Sunday 12 June 2016

New Beginnings


Nearly three months ago now, everyone at Lionhead was called into a company meeting at short notice to be told that Fable Legends was probably going to be shut down and the studio along with it.  Roll forward to the end of April and the axe finally fell leaving over a hundred developers, a four year project, a smaller side project, and a 20 year old studio, gone.  I don't expect we will ever know the true logic applied by Microsoft to drive this decision, and I'm sure many will speculate on this for a long time. However, due to both the huge amount of talent among the staff and a great rally of  support from the industry I am please to say most (if not all) of my displaced colleagues have found new roles, pursuits, challenges, and adventures to move on to.
The last Lionhead team photo


In a way I have a little difficulty coming to terms with, such tragedy has led to the opening up of a significant opportunity for me.  It has become an enabler, in the form of both a financial safety net and huge prod, to do something new.  I had been at Lionhead for over eleven years and seen a lot of change, but I was still happy there building tools and technology to support the team in making the fantastic Fable visions come to life.  I have mused about quitting to develop my personal projects before, but either the numbers didn't stack up, or the time wasn't good, or I was enjoying work.  This however presents an unavoidable boot up the backside to give it a go... and that is what I am doing.


This infrequently updated (and lesser read) blog that you are reading now has been my attempt to slowly document development of a spare-time project over the last five years.  It is based around a collection of ideas I've been pondering since around 2001, gradually crystallising all the different elements of what is needed to produce some exciting procedural technology that I feel should exist.  I will go into the project details in my next post, trying to finally bring together and explain all the many aspects of my vision, for now you can refer to some of my previous posts for an overview.


During the redundancy process we all felt a bit in limbo, not really sure what was happening, or what we should be doing.  With no work to do, we were largely at a bit of a loss.  Some dusted off their CVs and job hunted, some taught themselves new things, some tinkered, some played games, some just didn't come into work.  I had some loose ends to tie up but after a while started spending more time at home on some long overdue bathroom renovation.  This served as a productive use of my time, keeping me busy, and also providing some much needed thinking space, to mull over the possibilities and directions to go.


Redundancy included various consultation sessions and training opportunities, which I decided to give a try.  These turned out to be very useful, providing me with a good overview of self-employment, and advice on using social media and the web to drive business.  Conversations with a few friends and family members about my thoughts, concerns, and plans helped too.  Going forward I decided (at least to start with) that a self-employed, one-man-band operation would serve me best.  I have a nice office set up in our spare room (a pleasant environment with desk, chair, PC, light, supplies, etc).  Office hours have been decided (9 to 4:30, flexible).  House rules have been negotiated ('Daddy will still be working when you get home from school'). I am good to go.


This weekend marks the end of my first week of my new job; working for myself, developing my project full-time.  It was always going to be a strange experience, having been an employee all my working life, but I can see myself getting used to it fairly quickly.  I like the fact that I am working on something I am truly passionate about, something that can only come from being the source of the ideas. It is weird that my spare-time project has replaced my work project and that my spare-time will need to become something else.  I will have to be careful to dedicate spare time to more varied interests as I now more than ever need to keep myself mentally balanced.


It's a hugely exciting prospect to develop my project properly, investing the time it deserves, and giving it my full focus.  I am pretty certain that it will result in some impressive and useful results and I can't wait to share with you fruits of my labour and the process by which I achieve them.  Please join me as I embark on this adventure. I will take you through some of the business, and personal sides of it but mostly this will be a technical blog (and there is a lot of technical involved).  Exciting things are on the horizon; watch this space...


  1. Welcome to the world of the self-employed! Looking forward to seeing what's next on your project.

  2. Best of luck Sam! I learned a lot from you whilst I was at Lionhead and look forward to seeing what you come up with in the exciting world of tools! ;)

  3. Cheers guys. Exciting times :)

  4. Welcome, to the world of tomorrow! I shall be watching (and learning from) your endeavours - good luck, Sam!

  5. I recognise a lot of what you mentioned above and look forward to follow you on this journey!