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What is your day job?

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Juzek
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Off topic a little, but I know you are all so enthusiastic about board games, and sadly few are able to create games full time. I'm curious what sort of day jobs support your hobies, and how much time per week you devote to game design.

I'm a mechanical engineer, who needs a little encouragement because I can only put about 2 hours a week into game design. So while it's always on my mind, I am not at a good stage of life to be able to make a ton of progress.

Stormyknight1976
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Day job

I used to be a dishwasher/cook at a local tavern for 3 1/2 years.

Now I’m a stock inventory runner for local carry out.

Game design for me is at anytime of hour or day or weekends.
My motto: You have to make time to get things done.

Time does not stand still. Time is only for scheduling for work, school and appointments.

You have to make time to fit your schedule and 2 hours is awesome to take time to relax and design.

I’ve designed games at 3 am to 6 am. Had business meetings from 12 am to 4 am. Those are my peak times. Lol

You’ll find more time. Just keep doing what your doing and then add a few more minutes.

Stormyknight1976

Rick-Holzgrafe
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Day Job

I'm a software engineer. I have designed game apps for computers and tablets, though that was never my main day job; but I enjoy table games much more than electronic ones. I agree with StormyKnight, with this slight change: if it's something you really want to do, you will find time for it.

I am fortunate now to be "retired", which in my case only means I don't work for anybody else. I still write software of my own and release it to app stores, I am a performing jazz musician, and of course I am a game designer. I now have more time for the non-software parts of my life, which I am greatly enjoying. But I sold my first game design when I was still a daily employee, and started work on my second during that time also.

Remember, time spent thinking about game design while you're showering, commuting, eating, and doing chores counts! There's no substitute for putting in the work on building prototypes, playtesting, and writing rulebooks, true; but you can do your creative thinking at all kinds of odd times.

Good luck!

Jay103
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Software engineer. I work 0-2

Software engineer. I work 0-2 hours per evening, depending on where I am in the cycle. Add a few hours a day during a live Kickstarter :)

All my original Heroes & Treasure ideas (most of which ended up on the cutting-room floor) were developed while mowing my lawn.

questccg
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I was a Software Engineer

My last semi-permanent position was for a firm where I co-designed a integrated software testing platform. In the industry nothing like it except for some competing testing technology solutions which did not offer the same level of SLA. The software took 6 months to develop until we had an MVP. And it was at that time that the sales team started SELLING the solution to potential clients.

Unfortunately as we refined the capabilities of the solution to do more white box testing into the "core" of the framework (Broker testing), the sales team did hundreds of demos to would-be clients.

They sold the solution to maybe 5 clients ... However most clients were "stand-off-ish" because they felt like this ADDED a "step" to their integration projects: you need to write a test case before developing your integration services. Even though during the test cycle which is mainly a manual process could take 6 or more months depending on the scope of the project and our solution could cut that time in half... The amount of adopters of the solution were not many.

Sadly because of the lack of sales, the implementation team was let go and the project was abandoned.

We had made it... The million dollar software fulfilling a REAL need... But the amount of people willing to buy it was nominal. We had expected 10 million dollars in sales. But we suspect the market was not ready for such a solution. They may use it, IF it comes bundled with the Vendor's platform. And offered free of charge with the goal of improving the odds of adoption of the software.

I took a year of unemployment while I worked on "TradeWorlds". And have taken another year on my own savings allowing me to fully focus on my business... Working on "TradeWorlds" and other projects keeps me going. I've seen figures that the Board Game Industry is worth upwards of 4 Billion dollars and that the market share will grow to 5 Billion by 2020.

I hope to tap into that market and/or find another opportunity "outside" the Software business which finds me disappointed in "the dream" of designing software with purpose for customers to use globally. Also our Montreal market is fractured and the opportunities are rather limiting at the moment. My career coach is working with me to try to find an opportunity in the "Game Design" field or something else which will allow me to pay bills all the while allowing me to focus on what really motivates me.

I'm in my forties (40+) and while software was FUN when I was younger, the new guard of people running the business is ... well ... not very encouraging. If there is another Billion to be made within 2019-2020... My guess is this might be a good market to find some avenues to success.

It doesn't need to be "millions" of dollars... but some form of revenue.

I have many ideas to work on... And it would be great if I could be matched with a Development Studio... Unfortunately it doesn't seem like there are many of those in my area. I think they are far and few in between ... with the exception that Asmodee has offices in Montreal, a couple of small time Publishers do too... (Small is making $500k+ yearly)

So I'm under a lot of pressure... But at the same time I say "Fnck it!" I've had to re-evaluate my goals and have just approached the idea of designing games full-time with my career coach. This is new... Next month we are supposed to do interviews with company representatives to get a better understanding of what MOST companies in my area offer in terms of employment. This will be done with in conjunction with a company representative ... and we'll see what information I can gather.

