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Why Game Developers Go Rogue

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the be-your-own-boss dept.

Games 214

cliffski writes "Jay Barnson interviews the new crop of indie game developers. How could anybody abandon the steady paychecks, access to the best tools and engines, large teams of skilled colleagues and the glory of working on one of next holiday season's blockbusters for a chance to labor in relative obscurity on tiny, niche titles? Steven Peeler was a senior programmer at Ritual Entertainment. For him, leaving and forming the one-man studio Soldak Entertainment came down to a desire for creative freedom. 'I really wanted to work on an RPG, and Ritual only made shooters,' he says. 'There were some annoying politics going on that was really frustrating, I disagreed with the direction the company was taking, I was really tired of pushy publishers and I just wanted to do my own thing.'"

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214 comments

Because we can (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24496385)

'Nuff said.

Re:Because we can (4, Insightful)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 5 years ago | (#24498001)

It's no different than anyone else who leaves a company to start their own business. Lets play Mad-libs.

Version 1:
"I really wanted to work on Performance Parts, and Auto Parts Company X only made roof-racks and cargo-nets," he says. "There were some annoying politics going on that was really frustrating, I disagreed with the direction the company was taking, I was really tired of pushy investors and I just wanted to do my own thing."

Version 2:
"I really wanted to work on graphics apps, and Software Company Y only made custom data management software," he says. "There were some annoying politics going on that was really frustrating, I disagreed with the direction the company was taking, I was really tired of pushy clients and I just wanted to do my own thing."

Why should we care just because they're a game developer?

Re:Because we can (4, Interesting)

mcvos (645701) | more than 5 years ago | (#24498427)

Why should we care just because they're a game developer?

The Escapist cares because they're about games. In fact, so is games.slashdot.org. And at the moment, while big game titles are working with multimillion dollar budgets, indie games seem to be thriving. A look inside that part of the industry is certainly interesting.

But why there's no customdatamanagement.slashdot.org, I have no idea.

Re:Because we can (1, Insightful)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 5 years ago | (#24498955)

I realize this is the games section, but my point was more along the lines of the fact that this article is nearly devoid of worthwhile information.

Someone left a company because they were unhappy... Really? I'm shocked.

It's analogous to an article stating that a lot of game developers use cars to drive to work, eat food for energy, and laugh at funny jokes.

Maybe if there was some more interesting details as to the specific situation, or some kind of examples of the corporate politics that lead to game design elements that we the gamers could see in the end result it would be worth reading but, c'mon...

Nothing to do with roguelikes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24496473)

I was excited by the title and thought that it would be about roguelike games [wikipedia.org]. Guess I was wrong:-(

Vanity (-1, Offtopic)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#24496477)

Same reason people believe in god.

 

Re:Vanity (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24496637)

Same reason people believe in god.

Maybe the same reason why niggers believe in voodoo.

Re:Vanity (-1, Redundant)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#24496763)

Same reason people believe in god.

Wow. Off-topic, troll, and mostly inaccurate, all in a single posting. Rock on.

Re:Vanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24497137)

and you get modded offtopic, while the parent is modded interesting... :-)

Just give them freebies (1)

phoneteller (1261402) | more than 5 years ago | (#24496521)

Maybe giving them freebies like a game console, a few game disks and a Nintendo Wii will help them vent out their feelings over the game.

Mostly lack of business acumen (5, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#24496523)

You can be the greatest programmer in the world, but until the realities of the market are well understood, you're going to be starving.

The fact of the matter is that very few independent programmers make it big. Those that do either got lucky or had a good understanding of business. It's easy to go off on your own and create what you want, but it's a completely different thing to garner interest in the product and sell it for a profit.

The reason why game developers "go rogue" is because they are inherently a seat-of-the-pants type personality who see personal pleasure and freedom as the highest attainable goals. While those are fine goals, without a solid business understanding, those goals area farther away from the independent game developer than if they stayed at a large employer.

Re:Mostly lack of business acumen (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497083)

You can be the greatest programmer in the world, but until the realities of the market are well understood, you're going to be starving.

I think you're barking up the wrong tree a bit here. History is chock full of studios founded by programmers, artists, and designers that broke off from their employer to do something interesting. In many cases, it was to escape the employer's risk aversion. i.e. It's not that games other than First Person Shooters don't sell. It's that large companies know that FPSes sell, so they don't want to take a risk on anything else.

The smaller studios, OTOH, have an opportunity to pursue new gaming styles and lines of games that don't have to align with what the big executives THINK will sell. Sometimes they make it big. More often, they manage to prove out the market before being folded back into a larger company. That larger company then sees "hot new opportunities" that didn't exist before. Could the large company have opened up the market to begin with? Sure. But why take the risk when someone else will do it for you?

The end result is that these smaller studios (these days often referred to as "Indies" partly due to the low investment capital needed to start making modern games) make their money in a tried and true business fashion: An exit strategy.

The fact of the matter is that very few independent programmers make it big.

The fact of the matter is that very few small business owners make it big. (Investors like to tout the "90% of small businesses fail" number.) There's nothing inherently different about the gaming sector.

Re:Mostly lack of business acumen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24497723)

these days often referred to as "Indies" partly due to the low investment capital needed to start making modern games

I always thought that modern games required dedicated graphics and music departments, and as such was much more expensive to make than the games of old (Amiga, C64) where one guy could do it all. Is this not true anymore, has graphics gotten cheaper? Or are we talking about non graphics heavy puzzle-games?

Re:Mostly lack of business acumen (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497909)

has graphics gotten cheaper?

No, AAA titles still cost more than ever. What has changed is that the market has become more willing to accept "retro" titles. These titles are not much more sophisticated than, say, a SuperNES title, but they still get to take advantage of technological advancements. Hand drawn art, sampled compositions, and relatively complex physics engines can all be done on a budget these days. If you're willing to spend a little extra on a pre-fabbed 3D engine, you can even use off-the-shelf 3D models to throw your game together.

That's why a few guys can go from making Flash Games to making one of the most popular downloadable titles today. They already had team members or contractors able to make the assets. All they needed to do was use the Wii's technology to step up to their A game and make it happen.

Is there a larger investment involved in a console title? Yes. But that's all part of the risk/reward aspect of running a small business.

Re:Mostly lack of business acumen (4, Insightful)

obergfellja (947995) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497287)

in todays society, if you are programming for a company, you will have to put up, or no paycheck. In atleast 90% of america's economy it is political and ego stroking. Making someone look good. Only way you can get away from this, is if you are the Sole Programmer in a company of One... and at that, you will have to stroke someone's ego to atleast sell your code/product.

Re:Mostly lack of business acumen (4, Insightful)

phrenq (38736) | more than 5 years ago | (#24498057)

The fact of the matter is that very few independent programmers make it big.

I think that's exactly the mentality many developers are trying to escape by "going rogue". Many of them would be happy making a modest living, never "making it big", while creating the games they want to make.

There is another article [escapistmagazine.com] in the same issue of Escapist that describes the history of Kingdom of Loathing. Nobody's getting rich there, but they jobs a ton of game developers would kill to have.

Re:Mostly lack of business acumen (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24498145)

What is insightful about this comment?

There is a lot of space between a starving programmer and "making it big". Their goal is not to make it big, but to make a living with what they love.

