GotThatGame.Com: Free Time

Most projects must find a way to cope with limited resources, but side projects most of all. Even if all you have is spare time, no budget, and a good idea, you still need to ship. When I was building GotThatGame.Com, I found my most limited resource was "free time".

Nowadays, money and materials aren't limitations for a little project like this. The Steam Web API does not charge a fee. The GotThatGame.Com About page very briefly lists a litany of technologies utilized on the product, each of which is no cost. It is currently hosted on Windows Azure for free for the next 90 days. The real constraint was time.

Unlike other commodities, time cannot actually be bought or sold. You can have some that is "borrowed" and perhaps you could trade time for money for something you don't want to "spend" time doing. Once it is consumed, it becomes another commodity entirely: experience. Experience cannot be refunded back for time, though it may allow you to "save" some from time-to-time.

Experience is like a tattoo. It's permanent. Ideally, it is beautiful. It can sometimes be regrettable. You can show people the visual, but rarely share the true meaning. There is only so much that one person can accumulate. After a while, it will all start to blur.

Experience is also intensely valuable. It is the only commodity you can mine every hour of the waking day. Oddly enough, I spent more time making GotThatGame in a month than I spent playing video games in that month. I doubt it will ever save me more time than I spent making it; however, I got more experience out of it than the XP offered by any game.

I don't want people to feel guilty about time with family or time with friends, but even a gamer like me starts to feel growing guilt after the 60th minute of gaming in a day. When you're spending your "Free Time", what are you getting for your investment? Do you want that forever?

PS: Most of that time was made free by my wife Morgan and daughter Melodie. My side projects are not just experiments for my professional skills, but also a monument to the personal support of my family.