What Does Success Look Like to You?

3D and UX Design for Games, VR and Animation

What Does Success Look Like to You?

December 15, 2012 Uncategorized 6

Last night I sent out a tweet and facebook update to all the creative folks I follow and follow me, asking them what their definition of success is. The responses I got have been so surprising and heartwarming that I have to share some of them with you here. From creatives around the world, from Australia to Chile to the US and everywhere in between, this is what “Success” looks like to us…

The Question:

Sup friends, question for you: how will you know when you’re ‘successful’? What does success look like to you?


Most commonly occurring themes in the responses I’ve had so far (selected some to include in this post, you’ll find them below!):

  • Independence
  • Creative freedom
  • Happiness

(Folks, if you ever wondered why it is I do what I do, this is why. I am super crazy awesome lucky to be working with you guys!)


From Twitter:


@Arash_Mohebbi: “IMHO? When you think you’re just doodling along but users/students say “whoa, you made an impression on my life”. It’s ace.”

@wMattDodd “Mild: Never living off ramen again. Medium: Can afford to have kids if I want. Spicy: Helping many people via games.”

@NinRac “when I no longer have to worry from paycheck to paycheck and know that things will finally be okay”

@AeornFlippout “Success to me is making the games I want to, while paying the bills with a bit leftover.”

@HumunculiTzu “Being happy and having a job that feels more like your playing then working”

@TrueValhalla “When you’re proud of what you’re achieving on a consistent basis.”

@ATerribleIdea “I will be a successful human when I leave this world a better place.” + “I will be a successful game designer when someone creates a parody twitter account of me.” + “I will be a successful coder when I’m trusted with problems that can’t be solved.” + “I will be a successful facilitator when I am no longer needed.”


From the Indie Game Developer’s Facebook Group:


Bravo Child: “Having the resources and surrounding community to activate projects which move toward creating an industry I want to be a part of. The 3 key indicators for me are: a) can I create what I envision b) are the creations received? c) are they instrumental in further creation/change?”

Tyler Coleman: “When I know that I can pay myself as much as my employees, and feel that I’ve earned that by just running the studio.”

Nicole Stark: “When I can live in the most beautiful place in the world, and make games for a living. Uber mega successful is living here, making the games I want to make.”

Josh Sutphin: “When I can sustain myself without having to answer to anybody BUT myself.”

Mateo Williford: “I find success sneaks up on you. There was a time when just making games as my sole source of income would be success. Now it’s being able to self fund all my own projects, which I should be able to do sometime next year. Sacrilege I know, but at some point I’d like to develop a non-game product… not sure what yet, something physical. A toy of some sort might be cool.”

Rachel Pridham: “when we can pay our bills and have a bit of money left over for a rainy day or to keep us buffered while working on the next project. That will be the ultimate success. There are small goal successes between the ultimate goal though, for instance, having over a million downloads of our game.”

Andrew Lloyd: “Success for me is about creating a great work of art, or possibly an innovative enigma of an interactive product or game. If my game manages to touch a single person and provides them with a special experience that to me quantifies success. As well as being able to really connect and support your audience too.”


From Facebook:


Linette Voller : “Hmmm… When I am content. It looks like me waking with a positive attitude and enjoying the path through life I am taking. I have conversations with people I love and delight in the abundance around me.”

Dan Toose: “When you’re sustainably happy, doing something with meaning. Another thought – I think by definition, it simply means when you’re achieving your goals. For one person, that goal may be getting rich or being financially sustainable, and for others, that may be being the best in their field, or making a difference in the world. As we’ve seen above, for some, the key thing is simply to enjoy life and be happy.”

Chris Brecheen: “Depends on how I’m using the word. In many ways, I think I am now. In some ways, I think I won’t be “successful” until I’m monetarily contributing to the household”

John Hutchinson: “Success is also choosing to be happy, no matter what, overcoming fear, picking yourself up when you fall, learning from failure and knowing that those you love know it.”