You don't have to be Picasso to make a living with painting. You don't have to be Metallica to make a living with music. And you don't have to be Sid Meier to make a living with your games.

Re:Mostly lack of business acumen (2, Interesting)

immcintosh (1089551) | more than 5 years ago | (#24498477)

This statement is absurd. Starting your own independent company and business acumen are not mutually exclusive. Have you ever worked at a large developer? Sure, their titles bring in an order of magnitude more money, but they also COST an order of magnitude more money to make. Any indie developer who makes a one, two, three man project that becomes reasonably popular, even in a niche, is going to be making some very nice profit. At a big developer you're working paycheck to paycheck. It's solid work, but not what I would call "business acumen." And I have a VERY hard time imagining a big developer that would be able to provide more pleasure and freedom than being able to control your entire own project making exactly what you want to make. I honestly have no idea where you're coming from.

Re:Mostly lack of business acumen (4, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | more than 5 years ago | (#24498965)

You can be the greatest programmer in the world, but until the realities of the market are well understood, you're going to be starving.

The fact of the matter is that very few independent programmers make it big.

Another fact of the matter is: independent programmers don't need to make it big. They just need to make a decent living doing what they love, and that's certainly achievable if you know your market well. That last bit is important. You're no longer just a programmer, now you're suddenly also a marketer.

Re:Mostly lack of business acumen (1)

Synn (6288) | more than 5 years ago | (#24499215)

The fact of the matter is that very few independent programmers make it big.

They really don't have to make it big though. If you made 60k a year at EA, you only really need to make 60-80k a year selling your game. Less if you're working from home and don't have to deal with the expenses of driving into work each day.

One drawback of indie games: Local multiplayer (4, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24496527)

I am an indie game developer, and I want to develop games that can be played by more than one person at a time on a single machine. This can be either a split screen (like Mario Kart or Tetris) or a fixed or semi-fixed view that shows all players (like Bomberman or Street Fighter). There are three ways to do this, each with their own drawbacks:
  • Video game consoles have multiple controllers and a large monitor. But the consoles sold in English-speaking countries have a lockout chip and historically anti-indie policies.
  • Multiple PCs provide enough space for each player. But most families of four aren't willing to spend $2,000 to fill a room with four PCs.
  • One PC would seem to be the closest counterpart to consoles for the indies. But most people don't know that USB game controllers, USB hubs, and video cards with SDTV output exist. Without them, sharing a keyboard and a 17" monitor is painful to say the least.

Should I just bite the bullet and develop my prototype for Windows?

Re:One drawback of indie games: Local multiplayer (3, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#24496667)

Should I just bite the bullet and develop my prototype for Windows?

No, just do it literally. It's been years. If you haven't solved it yet and you're still posting the same old crap, your prototype isn't ever going to be made, much less a finished game.

Stop trying to hide your QQing under the guise of actually doing something development-related

Re:One drawback of indie games: Local multiplayer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24497357)

If you think usb controllers and a usb hub is the way to go, you can sell you game as a kit including these things. Don't forget that some people will have these and your game should be sold without the kit also.

Mod flamebait, insight-free despite moderation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24498021)

NT

Re:One drawback of indie games: Local multiplayer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24496721)

I am an indie game developer, and I want to develop games that can be played by more than one person at a time on a single machine.

If you were truly an indie game developer you would know this. Sounds to me like you are a programmer with a game idea.

In that case, a Windows prototype makes sense. Then find a developer or publisher to work with.

It's one thing to develop a game. It's an entirely different process to produce a console game (console owners want large orders and upfront payment, got $100K? And you have to develop on their dev system - got $20K?) or to get something on the shelves at Walmart.

If your prototype is good you should be able to find someone to work with.

Re:One drawback of indie games: Local multiplayer (3, Informative)

dada21 (163177) | more than 5 years ago | (#24496857)

You're missing the best way to do it, IMHO: contact an Asian microconsole manufacturer, and work with their ROM to develop your own game.

There are numerous (maybe hundreds?) Asian microconsole manufacturers, and all of them are happy to license their subsystems cheaply. The one I think of most often when I come up with my brilliant (and soon forgotten) video game idea is Jakks Pacific. They have a great subsystem that can probably unite more than one player, and it outputs to SDTV standard. I'm fairly sure (but not 100%) that they even have expandability options so you can even offer updates via a plug-in cartridge.

Contact one of these companies and see what they can offer you in terms of licensing their subsystems. Get their backend code structures, and start developing. Yes, I'm sure they're limited in resolution, game size, etc, but it's a great way to get your foot in the door for little money, and see if you have what it takes to develop an entire game from scratch.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s, I was a "developer-producer" of a series of BBS doors that ended up multiplayer. This was an amateur hobby, but one of our doors ended up successful enough (about 100 installations multinode). It took seriously 15 designers to make this text-based game, including copywriters, ASCII graphics artists, C or Pascal code developers, integration developers, alpha testers, beta testers, customer service people, and one MASM assembly language programmer who I don't think had any social skills or even knew how to dress himself. It was a BIG game to implement, and it had no real graphics or high end interactivity. So I'd think a video game with multiple players means a HUGE leap of faith, a big risk, but maybe a big reward.

Good luck.

Re:One drawback of indie games: Local multiplayer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24498719)

And the name of the bbs game was?

Re:One drawback of indie games: Local multiplayer (2, Informative)

Rycross (836649) | more than 5 years ago | (#24496875)

Make a prototype. Develop it for the PC but make it portable. Pimp your prototype to smaller development houses. All three major console developers are trying to promote indie games through their download services, so if you have a solid prototype and are good at selling your idea, you'd have a shot.

Alternatively, grab the XNA development kit and a XNA Creator's Club membership, and target your game to the 360. Your audience will be limited to other XNA Creator Club members, but you can go on to pimp your idea later.

Portability across single-language platforms? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497971)

Develop it for the PC but make it portable.

One platform only runs C#, Visual Basic, and other CLR managed languages.[1] One platform only runs Java and other JVM managed languages.[2] One platform only runs JavaScript.[3] One platform only runs ActionScript.[4] One platform only runs C++ well because it has small CPU and small RAM.[5] What's the best way to make a video game engine or other program portable across multiple virtual machines whose sets of compatible programming languages do not overlap much?

[1] Xbox 360 XNA
[2] Mobile phones with Java MIDP
[3] iPhone, unless the developer buys the $3,000 devkit[3a] plus real estate in an AT&T covered zone[3b]
[3a] iMac + iPhone + iPhone activation + iPhone developer activation + 24-month iPhone service plan at $70/mo
[3b] Most notably, Vermont doesn't have AT&T.
[4] Wii Internet Channel
[5] Nintendo DS

Re:Portability across single-language platforms? (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 5 years ago | (#24498193)

It was an OR not an AND.

Plenty of people do games in C++ on the Wii, Playstation 3, and XBox 360. So if you want to go the route of prototyping and pimping your game to companies, code it in C++, run it on Windows, and then sell your prototype.

If you want to have a hobbyist game, then pick a platform that supports that and use the language they want you to use.

You can always do something like target it towards Linux on the PS3. Yes thats going to seriously limit the kind of graphics you can put out, but it might be a good prototyping platform.

You're going to have to make some compromises. You can't just walk up to Sony and get a dev-kit for the Playstation 3. You either have to prototype your game on one platform and sell it to a company that can get you onto the platforms you want, OR you can find a platform that will let you scratch your itch and then use their language/environment.

