed to be having fun and they make cool and meaningful games. Not a single blatant moneygrab clone in their profile. That's all what I like.

So, the reason of me typing this is of course I am near graduation this coming October. After that as you might know from previous entries I am going to give a shot at this making game things on my own. Maybe I can have a work that also contribute to the life's goal at the same time.

If not, I can still take up day job and get some money to make games too. But of course if Exceed7 can stand on its own it would be better for me. An awesome life for me.. I can make game and also have money! Yay!

So! What would I want Exceed7 to be like? First of all I don't care being rich and I don't care about expanding too much. I don't ever want to be the next Facebook, Apple, Alibaba, whatever. It's too much and meaningless for me (really). First of all I want Exceed7 to be able to support me only. That is maybe I could have a comfortable home and maybe raise a family with it?

I have saw many game company with more business attitude and certainly I think Exceed7 is different. I am in Thai Game Developer Group and several others and they envy when a new break out that certain game became big hit and gross big income. (Stardew Valley for example) Surprisingly all those news did not excite me that much, but I am excited when certain company made a damn cool games. These company for example is Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team, Rayark, Inticreates, Whoopee Camp (bonus internet point for someone who know this!) and several others. I really want Exceed7 to be like them. (plus worldwide success if possible, but not mandatory)

And then I want friends from it. I want a kind of game making company that bring me close connection. Having connection is happiness in life. That means large company is meaningless, since I won't be able to get to know many person in my company. Look at local bank branch office. Even with only this one branch I don't think that the CEO knows one specific programmer. That company is seeking money and the employers is an important gear in it I know, but it is not what Exceed7 is going to be. Maybe 10 team members consists of all music gamers? Might be great.

Next I would make cool things I want to do. Currently, you see, I have 3 music games idea I want to make. And 2 Steam games. And in my furthest dream one music game arcade! Though I doubt it would be worth it to put your money in the machine to play that game.. And I also want to build a MIDI controller! I also want to be fluent in Japanese! I also want to come to Japan more and talk fluently with my composer friends in Twitter more! Probably with some friends from Exceed7 that have the same interest. And maybe sell my own music CD in the Comiket/M3!

If I can craft Exceed7 Experiments to fulfill as many of these at the same time as possible it would be wonderful isn't it!! That's the answer. I want Exceed7 Experiments to be like that.

But how? I haven't thought about it yet that much. But for example the Japanese part could be fulfilled by making the game available in Japanese with my own try-hard translation. That could improve my Japanese skill. (I can still fulfill that dream even if Exceed7 cannot stand on its own by taking day job about Japanese translation too, or maybe a manga scanlation group, but for the best it has to be in Exceed7!) The travel to Japan part, well, I would have to make quite a lot of money lol, but surely not the millionaire level. For the music selling, I would have to make music game of course then I can sell the music also! I will put my friend's music from Japan into my music game, so I could be more close to them! We might be able to throw another meetup party! Yakiniku!

For normal company, Japanese translation would be obtained by using localization service/ publisher. That's efficient, and make your product come out faster. But I choose the roundabout way of learning Japanese on my own and do it just because I really want to do it and I want the skill itself. To think about it, drawing also that I chosen this path. I want to be able to draw so I use my own drawing in Duel Otters. Of course the result is not top-notch, but I managed to get the entire game looks ok with my drawing somehow and I did learn many tricks about drawing program.

If the meaning of company is to seek maximum profit, then Exceed7 might as well not be a company anymore because I keep doing things that minimize profit like these. But I think company should not simply be a place for gaining money, it must advance the life of yourself and all of your team members. Learn something new, discover something new. Company's task should able a person to do something one wants to do for long time, open up to the new world, that is not possible previously before joining. I want me and everyone in Exceed7 to get that.

If I want to get rich I might as well learn to do stock trading, but the problem is time. Even if I learned to trade enough that I can gain 50 millions from stock I cannot even buy some of what I already get right now. Including making Duel Otters and be loved by many Japanese players, getting featured in magazine, meet Japanese composer at events and yakiniku. All of these is possible because I put time into it, and that something often is not optimal for gaining money. I gained life, and I think this is very cool. And probably I want to use the time I have in the future to get more of these. So you can say maybe I will never get rich quick, unless some of these accidentally cross path with something that make me rich. (But I know it is usually not the case especially making music for hobby) Also I think having low money is kind of fun too. It's like low-level challenge of some sorts.

Look, I might be able to craft Exceed7 to connect many of these things together. But of course I have to finish this diabolical master thesis first. (I type all these things immediately after this blog post, if you can read Thai it will make sense.)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Why no invest? The fear, the debt, and the point of making games.

Now this is one of the blog which will not make sense when I read it again, I will just type and type according to what comes to my mind!

Few days ago I have read many things in Facebook page that houses many elite Thai game developers. That make me realize a string of many things, about me, my game and explains many things about my situation.

The first question to think about is why are we (game devs) making games?

In the group I mentioned there are many people who make games for living. They found company, they invest and they mainly hope for revenue return.

Now the most cliche thing to counter would be, what did you use to make games if you cannot earn money? Are you making games for free? No, that's not what I meant, but there are still more people who making money is essential, but not the main concern.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Why I'm not using my money!

I am still studying in Japan. Many times I refuse to do something with money reason, some friends told me, you have MEXT scholarship! Why!

So I made this post so that I can link them to here.

Short answer is : it's not enough for my games and life after graduation.

In previous posts I already decided to go back to Thailand to finish off the new music games at young age. However in that game I can't do everything as I wish like in Duel Otters. I need cooperation from 1. Music artist and 2. Illustrators. (My art is what you see in mini game stages in Duel Otters. I definitely don't want that in a music game!)

Friday, March 11, 2016

I am at another turning point of my life.. go back and take risk? Or stay?

I will graduate from NAIST, Japan in October 2016. (this year!)

That's so fast! Other than hopeless academic paper I am trying to pursue right now, the question is, what next?

Do I want to stay here and work a bit longer? This is tempting, as I will have more chance to learn more Japanese language.. which does not happen in this master degree course because I have been so busy.. maybe it is also easier to go to some game conference, comiket or M3. (I went to JAEPO this year to watch FEFEMZ pwns everyone live in DDR!)

I made some Japanese friend who compose music in Twitter.. I even managed to met one IRL... maybe if I stay here that kind of experience will come again?

If that is what I want from this country.. now it's time to do job hunting isn't it?