Paul Nunes: “Global recognition and making sufficient income to live off your craft making quality work that you are proud to be a part of.:”

Leena van Deventer: “Leaving the world better than when you entered it.”

Dave Wishnowski: “Waking up every day with the freedom to fill the hours as I wish.”

Luke Quinn: “When I have enough money to never have to worry about it again. I don’t want a mansion full of stuff, I just want to make games for the rest of my life without ever having to sweat a bill or some other unforeseen money problem.”

Boon Cotter: “I’m already successful, I think. I didn’t always feel this way, but a paradigm shift in my philosophies has a lot to do with it. I don’t mean it to sound trite, like some Hallmark gesture, but anything from now is just additional degrees of success, meeting different challenges. I’d love to release a successful indie game. I’d like to make a successful short film. One day I’d like to write a great novel. But right now I’m happy and I’m surrounded by more affluence than many ever achieve, it’s hard to feel anything but success. In regards to the success of an endeavour, I wish I could answer you, but I guess I won’t know until it happens. How will I know when GDO is successful? ~shrug~ I expect it’ll be a gradual evolution.”

Kimberly Unger: “When someone comes to find me for the work I do, rather than me constantly searching for the next project.”

James Podesta: “success = independence.”


Okay, so how about you, what does success look like to YOU? How will you recognise it when you’ve reached it?


6 Responses

  1. As someone already said, that would be to be able to make games that I want to make and being able to pay the bills.

  2. wMattDodd says:

    I want to expand on mine(@wMattDodd “Mild: Never living off ramen again. Medium: Can afford to have kids if I want. Spicy: Helping many people via games.”) a bit–I’m already more successful than I ever thought I’d be.

    I live in a house with fantastic people who I love and that love me. My lifelong depression is finally being treated and it seems to be helping dramatically. And my ‘job’ is making games with my friend of 22 years that we co-design.

    But, being human, that’s become my new baseline.

    It’s very stressful to have to live off of ramen and rice, and/or have to borrow money to make rent. It would be wonderful to never have to worry about falling to that level of poverty again.

    I know I want to have kids one day, and I don’t want to have to raise them in poverty. So that’s another benchmark of success for me.

    But the best success has nothing to do with money. I want my games to help people. That’s one reason I like (ethically designed) free to play so much, because the larger your audience the more people you can help. Now, my definition of ‘helping people’ is pretty broad, and some may disagree. But, personally, I know that I’ve been helped by games. Games have helped me sharped my critical thinking and planning skills. Games have exposed me to cultures, history, and perspectives that I otherwise might not have given a second thought to. Some RPGs have helped me crystallize or question my beliefs, or examine who I am. Games have helped alleviate or dispel some pretty foul moods. Game have given me something to focus on during some dark times that I may not have made it through otherwise. There’s a correlation between the rise of gaming and the fall of violent crime–that may be coincidence, but I don’t believe it is. I’m not saying games are the /only/ factor in the dramatic reduction we’ve seen in violent crime, but I do believe they are /a/ factor.

    I believe games help us improve ourselves and our world, and even, on occasion, save lives. I believe in games.

    And that’s why I want to make them.
    –Matt Dodd

  3. Success is getting your facebook comment randomly quoted by indiebits.

  4. Michael P. says:

    Funny enough, I was thinking about this just the other day. I was reflecting on how in high school I wanted to be a rich and famous artist. Basically I wanted recognition for doing good work, and I imagined that with that recognition would necessarily come at least a certain amount of financial reward. But at some point I realized that the “rich” fantasy of most people is mostly about being able to do whatever you want. Once I started to think that way I realized success for me just meant being able to get up and do what I want to do (which happens to be “create things”). So all that has to happen is those things I create need to bring in a living wage. That would make me feel very very free. It would be the same thing as being a millionaire.

  5. Ivan Beram says:

    To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

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