If you make something really solid, and you get the opportunity to port it, then I think you'll find the effort put into porting it (even cross-language) will be significantly less than the effort to develop from scratch. There is much that goes into game development that doesn't involve pounding out code.

Re:One drawback of indie games: Local multiplayer (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497249)

Video game consoles have multiple controllers and a large monitor. But the consoles sold in English-speaking countries have a lockout chip and historically anti-indie policies.

Historically != Modern Approach

* WiiWare
* XBox Live
* PlayStation Network

These are all services that Indies are able to break into these days. For a small investment (free - $600 for XBLA, $2000 for a WiiWare dev kit) you can make your game for one of these consoles, then offer it for download for a small fee.

Case in Point: Defend Your Castle [wikipedia.org] went from a single-player flash game to a local multiplayer title that happens to be the third most popular game on the WiiWare service.

Now if you mean "Indie" to mean "Homebrew", you're barking up the wrong tree. Go get a copy of DevkitPro [wiibrew.org] + a copy of Twilight Princess for the Wii. That will allow you to develop local multiplayer for a console. Another option is to support XBox 360 controllers on Windows PCs. They are designed as USB devices intended for plugging into either a computer or a console. You can then encourage players to purchase these controllers.

Assuming your homebrew title is good enough, that is...

Re:One drawback of indie games: Local multiplayer (1)

Westech (710854) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497325)

  • Video game consoles have multiple controllers and a large monitor. But the consoles sold in English-speaking countries have a lockout chip and historically anti-indie policies.

Check out the newly announced Xbox Live Community Arcade [joystiq.com].

Re:One drawback of indie games: Local multiplayer (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497719)

But the consoles sold in English-speaking countries have a lockout chip and historically anti-indie policies.

Am I missing something? Aren't the consoles sold in Asia (PS3, DS, Wii, etc.) all anti-indie as well?

Oh, and XNA would be perfect for your purposes, just FYI.

Re:One drawback of indie games: Local multiplayer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24498009)

If you have an office outside of your home with a mailing address (p.o. box won't do), then sign up for a WiiWare developer account.

Re:One drawback of indie games: Local multiplayer (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24498129)

Anonymous Coward suggested WiiWare:

If you have an office outside of your home with a mailing address

Have you any idea how to go about establishing that in, say, Fort Wayne, Indiana?

Chance to do something different (4, Insightful)

Lord_Frederick (642312) | more than 5 years ago | (#24496529)

A steady paycheck looks good on paper and many people are perfectly happy working on someone else's ideas for their entire lives. Eventually though, people with a creative streak have to have an outlet or they go insane. Sometimes a part-time hobby is enough, sometimes it means quitting the steady job.

Re:Chance to do something different (5, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497205)

Speaking as someone whose done it (not in the games industry, but a similar life changing career move), there can come a time when you'd rather be happy and poor then well off and having to do what someone else says all the time. This is especially true for people of a creative flair.

Besides, if things go well, the period of time with little money will eventually end. Even if not, you won't have that constant feeling of 'I should have done that thing' for years afterwards.
Believe me, that's a killer. I've worked with people who chose the safe path over their dreams, and they tend to be unhappy about it.

In one case, the guy was so openly bitter (in his case about not having risked going to medical college), that he was quite unpleasant to anyone else who talked about taking a chance with their own careers/lives.

For myself, I spent several years perpetually broke, but undeniably happier then I'd been for years. I'm not broke any more, but I'm still happy.

Re:Chance to do something different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24498901)

Except that I has a health problems, and are has live in U.S.

- A not-so-LOL cat.

Steady Pay Checks ? (5, Insightful)

DCFC (933633) | more than 5 years ago | (#24496543)

I'm not sure why anyone refers to employment as a games developer as "steady". They are precarious outfits, pathetically dependant upon "hits" that may or may not come again, until they burn you out and drop you like a stone.

An easy explanation for developers "going rogue" is that the pay is so very very bad that the difference between unemployment and salary whilst you write the code is so small that it is not as hard a decision as in other lines of work.

Re:Steady Pay Checks ? (5, Funny)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497025)

Not steady pay checks. How do people miss this easy to find fact?

- Mages take almost 3000 xp to make level 2,
- Rogues take only 1250.

Do the math.

Re:Steady Pay Checks ? (3, Informative)

Doc Hopper (59070) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497867)

Having worked in a computer game development studio for two years and received a job offer at another, I can safely refute your statement. Game development companies pay just a bit under market for the positions they fill, and usually retain people for a number of years.

A lot of studios go under, I admit. But it's not too hard to find your next position, often working alongside the same people you've worked with before. The pay is not "very very bad" or anywhere near unemployment wages. The author of the original cited article (my brother) has had a few rocky times with a few different studios, but manages to be the sole breadwinner for his family of four in a middle-class neighborhood just fine as a developer for a smaller studio.

Creativity (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24496545)

This is a creativity thing. People may not accept it, but Game design is an art form and usually big companies are all about the bottom line and the pencil pushers upstairs don't understand the needs of the designers.

Re:Creativity (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24497523)

It may be an art form to the advertising & publicizing departments when promoting the games but to the decision makers its usually not.

1. Look at what kind of games are doing well at the moment.
2. Pick game engine to do the game based on money/engine popularity.
3. Pick a setting/environment.
4. Write a few bits of a story around the setting.
5. Try to add one or two bits of gameplay somewhere if there is enough time.
6. Churn out game as soon as possible.

Most game companies seem to focus on graphics and very little else.

Good luck to the guy. I wish more people would do this. I'd rather play an awful looking game with good gameplay than one of these 'interactive cut-scene' pieces of crap like most games are lately.

Meh (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#24496573)

I have always been surprised to see this. You would think the big game developers would make their people sign no-compete contracts. Do the corporation think that, after showing a developer the secret closet, they are never going to use those secrets to go out on their own?

Non-compete enforceability (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24496649)

You would think the big game developers would make their people sign no-compete contracts.

Overly broad covenants not to compete [wikipedia.org] are not enforceable. The State of California in fact considers non-competes to be against public policy. The justification is that everybody has a right to work in the field in which he was trained. Ask a lawyer in your state for details.

Exemptions (1)

Doc Hopper (59070) | more than 5 years ago | (#24498011)

I have routinely gotten exemptions for my part-time development work built into my employment contracts.

Keys:
1. Mention the exact projects you are currently working on.
2. Have the writing vetted by your lawyer to ensure that your ideas are protected and do not become property of the company.
3. Be ready to walk away if they aren't willing to alter their NDA/non-compete to accommodate your efforts.

Seriously, I've worked for a lot of different companies and not once has a company refused to adjust their non-compete based on exhibits I include to document my work on free software projects and my personal IT consulting business.

Jay's arrangements with game development studios have actually gone so far as to include support from the company hiring him in the form of art, programming, and other resources for his independent projects. Seriously. Build some negotiating skills and be confident in your ability to find a job. You'll find one willing to work with you.

W2 = loser, 1099 = winner (5, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 5 years ago | (#24496683)

Tax-wise, leaving your "stable" job adds to inherent features to your new job future: greater risk, greater reward.

