Making games for a living is often seen as a dream job and, in my experience, it’s that and more! For the past 5+ years, I have been designing, developing, and distributing video games from the comfort of my home in Karachi, Pakistan. I love my work and I’m fortunate to be the one-in-a-million developer that had everything go right.
But I don’t just get to make games 24/7…so much work is required to maintain a business like mine.
Today I want to share a day in the life of a professional game developer to offer some insights into the realities of making games for a living. Of course, there is more to my life than I could cover in a blog post, but I hope this provides food for thought to upcoming game developers.
I like to wind down the latter half of my day with light work. Tasks like blogging, research, organisation and planning, and more tedious work is best done now. If I have any real-life errands to run, they can be a convenient distraction at this point in the day. I might have one last coffee or something stronger.
I tend to finish work at 8:00 PM if it’s a normal day, having spent about 11 hours working. Whether I actually got any significant amount of work done depends on how distracted I let myself become. It’s so easy to spend all day at a computer and not truly be productive, and that’s something I had to train myself to avoid.
Sometimes I will work late (9:00 PM) or very late (10:00 PM) if I’m doing interesting work or trying to finish up a blog post (like today). A fifteen-hour workday is rare but not unusual to me.
From this point onwards, I just want to relax and avoid work for the rest of the night.
I’ll have dinner, watch TV or a good movie, and maybe play some PC with friends. I’m not an especially outgoing person (although I love travelling, go figure) and I have zero interest in spending my nights clubbing or whatever people my age do. I’m much more interested in using my time/energy/money to expand my business.
I’m an individualistic person in every aspect of my life and, fortunately, by making games for a living I can allocate my most valuable resources exactly how I see fit.
So, that is a day in the life of a game developer. I’m sure there was less of the “making games” part than you expected.
When running a business like this, there is so much work that goes on behind the scenes, and not all of that work is necessarily going to be creative or even directly related to your passion. Sometimes I have to answer a dozen emails before I can write a single line of code…this just comes with the territory.
My advice to aspiring developers: master the business of games if you want to make them your life’s work.
Thanks for reading!