Who Needs A Job? The Story of Ruin of the Reckless

William Channell speaks to the creators of Ruin of the Reckless, who ditched their jobs to follow a dream …

For a lot of gamers and programmers, shifting their hobby into a profession is a dream.

Two California natives recently released the fruits of that dream onto the world in the form of a fully-fledged video game.

About three years ago, Charles Webb showed his friend Daniel Crockenberg a short game he’d made called “Wizard Fight.”

“We’d both done some programming in college,” Webb said. “When Danny saw Wizard Fight, he was like, ‘wow there are graphics and it has animations’ … it was only placeholder stuff.”

Crockenburg saw what could be produced in a short time. Webb said that’s when they knew they wanted to go ahead with the game.

Last month, that game, Ruin of the Reckless, released. It was featured on GOG.com and Steam. For Webb, the time from conception of the idea to release has been a bit of a blur. He joked about his poor concept of time.

Now, the two are just looking forward to a rest.

“After the game shipped I had this kind of naive idea that it would calm down after release, but that has quickly proven to be just the opposite,” Crockenberg said.

Crockenberg described the initial concept of the game as a “top-down version of Samurai Gunn,” though the version that released this month is much different. Changes came naturally throughout the process. The pair said when you make a game and teach yourself how to code at the same time, things don’t often work the way that was intended.
“When we started, it was really more of like a hobby thing,” Daniel said. “It wasn’t even about selling a game at that point, we just thought it was cool.”

At one point during the development process, the two were reading an interview with Samurai Gunn dev Beau Blythe. In it, Blythe discussed how his understanding of programming during the development of that game was rudimentary.

“I realize now he was exaggerating,” Webb said. “But that was what originally inspired us to see what we could do with programming.”

Webb and Crockenberg were testing an early version of the game on a forum. Webb said their decision to go through Kickstarter was based on the feedback of the small group of players helping test the game.

“I mean, it was a very crazy decision,” Webb said. “It definitely didn’t exactly go according to plan, but pretty happy with how it’s worked out so far.”

The two eventually fully committed to the game after quitting their jobs. They were on a road trip when Webb floated the idea and convinced Crockenberg to follow his lead.

“It was just kind of the environment we were in,” Crockenberg said.

As for advice, the two said there are no universal rules for going from a standard 9-5 job, to developing a game.

Despite that, Crockenberg said the fact that he and Webb can argue without hurting their relationship was a key factor. Having confidence in a business partner, he said, is hugely important.

In any case, both Webb and Crockenberg are happy with how their situation has turned out. Webb joked that the game is the “ultimate resume piece.”

“I still wouldn’t go back and tell myself not to do it,” Webb said. “Even if some disaster happens and the company goes under, even the skills we’ve developed over the course of this project make us more valuable.”

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