I have had one W2 job in my life, and I will never do it again. All I saw around me was politics, inefficiency, vying for position, inefficiency, back stabbing, inefficiency, nepotism, and inefficiency. When I saw something that I could do better, faster, and cheaper, I had no reason to "sell the idea" to management because either they'd take it (and climb the ladder) or they'd sit on it due to a pet peeve.

This guy Peeler ignores the absolute greatest reason to quit and go solo: being called back in for sometimes 10X the pay, from your old employer. When I left my only W2 position (at a whopping $21 per hour back in 1992), within 3 months they called me back in, and I offered myself at $60 per hour. Within a year I was at $120 per hour, and had enough to hire own my W2 goons to play nice with the customer. And they were hired out at $120 per hour and paid quite a bit less (although I offer all of them the option to start their own business and subcontract, which many do).

For a gaming engineer, being an employed underling offers little other than so-called "stability." See how stable you are when you get fired or the company goes under. Out come the dreaded CVs, while you pound the pavement looking for another 40 hours a week W2 job. If you're a contractor, you can work for 10, 20, 50, thousands of firms on a regular basis, and if a few go under or cut you, you're out maybe 5% or 10%. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

It's like homeownership: if your boss knows you have a mortgage, you're screwed. He has no reason to offer you incentives (better pay, better hours, better perks, etc) because you have another God to pray to: your bankster. The same is true with a W2: your boss knows he's your only source of income, and as such you're stuck with bad pay, bad hours, bad perks.

Go solo, everyone. Cut the unbilical cord and if you're a hard worker, you'll prosper. Then find about 10 of your previous coworkers, offer them a few bucks more an hour, and bill them out at 5X their pay to not just your old employer but their competitors, too. 3. Profit!

Re:W2 = loser, 1099 = winner (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 5 years ago | (#24496923)

Off topic but I'm curious. How did you go about getting into contracting? How did you find gigs? And did you set up an LLC or anything like that?

Re:W2 = loser, 1099 = winner (4, Informative)

dada21 (163177) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497285)

Rycross:

I established a S-corporation, which is basically a corporate entity where the profits and losses flow to and from the shareholders. Eventually I had multiple S-corps, so I incorporated a C-corp holding company for certain assets which I lease back to my S-corps.

Finding gigs is the hardest part, but if you've saved a few years of expenses (and everyone should), you can generally find work fairly quickly. The key is to be prepared to travel, if necessary, and pound the pavement to get those first gigs. Once you're in with a few businesses, word-of-mouth does its job. I'd save that 80% of my new clients are referred by old clients, who get a nice reward for the referral.

Starting out initially is the big scare, but it can be done while you're working your W2 "job." There are MANY organizations who need some simple needs, and are great stepping stones to securing better work (and higher paying work) once you've cut your teeth. Every day I see another opportunity for someone with even basic skills in a variety of markets. If I could clone myself, I'd be a billionaire. Note that I do not advocate self-employment for money reasons primarily, I advocate them for job stability and happiness. It boils down to the "all your eggs in one employment basket" feeling I have: when you have many customers, you have more time to handle your own desires, and have a bit more stability if you can enter various industries and markets so you're not tied to one market that may have its own ups and downs.

Feel free to email me and ask some questions.

Re:W2 = loser, 1099 = winner (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#24496977)

Go solo, everyone. Cut the unbilical cord and if you're a hard worker, you'll prosper. Then find about 10 of your previous coworkers, offer them a few bucks more an hour, and bill them out at 5X their pay to not just your old employer but their competitors, too. 3. Profit!

It's called being a contractor and the reason you charge 5x your old salary is because you have to pay your own social security, health insurance, 401K, etc etc etc.

There's a lot more to a W-2 salary than the money in your pocket after taxes.

Re:W2 = loser, 1099 = winner (1, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497129)

It's called being a contractor and the reason you charge 5x your old salary is because you have to pay your own social security, health insurance, 401K, etc etc etc.

But the perks for paying these yourself are worth it. Incorporate as an S-corp, pay yourself a low salary, issue quarterly dividends which are taxed at a lower rate, and you'll score more in-pocket money. Health care for individuals is ridiculously cheap if you do it correctly:

1. Live a healthy lifestyle (get off your rear, fatty)
2. Start an HSA (tax free, pay for doctor's visits with a debit card)
3. Get a high deductible health insurance policy ($5k-$10k)
4. Negotiate a cash discount with your doctor (many do, at a HUGE savings) and avoid using insurance

The wealthy always know what insurance is for: life catastrophes, not common colds, hail damage or minor floods. You pay for those out of your emergency savings, not out of your insurer's pocket. Insurance is CHEAP if you use it for emergencies only.

401Ks are also for idiots, IMHO. You're usually stuck in restrictive funds that issue no dividend profit distributions or anything worth investing in. When you're your own boss, you can invest in YOURSELF and get returns of 20-40% a year on those investments, if not more.

Social security is only paid for off of your salary income, so your dividend distributions are relatively tax-free except for income taxes (dividend taxes).

There are so many reasons to cut the W2-ties that it isn't funny. I can't understand why people put all their eggs in one employment basket.

Re:W2 = loser, 1099 = winner (1)

Talonius (97106) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497291)

You seem to indicate that those who need health insurance are hypochondriacs or fat and lazy. What if you're a diabetic? (24 years and counting.)

That's why I'm a W-2 Wage Slave. Insulin is $100.00 a bottle. Combine that with everything else... snort. Not even possible.

Re:W2 = loser, 1099 = winner (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497471)

Talonius: Sorry to hear about your diabetes. I have diabetes in my family, so I watch my sugars and starches with a passion. When I do eat that junk, my stomach bloats like crazy and I yell "Diabetes!" to remind myself why not to eat garbage (sugars and starches).

Being "blessed" with diabetes at a young age IS terrible, I'm sure. I'd love to talk to you have it via email if you don't mind, because I am interested in looking for a solution for those with diabetes at a young age who are stuck in a W2 position.

I have one contractor I work with who is diabetes (he's maybe 35). I just asked him via IM what he does, and he told me that Wal-mart sells a generic version of Novolin R and Novolin N insulin for $20 a bottle. Over the counter, too, no prescription required! Maybe that's not the type of insulin you need (I have no idea what Novolin is), but he said it's fine for him, and he uses his insurance coverage for everything else. Is that an option for you?

Re:W2 = loser, 1099 = winner (-1, Troll)

Republican Gun (1174953) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497835)

Diabetes suck. But a lot of people are ending up diabetic because of years of high fructose in their diet(Pepsi, Mountain dew, coke etc). The masses spend their income(not disposable either) on sh|t that destroys their health and then expect the rest of us to pay for it. The planet I live on requires me to live like a hungry lion instead of a fat rabbit. What planet do you live on?

Re:W2 = loser, 1099 = winner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24497721)

Great for when you are single, but the health coverage balance changes considerably when you settle down. I'm freelance and have been since '95. Our first child cost us over $23k in medical birthing bills. I swear they just make crap up and everyone in the build gets to raise an invoice. A high deductible is fine for single life when you take care of yourself. It's bloody awful when you have kids that seem to discover new ways to require medical treatment.

Let's see your insurance coverage. I know other business owners, nothing to do with IT. It's the same with them. Health coverage is fscking expensive. It sounds like you have poor coverage and nothing for a family?