I had a couple good years... Still very much capable to make do. We'll see what the future holds and what new opportunities it brings!

For all those other Software Engineers... best of luck in the Software Business. Peace!

questccg
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Here are some STATS concerning the Board Game Industry

questccg
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While I was working...

I'd put in about 3-4 hours a day on my Game Design efforts. So something like 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM sometimes 11:00 PM. On Friday nights I would spend a bit more time... Maybe go until 12:00 PM... Same for Saturday nights. Like every one I have family I spend with on Saturday... And my Sunday's were usually open. So a day of working rules or working with an artist on some of the game's sketches, etc.

I was trying to do AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE when I was working. Maximizing my time while "dreaming" about making it a full-time effort.


Another approach that I found useful was not "surfing the net" as much as "reading" design diaries or James Mathe's blog for information relevant to whatever I was currently working on. Checking out Kickstarter for NON miniature games (I mean games designed by CMON and etc.) and sometimes watching Tom Vasal game plays of certain games, obviously keeping an eye on BGDF while I check other facets of Game Design...

It DOESN'T mean you need to PROGRESS on your design every day.

But watching a Video for 15 minutes or listening to a 30 minute podcast you FEEL is important to whatever you are working on is... a step in the right direction. People will give you more things to think about... And when you have that "reflective" time, you can spend time thinking about more and more relevant content.

You've got to personalize your Game Design "experience". Take Dr_Draft's Podcast. He does it once a week. But he spends time EDITING, REVIEWING, RESEARCHING, etc. All that STUFF he does to make a 30 minute podcast is also relevant... because it allows him to learn more about whatever it is that he is working on. So he must like spend at LEAST 10 hours a week to make it possible.

And if you listen to it, it is very interesting... You learn so much in 30 minutes (at least I find it relevant). That's Marvin's way of staying engaged in Game Design. He personalize his "experience" and allows the listener to keep him "accountable" for producing content relevant to his "Quest" of designing an RPG Cooperative Card Game! Very ambitious indeed.


Also while I was WORKING, I gave up television, watching movies, etc. Home entertainment in general and focused most of my efforts when I had some free time to spare on Game Design.

RadarLockGames
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Should have stayed a fireman...

I retired from the fire service in Dec 2014. One benefit I thought I was going to have was all this extra time to turn my garage game-making hobby into something more then a garage game making hobby. It seems that I accomplished a lot on my gaming "stuff" when I was working at the fire station. I have since then taking employment teach Haz-Mat through out the State and I actually have less time to do game development. Between wife's "honey-do" lists and State work, the game stuff keeps gathering dust... Should have stayed a fireman... :)
Dano
RLG

X3M
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I used to work at a lab. But

I used to work at a lab. But then decided to go easy for a while and some changes in life. Now I work as an operator at the same company.

I used to spend hours a day figuring things out for my boardgame. But these days, again the choice for easier things.

let-off studios
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Job Coach

I help people find jobs at my day job in a local non-profit organization. My main responsibility is helping students pass their learner's permit exam for CDL licenses. I also help people land jobs within the local port industries, whether it be warehouse operations, logistics, or freight forwarding.

I've been doing this work for over 12 years, with clients ranging from pre-release inmates in prison, to special needs adults, to currently-employed professionals seeking to improve their credentials. I love the work I do, and the fact I'm paid to do it is just icing on the cake. I consider being an educator for work-based skills and job coaching as my professional identity.

Beyond my other hobbies, I put in about 3 hours or so a week into tabletop game design. Video game design is another hobby of mine (and I'm much more prolific in that, frankly), as are writing, bicycling, nature walks, classic films, and cooking, so I do what I can when I can for each. I actually design games, puzzles, and "game-like activities" for my day job so I engage in the hobby as part of my vocation more than I realize, sometimes.

questccg
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Great stuff!

let-off studios wrote:
I help people find jobs at my day job in a local non-profit organization.

You guys are AMAZING! I have a Job Coach (or Career Coach) and it's amazing what he can do... For example, I told him about a project concerning a web-oriented platform. The next meeting I had with him, he was proposing approaching the Government to get paid to write up a business plan and start a company for the platform. But I've realized I don't like being the CEO. Too much pressure when running a business in the RED, I prefer cash-flow positive types of situations which mean running a business when it's in the black. I'm not one to go out there and speak to VCs and investors, etc.

