Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Coding for fun (but not profit)

I’ve had problems for at least a few years when it comes to coding purely for fun. Thats not to say I do not enjoy coding, I LOVE coding, its my passion, but I made the mistake (in some ways) of turning my passion into my job, and then my career and my whole livelihood & retirement plan, and when you do that, suddenly when you are writing code you have a little voice at the back of your head saying “who is going to buy this”. And thats not a problem, in fact its a GOOD thing because it means you release commercial games and not arty self-indulgent bullshit about crying and existential angst among cartoon Bolivian hamster-weaving. Thats how I’ve stayed in business.

But the problem with working for yourself, at home, when you are the boss, is that you can work WHENEVER you like, and this means the line between working and having fun gets not some much blurred but obliterated.


If I decide to take a day off work (madness!), I really can’t go near a PC, because the PC is where I work, and my office is for work, not for fun. Its hard enough to sit here at this desk and play games instead of work, but if visual studio is open then I am IN WORK MODE. My Brain goers all serious and strategic and long term.

So I’m trying to shake myself out of that and re-discover the joy of pure creation as a hobby, as fun, as something experimental and silly, and not something that I expect to ever charge money for. I will probably never get around to achieving anything, and certainly not making anything public (unless miraculously I make something I’m not ashamed of). The main goal is going to be to learn how to code some stuff without getting all world-domination and work-ethic about it.

I know a lot of people do one-game-a-month stuff and game-jams, but thats just not my scene. I prefer to code for fun, than design for fun. Design is too intense for me. I can practically code while I’m asleep. Ask anyone whose tried to use my code :D.

4 thoughts on Coding for fun (but not profit)

  1. Agreed 100%. It’s kinda sad I guess, but like you say, it does at least stop you wasting time.

    I plan (read: will never do) to take a week off, tell people I’m going on holiday somewhere exotic, then actually just spend a week at home and actually do something entirely non-profit related. Every attempt to do this so far has just led to guilt sadly, but one day I’ll manage it. Something related to home automation, and the Raspberry Pi would be interesting.

  2. I code in Linux, but games I buy run only on Windows. Or even if they do run on Linux, I don’t install them there. Rebooting is enough of a hassle that it provides a clean separation between work and play. Only solves part of the problem of course :)

  3. I’ve been making deliberately stupid things so there’s no incentive to try and sell them, but they amuse me and my friends.

    This is pretty much what I used to do in the 8/16-bit era come to think of it.

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