Now what do you do should you get a serious illness and are unable to work for an extended period. Got coverage for that? I'm assuming you carry no debts, the house is in the clear with no mortgage or equity loans.

Re:W2 = loser, 1099 = winner (2, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 5 years ago | (#24498063)

Great for when you are single, but the health coverage balance changes considerably when you settle down. I'm freelance and have been since '95. Our first child cost us over $23k in medical birthing bills. I swear they just make crap up and everyone in the build gets to raise an invoice. A high deductible is fine for single life when you take care of yourself. It's bloody awful when you have kids that seem to discover new ways to require medical treatment.

This is why this country is a mess. A couple wants to have a child, but they don't save for it. The costs are $23,000, so they say "Hey, we have insurance, why not charge all the non-child-rearing individuals for it in higher insurance costs?" Unbelievable. I want a child, but I won't until I can pay for it. I've done the research on paying for it myself. The first step is to get a cash-on-the-barrel prepayment rate. There's a significant discount for doing this. Then, you can get a rider for birthing cost above a "no-pay" amount. So if I pay $10,000 up front, I can get insurance for the birth ahead of time for amounts over $30,000. I would be liable for an additional $20,000 if there are complications, but the insurance for the amounts over $30,000 are reasonable. $30,000 to birth a kid sounds reasonable to me, considering all the problems that could happen. If I don't have $30,000 to birth a child, why would I want to have a child who may cost me $500,000 in their first 18 years? The 9 months before birth at $30,000 are reasonable if the cost to have a kid can be $30,000 a year after birth.

Let's see your insurance coverage. I know other business owners, nothing to do with IT. It's the same with them. Health coverage is fscking expensive. It sounds like you have poor coverage and nothing for a family?

Most business owners use insurance for their day-to-day health needs, rather than for what insurance is for: emergencies. If I have a cold, or a cut, or a broken arm, or something minimal, I don't go and use a co-pay, I call my doctor, get a negotiated cash rate, and make a visit. I prefer not to use AMA doctors, either (AAPS is better). I tend to refuse to see doctors who accept medicare or medicaid, because their rates are MUCH higher. My primary phyisician has stopped accepting insurance as of a few months ago, and now just charges a yearly stipend for services. Concierge medicine [alternet.org] is the future. My business-owning friends pay $3000 a year for a health club membership, $15,000 a year for golf membership, $30,000 for yacht club access (the wealthy ones). I pay $1800 a year for premium doctor care, which includes free home visits if I can't get out of bed. I believe one of my business owner friends pays almost $800 a month for health care so he can get a $10 co-pay visiting his doctor and waiting an hour to do so. I can just walk in; I visited my doctor at his home two Sundays ago when I thought I had something bad going on: it was just a rash from new detergent. *phew*

Now what do you do should you get a serious illness and are unable to work for an extended period. Got coverage for that? I'm assuming you carry no debts, the house is in the clear with no mortgage or equity loans.

30 year mortgages are for suckers. Renting for the past 4 years has made more sense than owning, and we did just that (sold our paid for house in 2003, just bought a foreclosure in 2008, rented for 1/3 the cost of owning for the in-between time).

If I am sick for a long period of time, I have savings. My businesses have semi-liquid assets. If you start working at 16 and saving 20% of your income, by 35 you should have somewhere in the range of $300,000 in the bank that can be used to pay off a small home, put towards emergencies, or just keep for retirement in addition to whatever money you're socking away for retirement. Of course, most people at 35 have a net asset value in the negative region, because they have to keep up with the Joneses and buy that bigger home, bigger car, bigger watch or have a $100,000 wedding. Please do not sock ME with their health care costs because they wanted to lease a new car after the old lease ran out. No thanks.

Health care is an individual decision, not a group decision. There are 5 simple steps to living a health life, but still protecting against catastrophic events:

1. Start saving 20% of your income. If you can't, you're spending TOO MUCH.
2. Start an HSA to use towards your deductible, but pay cash for most of your minor health care.
3. Increase the annual deductible of your insurance policy to 50% of the HSA balance. Take the savings from the premium and put it into the HSA.
4. Eat healthy; work-out; cut back on things that are detrimental to your health. Try to be aware of your parents and grandparents problems and see if you can resolve those issues yourself.
5. Negotiate with your doctors for common needs: see if you can prepay in advance of services rendered (I prepay annually for concierge service, but I also prepay a small $500 balance towards possible future visits which nets me a 30% discount on the already low cash price).

Even with a family, this is all doable, but you should start young and program yourself to not be an idiot. Forcing others to pay for your day-to-day health care needs is ridiculous; forcing others to pay for your childbirth is, too.

Re:W2 = loser, 1099 = winner (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24497953)

If you think that a 401(k) is for idiots, then you obviously have no understanding of retirement planning. Yes, if someones makes gobs and gobs of money, they could just put it in safe and take it out as needed. Here, in the real world, we have something called income taxes, capital gains taxes, inflation, and an average market return of 8-12% a year (depending on what view you take). Plus, if you are lucky like me, you can get matching on a 401(k) /cheer

Insurance is also only cheap if you have a clean bill of health when you get it and have a fairly binding agreement. Many insurance companies also reserve rights to drop customers in some situations. This happened to my cousin, who at 26, had colon cancer. She made a full recovery and was dropped by her insurance company later -- with full legality (so my sister, aunt, uncle, uncle and bro-in-law who are lawyers told me).

Also, lest we forget most start up companies fail. Contracting is great when one has a gig, however even persons with great talent lay idle sometimes.

Even if you are a badass at computer science, programming, etc unless you have a solid understanding of finance the odds are greatly against someone making solid money - also what about providing for a spouse & kids? I would feel pretty bad if I couldn't pay the bills because I planned poorly.

Re:W2 = loser, 1099 = winner (0, Offtopic)

dada21 (163177) | more than 5 years ago | (#24498251)

If you think that a 401(k) is for idiots, then you obviously have no understanding of retirement planning. Yes, if someones makes gobs and gobs of money, they could just put it in safe and take it out as needed. Here, in the real world, we have something called income taxes, capital gains taxes, inflation, and an average market return of 8-12% a year (depending on what view you take). Plus, if you are lucky like me, you can get matching on a 401(k) /cheer

Retirement planning for the wise:

1. Save 20% of all your income. Put some of it in gold/silver, some of it in revolving CDs, some of it in DIVIDEND-BEARING investments (preferably ones that pay more than 8% dividend on share price).
2. Rent until ownership is really cheaper than rent (rarely is). When it is time to buy, BUY SMALL. Try to buy something you can realistically pay off in 10 years (doable in any market except maybe California). Get a boarder to rent the extra bedroom (or extra boarders) and use their rent to pay down your mortgage (I did this for all my life, even when I was married).
3. Don't use credit to buy depreciating assets ever (cars, toys, etc).
4. Get an extra job if you are not overburdened with your main job.
5. Reduce your external, controllable expenses until you can absorb them (cook yourself rather than eat out, thrift store clothing, etc).

There is no reason for a middle income earner to not have a net worth of 1/2 million by 35 in today's dollars. None. By 40 you can get to the million mark, easily.