I saw him about 1 month ago and I told him the platform isn't going to happen because I can't see myself in that role. While the venture is not completely dead... It's on the back-burner. And so I spoke with him concerning an application I made to a local Publisher and explained to him my desire for working in Game Design. He took that and explained that I needed to widen my network circle and reach out to companies ... so that they are acquainted with me and what I want to do.

Anyhow the guy is amazing... It's like he knows all kinds of things about job hunting, creating opportunities, starting ventures, etc.

So good on you for being one of those COOL people ... Who HELP people find opportunities when it seems like there are none. Sometimes you NEED someone to "initiate" an opportunity or "give you a chance", etc. If the market is not "responsive", sometime you need to "make something happen".

If you're half as good as my guy... You are already FANTASTIC, SERIOUSLY!

Cheers!

john smith
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Not surprised, but still

Not surprised, but still disappointed to see "Revamp of "classic games" I prefer to see new ideas, not ideas from my youth mussed up and re-arranged to satisfy the lack of attention span of the modern gamer. TV and Movies are dominated by reboots also. To me that's like taking a classic painting and scribbling all over it. "New and improved" in such instances are two very inaccurate words to describe it for me.
It is all very disappointing. I think I got into this at the wrong time. The hobby has been moving in direction that is less and less appealing to me with each passing year.

I work on games concurrent with writing a Novel, though because of the previously mentioned lack of attention span in society, I am beginning to wonder if a Novel makes much sense these days either. I wonder if there are any money in Vines and Gifs....?

larienna
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I am a library technician

I am a library technician working in a psychiatric hospital. I am also studying again as a computer tech. I am finishing my certificate in networking this year, and will probably do other certificates in IT afterwards.

Else, right now, I am focusing more on trying to make video games. But with school going on, I have little time.

browwnrob
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I work as a data reviewer in

I work as a data reviewer in the analytical dept of a contract pharmaceutical lab. Once the analysts perform the purity testing, its my job to make sure everything is correct, consistent and is compliant with cGMP.

I too have a young family, a 2.5 year old girl and a 10 month old boy.

In addition to that my wife and I are heavily involved with our church and are leaders in the Boys Brigade (a bit like scouts).

It's very hard for me to make time to work on games but it's very therapeutic.

jonathanflike
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Lots of computer folk

I notice a lot of game designers I talk to have some sort of computer or engineering background, but I'm a quality control manager at a biotech company. As far as time spent working on game design, I really try to get in a couple of hours each day. I was slacking for a couple of months, but I'm trying to get back on that schedule. So I do the normal 9-5, go to Starbucks and work on design while traffic dies down, and then head home. It was working really well for me until some games came out that I wanted to play, but now that the love affair is over, it's back to work.

JewellGames
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Full Stack Web Developer

Full Stack Web Developer

questccg
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Out of curiosity

JewellGames wrote:
Full Stack Web Developer

.ASP, .JSP or .PHP?

I can then figure out the backend: Access or SQLServer, Oracle or MySQL.

Or is it something more esoteric like Ruby, Perl or Python???

JewellGames
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Languages used in large and

Languages used in large and small projects this past year:

PHP
MySQL
Python

Java
Javascript/Vbscript/HTA
VBA/Access for some legacy systems

Primarily creating web applications in Pivotal Cloud Foundry these days.

harmon89
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Video editor

I'm a video editor, primarily working with Premiere and After Effects, however I do dabble in 3d modeling and animation from time to time.

Fertessa
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I'm a quality control

I'm a quality control analyst, currently. My team develops online lessons for hospitals and nursing aids, and I have to make sure everything looks right, before the client sees it. As for designing, it's hard to calculate how much time I spend designing. I brainstorm on the train ride to and from work, while I'm working, while I'm on break, while I'm listening to game podcasts. It's just a flux of ideas and problem solving that I write down to ponder over at my leisure.

The only time I purposefully set aside time for game design is when I've set a deadline for myself, like for a contest, or a convention, or an upcoming playtest with friends. And even then, I don't have a set amount of time in mind. I just put on my music and clear my time so I can get into a design groove without interruption, and work until my body forces me to get up, or my mind wanders too much because I'm bored.

MAR
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Day Job

My primary day job is working for a local government emergency management agency as a planner. I love designing and playing games, but my time varies day to day. Some days I have no time and others could be many hours.

-Austin

I Will Never Gr...
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Full time Day Job, I'm a web

Full time Day Job, I'm a web offset (5 color, single web) printing press operator.

Feels-like-Full-time Gaming Hobby job, I own/operate I Will Never Grow Up Games, an online gaming shop, publishing company and news outlet. Finding time for this one can be difficult some times but I usually put in at least a few hours a week (an hour+ per day when I can with a few hours on the weekend), but the past few months have been rough.