401/Ks are for schnooks, plain and simple. Stocks that do not issue a realistic dividend are not profitable. Their prices go up due to government inflation of the money supply, so that 8-12% you speak of is lost to the drop in value of the fiat money you use. I've never seen people make money investing in the stock market for the long haul, once you factor in the currency's loss in value due to monetary inflation. Investments should pay profit dividends, those that don't aren't making a profit for the investor.

Insurance is also only cheap if you have a clean bill of health when you get it and have a fairly binding agreement. Many insurance companies also reserve rights to drop customers in some situations. This happened to my cousin, who at 26, had colon cancer. She made a full recovery and was dropped by her insurance company later -- with full legality (so my sister, aunt, uncle, uncle and bro-in-law who are lawyers told me).

Horrible. Rare. Anecdotal in most cases. I've planned for these issues with optional cancer riders, and preparation for it if it should happen to me. But the risk of it is small, yet I still plan better than 99% out there. Life happens, but you have to play the odds as much as you can.

Also, lest we forget most start up companies fail. Contracting is great when one has a gig, however even persons with great talent lay idle sometimes.

I've never been idle because I work in a variety of markets, and have supplemented my income with a variety of revenue streams using the money that you put in a 401/K; I invested in local businesses and subcontractors with start-up capital for a percentage of their income ("stock ownership"). Most of my investments have paid 30% on average after 2 years of no payment (per agreements). I've seen some have years making 50%, which wipe out those who went under (rare if I'm helping them).

Even if you are a badass at computer science, programming, etc unless you have a solid understanding of finance the odds are greatly against someone making solid money - also what about providing for a spouse & kids? I would feel pretty bad if I couldn't pay the bills because I planned poorly.

Don't get married until you have a plan for handling the cost. Don't have kids if you can't afford them. Problem solved.

Re:W2 = loser, 1099 = winner (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497215)

Yeah, it is a lot easier to just go in and work for someone else.

just like its going to be a lot easier to vote someone in who promises you free this, that, and whatever.

If anything defines whats wrong in America is that there are not enough 1099=winner people around anymore. If there were we would not have this bloated government and our choices would not be which candidate is willing to take more stuff from people who earn it and give it to someone else and instead on which candidate could reduce spending the most.

I admit, I am lazy and taking the W2 route. I like being able to do forty hours a week again. Working for myself and I found I did more hours. Then again that is what separates many of the haves from the have nots. If your complaining about not having your probably not working enough

Re:W2 = loser, 1099 = winner (2, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497399)

I admit, I am lazy and taking the W2 route.

Thank you for admitting this. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with saying "I really don't want to find customers, bill them, fight them for payments, track dozens of jobs, drive to different places every day, travel the country, just for a few extra bucks and more free time when I need it, because I am lazy." In fact, I appreciate those who respond to my questioning their W2-status with "I'm just lazy." It's a breath of fresh air because it means they THOUGHT of going solo, or they had and the extra responsibility wasn't worth it. It also gives those W2 workers a new view of what marketing, HR, management and accounting does each and every day.

When you're your own boss, you have to wear many suits. It isn't always easy. Getting paid can be a nightmare, although the use of factoring companies is a worthy idea if you've got a ton of regular slow-pays and they give you consistent income each month.

The key, I'd say, is to at least try it, especially if you're young. Finish college, move in with the folks, get a part-time evening job for some simple income, stop using credit cards for fun stuff, and get out there. It's not that hard to start, and if you fail, you're out a year or two of trying, but you get some real business experience. Go get a W2 job if you're not cut out for it -- not everyone is. I think the worst thing for someone who wants to be their own boss is college experience, actually. When my friends hit college at 18, I told them I'd take the $80k they'll invest in education and invest it in my businesses. It worked for me, very nicely, and I rarely feel bad about not trying the college thing for more than a semester here or there. And I thank God every day that the only cubicle I see is the one I put in my garage for my own purposes.

Re:W2 = loser, 1099 = winner (1)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 5 years ago | (#24498207)

Doing it young when you can afford to fail sounds ideal, but if you've got a fiance and plans for kids, you're screwed.

You can't put off having kids till you're in your late thirties otherwise, you are throwing more birth-related complications plus being in your late fifties and the kids are looking at colleges. Plus, you've got to be confident by the time you are ready to have children, you can afford anything/everything that can go wrong. Not saying it is not possible, but the idea of having a kid on the way and not being able to afford for a family's well being scares the fsck out of me. Not that working a W-2 guarantees it though, given how easy it seems to lay people off....

I think the flipside is to wait until you are older, bid your time in the industry, earn your safety net for your spouse and you and then leverage your years of knowledge to strike it alone. You run into the risk of being antiquated but you shouldn't if you've been preparing. Experience will help you sight the pitfalls and risks that your youthfulness will miss. Downsides are that you will not be able to keep up the hours and dedication you could have when.

BTW, alot of the advice sounds straight out of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad". Not saying it's a bad book or anything, just another point of view.

Re:W2 = loser, 1099 = winner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24497073)

How do you handle health insurance for your and/or your family?

I live in the U.S. My wife has chronic asthma that's well-controlled --- through medication. But this pre-existing condition results in virtually unpayable insurance premiums. The last time I thought about "going solo," I priced insurance options. The non-group (ie, self-bought rather than employer provided) insurance I could find that would take my family on (two children under 10) was over two thousand a month. I'd love to go solo, but I'm terrified that one medical problem would bankrupt us.

Re:W2 = loser, 1099 = winner (3, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497213)

I'm sorry to hear about your wife's chronic asthma. I'll tell you a story about the woman I married: she had chronic asthma since she was a child, in the ER 3-4 times per year for steroids. When I met her, I told her she's crazy, it isn't asthma. I took her to 5 "professional" doctors, and she still had the problems. Then I went "underground" and did some research on her asthma. We cut back on her sugars, starches and anything that may convert to sugar in the blood (corn primarily). Within 3 months, she lost about 15 pounds, and never had an asthma attack again. Never. So I'd first look to make sure that her asthma is truly asthma and not a horrible reaction to her diet or things in her environment. I'm not saying she isn't sick, but in all honesty, I distrust those who don't do their duty (i.e., some doctors) in finding triggers to things that can look like a disease, but might just be a dietary condition that is easily fixed.

As for how to handle chronic illnesses, being self-employed is probably not for you. I used to have kidney stones, which were not covered by my insurance. Eventually, I found my doctors who I was able to negatiate VERY good prices to deal with my pre-existing condition. I will never, EVER use insurance for a doctor's visit, a prescription drug (I abhor them, generally), or anything that isn't life- or lifestyle- threatening. My deductible annually is around $10,000, if I remember correctly, and I haven't had an insurance claim for anything in probably 7 years. My healthcare for myself and my family is VERY cheap, and over 7 years I think I've paid that $10,000 deductible in savings 2 times over, maybe more. I'm thinking of kicking it up to a $20,000 deductible if I can find an insurer who will go that high.

For most, health care is a crutch that they think they need, but in all honesty health care in general is not that expensive, if you go and negotiate with your family doctor. Offer cash-on-the-barrel, and many doctors will cut their fees significantly since they won't have to deal with insurance companies or government agencies. My own doctor charges $150 for a visit (insured) but his cash-on-the-barrel rate is $45! He said most people pay a $20 co-pay, but he'd rather get $45 in cold hard cash when they visit. I do, and I'm fine with it.

My insurance is for accidents, cancer, stroke, heart attack, etc. It's not for day-to-day health care needs, but I've forced myself to live as healthy as possible, short of the excessive smoking, scotch drinking, high speed driving, sleep-deprived-weekends-in-Vegas, and the occasional illicit substance use. Oh, and binging on bacon, eggs, and butter probably isn't wise, either.

Re:W2 = loser, 1099 = winner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24497347)

The trick is to find a stable position with good insurance and non-insane hours. That way you have evenings and weekends free to pursue freelance ambitions. Family makes things more complicated of course, but I've had some success with having it both ways.

Mind you, I'm a 2D/3D artist. Programming is a different culture in some ways.

Re:W2 = loser, 1099 = winner (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497275)

It's like homeownership: if your boss knows you have a mortgage, you're screwed. He has no reason to offer you incentives (better pay, better hours, better perks, etc) because you have another God to pray to: your bankster. The same is true with a W2: your boss knows he's your only source of income, and as such you're stuck with bad pay, bad hours, bad perks.

What you say mostly applies only on the low end. Some of the nicer places I've worked have had profit sharing and stock and bonuses and lots of perqs to keep us happy. Just because someone has a mortgage doesn't mean they can't walk and get a job with another top firm. We had problems with Google stealing employees for example and I know of at least one case where managers saw someone's resume was making the rounds and offered them a big raise and a promotion to stay.

While I understand where you're coming from and have done both regular salaried jobs and contract work. I just don't think it is as clear cut of a division as you're implying. When you're pulling an $100 an hour or more contracting, you generally have the CV to get a salaried job where you can move up or get big bonuses or other concessions.

don't get sick -- Re:W2 = loser, 1099 = winner (4, Insightful)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497599)

I have had one W2 job in my life

That speaks for itself. You really have had very little experience, and people should take your anecdotal analysis with a grain of salt. I have had many W2 and 1099 jobs, and in the long run I greatly prefer the stability of W2 jobs, even though I really enjoyed the weird hours, huge paychecks, and random nature of my early contracting jobs.

I'd say try it before you get too old, or at least give moonlighting a shot.

Go solo, everyone.

1099 jobs are great when you are young, healthy, and full of piss and vinegar and can afford to start life over again if you screw up. If you want to go solo over age 30, make damn well sure you have a contingency plan, or are networked and diversified out the yin-yang.

Also, don't get sick! Unless you live in a state that has passed laws allowing groups of people to pool money and buy discount healthcare, you are F-U-C-*-E-D. Once you go on record with a HINT of chronic illness, you will very likely not be able to get insurance. The government mandates that insurance companies sell you insurance if you have a pre-existing condition, but they don't mandate the price. You could very easily could end up requiring to pay $3~5k per month for health insurance.

I'm eternally grateful that W2 companies get such great deals on group health coverage.

I was considering going Rogue... (3, Funny)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#24496705)

...but decided on being a Paladin instead.

/I am so very, very sorry for that

=Smidge=

Simply put (3, Informative)

iXiXi (659985) | more than 5 years ago | (#24496733)

Programmers are no different than any other profession. Why do small companies exist and how to they find talent to push them up the food chain? Some folks do not care to plug into the large company mentality. Large projects ran by enterprise minded project managers can be stifling. Small companies allow you to be a critical asset and not just an amoeba swimming in the larger developer pool.

Amen (1)

Doc Hopper (59070) | more than 5 years ago | (#24498263)

I now work for UltraMegaCorp (name is changed to protect the guilty) as a UNIX administrator. It's one of the largest software companies in the world. My piece of the pie when it comes to new projects is often to find out that I'm getting shipped some new hardware, and I get to organize deployment. If something goes wrong with the deployment schedule, it's almost always a communication issue, usually something to do with "managing expectations".

When I worked at a startup, I got the whole shooting match. If that project didn't move out on time, I was fully to blame. I was the go-to guy. The hours sucked, the pay was fine, the potentials were limitless, and I lived by my pager or mobile phone.

A part of me really loves that environment. Another part of me really loves the benefits that come with working for a larger company. I compromise: I work a forty-hour week at UltraMegaCorp, then put in 5-10 hours a week on side contracts. For now, it's a good balance. I end up with the same crappy hours, but now I have more control. And I can buy neat toys with the extra income (model airplanes, mostly, but lately it's been motorcycle parts...)

things are not the way they were meant to be (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24496795)

the difference between the 'laws' of man & the processes of the creators will become crystal clear to those whose conscience/spirit have not been damaged, or completely taken, by man-made illusions. fear is the primary weapon of unprecedented evile. that, along with deception & coercion, helps most of us remain (unwittingly?) dependent on its' greed/fear/ego based hired goons' agenda. Most of yOUR dwindling resources are being squandered on the 'war', & continuation of the billionerrors stock markup FraUD/pyramid scheme. nobody ever mentions the real long term costs of those debacles in both life & the notion of prosperity, not to mention the abuse of the consciences of those of us who still have one. see you on the other side of it. the lights are coming up all over now. conspiracy theorists are being vindicated. some might choose a tin umbrella to go with their hats. the fairytail is winding down now. let your conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/29/world/29amnesty.html?hp
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/06/02/nasa.global.warming.ap/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/weather/06/05/severe.weather.ap/index.html
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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/01/opinion/01dowd.html?em&ex=1212638400&en=744b7cebc86723e5&ei=5087%0A
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/05/senate.iraq/index.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/17/washington/17contractor.html?hp
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/03/world/middleeast/03kurdistan.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080708/cheney_climate.html
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20080805/pl_politico/12308;_ylt=A0wNcxTPdJhILAYAVQms0NUE

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=weather+manipulation&btnG=Search
http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece

Game developers go rogue (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24496885)

When they are accused of a crime they didn't commit.

re: When they're accused of a crime. (4, Funny)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 5 years ago | (#24496991)

These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground ; )

Re: When they're accused of a crime. (1)

Ted Freeman (1319075) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497679)

If you have a game to program, if no one else can help you, and if you can find them ...

Piracy and Anti-DRM (5, Insightful)

microTodd (240390) | more than 5 years ago | (#24496889)

Interesting quote from the article:

"Some of them cloak it all with this thin veneer of 'sticking it to the man' and being 'anti-DRM' and 'anti-big corporations.' Despite me giving a free demo, no DRM, innovative games, at reasonable prices with great tech support from a one-man company, the bastards still rip me off and take my stuff anyway."

So in other words, this guy releases his game with no anti-piracy DRM measures and people still play his game without paying him.

I get into piracy arguments with other folks all the time. They talk about how they want "DRM-free" music, information wants to be free, most modern music is crap anyways, etc. But when it comes down to it, they're just being cheap.

Re:Piracy and Anti-DRM (4, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497345)

The problem in that case is that he hasn't got his business model sorted.

If people can take your product and walk without paying, they will, its human nature. If them doing that robs you of your livelihood, then the solution is change the product.

Not DRM, that's a train that goes no place good.

No, the solution would be to have a game with on-line components (even as simple as a score league and competitions with small prizes) that people must be registered users to access. So long as the online componants add value, your users will register and pay.

If not then yours is just another in the sea of games people feel no need to purchase.

Re:Piracy and Anti-DRM (2, Insightful)

Cornflake917 (515940) | more than 5 years ago | (#24498655)

No, the solution would be to have a game with on-line components (even as simple as a score league and competitions with small prizes) that people must be registered users to access. So long as the online componants add value, your users will register and pay.