Design comes in spurts too. It's important to take a break from your designs once in a while so you don't burn out.

Jay103
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What's the 5th color?

What's the 5th color? Something like spot UV? Or a pantone thing?

Do you get a deal on printing your manuals? :)

I Will Never Gr...
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Jay103 wrote:What's the 5th

Jay103 wrote:
What's the 5th color? Something like spot UV? Or a pantone thing?

Do you get a deal on printing your manuals? :)

5th color is for varnish or pantone spot color (mostly varnish).

I WISH I got a deal. Unfortunately (fortunately for me when it comes to work though!) we do long run printing, so anything short of 5000 is cheaper to do elsewhere. Most of our jobs are in the 20,000 to 250,000 copy range and since the press runs at about 40,000 copies per hour it doesn't make much sense to run 5-10 minute jobs.

X3M
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I wans't planning on bragging or going into detail

Some go very detailed with what they do for a job. I never thought that anyone would be interested in what I did exactly. But I am certainly not a programmer.

Would it help to say that I used to do lab work. Where I supplied numbers for the operators. (Also made sure the lab(machines) kept working while it was not my task. And still do if they aren't looking :) ).
And now I am one of the underestimated operators and make "cleaner" water at a 160M³ a day?

Making water clean? That is not easy if you start with...
acids, bases, oil, sludge, biowaste, seawater and other exotic chemical wastes.

We get water, burnable sludge and burnable oil after the process.

And yes, the water after the process is good enough to send it to a water process plant, that makes drinking water of it. That's right, the waste that I receive, will I be drinking 1 month later from my tap.

Our company is relative small. But we certainly can make a living out of it.

questccg
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That too sounds pretty righteous!

That sounds like some very positive "environmental" work! I mean converting acids, bases, oils, sludge, bio-waste and exotic chemicals ... sound a lot like the problem of "pollution" caused by human manufacturing and chemical process in a lot of the stuff that we people do...

It's definitely something worthy and something to be proud of!

All environmental causes especially the ones that can help reduce the amount of toxins in our water, are important processes that the world should pay more attention to!

Congrats on having such a "righteous" employment... Definitely a "good cause" too...

Tim Edwards
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There's GOT to be a board

There's GOT to be a board game in there somewhere!

I'm an English language teacher (ESL), dealing mainly with adults. I used to teach abroad, but settled at home in the UK now.

I think about game design constantly when I'm not working.

I wonder if there are any other bgdfers who aren't in technical fields? I'm sure I read one guy mention that he was an ESL teacher too...

gibralter5
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Not in a technical field

I'm currently working as a custodian part time while in school for graphic design. So you're not the only one in a non-technical field. :)

Tim Edwards
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Are you ever tempted to abuse

Are you ever tempted to abuse both your position of responsibility and skills by doing amazing graphic design on the walls once everyone has gone home?

AdamRobinGames-ARG
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Civil Engineer, Church Board Chairman, Financial Coach and Dad

So I'm a bit of a Jack of all trades. First and foremost, I'm the father of two young girls (with hopes of talking my wife into more). They are also the reason I don't get as much time with game design as I'd like, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

My primary job is in Civil Engineering, where I design sewer and water mains (some of the most important work you'll hopefully never see). This provides the income to support game design hobby. I'm trying to get out of engineering though. To much checking boxing, not enough actual design/problem solving.

I am also the church board chairman and one of the youth leaders at our church. This fortunately doesn't require a tremendous amount of time, except when it is time for the Easter or Christmas plays.

Lastly, I am trying to grow my financial coaching (so I can get out of engineering). It started out as a ministry at our Church. Then when I started the kids college funds, my advisor offered to have me work with him. It's been a slow process, but I enjoy helping people with this over making sure crap flows down hill.

As mentioned above, kids come first, so I really don't have any consistent time dedicated to game design. Some weeks, I can eak out up to about 16 hours in a week (usually in the evenings, or if the stars align and the girls nap at the same time on weekends). And other times I won't touch them for a month. But with the help of my wonderful wife, we've managed to put together 4 games which are being play tested with friends. Current plan is to continue developing games and to refine the ones being tested till we have the time to start talking to publishers and money to go to conventions without hindering our retirement goals.

As noted earlier, it is a bit uncanny the number of computer and engineering folk who get into this.

let-off studios
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Teaching

Tim Edwards wrote:
I wonder if there are any other bgdfers who aren't in technical fields? I'm sure I read one guy mention that he was an ESL teacher too...
I'm in job-related/vocational education, and have so far avoided direct application in highly-technical fields such as engineering, computer networking, and mathematics. So you're not alone in that. :)

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