Your solution is seriously flawed. What you suggest is really just DRM that isn't necessarily "forced" on users. With this solution, you can only take your game in two directions:

1. Make your game suck enough without the online components so it forces people to register the game. However, why would they register if all they know is that your game sucks?

2. Make your game good without the online components and hope people will register it because it's fun. If the game is already fun, why would people with tight budgets pay more for the game?

You are also not taking into consideration that there are people who like to play games for themselves and don't really care about competing against others. You are also not taking into consideration that games may be single player by nature and making it mutliplayer or pseudo multiplayer would only damage the feel or the theme of the game. You also assume that the game developer has the resources (programmers with net coding experience) to create online components. Not necessarily a fair assumption.

Re:Piracy and Anti-DRM (2, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#24498727)

Who in their right mind would think that making a game suck without an online component would be a good idea?

Methinks you haven't really thought this through.

You add MORE to the game, not take stuff away.

Re:Piracy and Anti-DRM (1)

TheSambassador (1134253) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497369)

Yeah, because wanting to use your payed-for product however you want is "being cheap." Plus DRM doesn't even work, it's easy to bypass and really just makes things difficult for the actual paying customer (100% recycled argument, I know).

However, getting people to pay for an indie game is probably really freaking hard. Not only is it going to be virtually impossible to advertise due to the lack of funds, but most of the time it's actually easier to pirate the game than buy it. About 2 years ago I pirated Gumboy: Crazy Adventures (I have since bought it on Steam) because I liked it so much, but didn't have a credit card to buy it.

Annnd speaking of Steam [steampowered.com], it really is an amazing platform to distribute indie games, though I don't know what kind of cut you get from selling it there though. Also, Penny-Arcade's Greenhouse [playgreenhouse.com] site might become a good venue as well.

Re:Piracy and Anti-DRM (1)

microTodd (240390) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497673)

Yeah, because wanting to use your payed-for product however you want is "being cheap."

I do agree that DRM frequently hurts the person who paid for the product legitimately. Personally, I'm very annoyed by the fact that I can't buy a physical thing (such as a DVD player) and then do to it whatever I want. If I solder in some new chip somehow I've broken the law; that is just WRONG. Same with a CD...if I pay for this physical piece of plastic I should be able to do whatever I want with the bits that are encoded on it.

I see your point, but that's not the point I was trying to make. The people I'm talking to just don't want to pay for stuff so they come up with lame arguments to justify playing a game without paying for it.

About 2 years ago I pirated Gumboy: Crazy Adventures (I have since bought it on Steam) because I liked it so much, but didn't have a credit card to buy it.

Interesting dilemma. I'm not sure what I would do if I really wanted a game without being able to buy it but pirating it in the first place sets off my ethical alarm. However, you did pay for it later so maybe it was just a "delayed purchase". :-)

Piracy and game pricing (1)

Doc Hopper (59070) | more than 5 years ago | (#24498417)

Another problem Indies face is managing the pricing expectations of the consumer. The days of the $50 video game are OVER, yet people expect to plunk down only $15 or $20 for an Indy game because the development studio is smaller with a lower budget.

Computer game business models do need to evolve, though I'm not sure in what direction. There need to be tangible benefits to paying for your copy of the game. MMO games seem to have a decent model working for them, but so far most other efforts have really met with limited success. Offering improved music or artwork for registered customers seemed like a pretty good idea with Void War [voidwar.com], but I don't think that kind of approach is a potent long-term draw.

Re:Piracy and Anti-DRM (3, Insightful)

Asmor (775910) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497435)

What it comes down to is, pirates will pirate regardless of whether there's DRM or not. DRM is only an inconvenience for paying customers.

"Some of them cloak it all with this thin veneer of 'sticking it to the man' and being 'anti-DRM' and 'anti-big corporations.' Despite me giving a free demo, no DRM, innovative games, at reasonable prices with great tech support from a one-man company, the bastards still rip me off and take my stuff anyway."

And I suppose he has proof that people pirating his games are the same people who claimed they only pirate to stick it to the man?

Re:Piracy and Anti-DRM (1)

microTodd (240390) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497727)

What it comes down to is, pirates will pirate regardless of whether there's DRM or not. DRM is only an inconvenience for paying customers.

Yeah, I know. Its sad. Its kinda like the SPAM problem. Sucks but there does not seem to be any easy, feasible way to fix it. I hate DRM but I also think that piracy is unethical.

And I suppose he has proof that people pirating his games are the same people who claimed they only pirate to stick it to the man?

Good point. There's more than one flavor of pirate out there.

Re:Piracy and Anti-DRM (1)

Asmor (775910) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497905)

I hate DRM but I also think that piracy is unethical.

But the point is, DRM doesn't stop piracy. It simply doesn't. DRM doesn't do anything to piracy at all. There is no reason to use DRM. Using it only hurts your actual paying customers.

Why Game Developers Go Rogue (4, Insightful)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | more than 5 years ago | (#24496981)

Why do game developers leave big companies to form their own companies? The exact same reasons other professionals leave big companies for their own companies. More breaking news at 10.

biTch (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24497043)

Be any fucK1ng You join today!

It's hard to not get flagshipped though (2, Interesting)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497075)

Game development is a fierce competition though, especially if you aim for the stars at the first try. Just ask the guys behind Flagship Studios, and then these were among the most experienced developers in the industry.

What at least one of them acknowledged though (I forget the name, I think he worked for QA on their sister company Ping0), was that they had a rather poor balance of people knowing how to run a company -- making decent products ship without putting themselves at risk. I.e. they had a large set of very skilled developers and designers, but that there are more essentials to a successful company than this, and he believed FSS made an oversight there.

a new form of evolution? (3, Interesting)

emagery (914122) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497289)

Sorry; I just read the intro, and the first thing that clicked into my mind was a phenomenon known as [evolutionary] radiation.. where, a sudden opening in the environment causes species to diverge and experiment and evolve at rapid and experimental rates... this just FEELS the same... that given an industry that is far from 'fully grown', there's so much room for creativity, exploration, new paradigms of self-awareness, that it is having the same effect... a radiation of individuality given a wide expanse of possibilities.

Why go rogue? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24497393)

Because left wing liberal kooks wont let you write first shooter games that use realistic looking minorities as the bad asses !

Misleading Headline (1)

vga_init (589198) | more than 5 years ago | (#24497707)

Darn, and I thought this was going to be about why game developers love to clone Rogue. Man, I love Rogue-likes...

Because... (1)

pdxp (1213906) | more than 5 years ago | (#24498507)

A lot of successful companies are also very corporate, and as such lack the ability to help their employees feel like they are doing anything for themselves.

Many of us know or have experienced exceptions. If you have, chances are you're still working for the company that gives you that sense of personal progress.

I'm sharing my opinion of this from a nice little Intel cube, and you might be able to guess why I can relate to people like Peeler.

sxex with a trOll (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24498921)

recent 4rticTle put

Ob (1)

edittard (805475) | more than 5 years ago | (#24499393)

How could anybody abandon the steady paychecks, access to the best tools and engines, large teams of skilled colleagues and the glory of working on one of next holiday season's blockbusters

No blackjack? No hookers? I think that's the answer, right there.

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