Bryan Shannon, a former Maxis developer who worked on SimCity and its Cities of Tomorrow expansion, was let go a month ago thanks to EA shutting down Maxis Emeryville.
Shannon isn’t letting his newfound lack of employment hold him back, however, and he’s come up with a rather novel idea – and also one with no small degree of irony. In order to support himself, Shannon has started a Patreon to help him create content for Paradox Interactive’s latest city management game, Cities: Skylines, which was released last week and is currently doing brisk business. Shannon is hoping that making custom buildings for the game will earn him enough support to keep the wolves from the door.
“When I was a kid, I never imagined that PEOPLE actually made games,” Shannon says of his latest venture. “Instead, I was pretty convinced that games came from some sort of magical realm. To keep my dream alive, I need to find work soon, or it might be time to start cleaning dishes and wrapping burritos. Instead, I’d rather be here working on artwork to inspire generations to come.”
He isn’t looking to get rich off of his endeavor, though. “I’m going to be straight with all of you. I don’t intend on getting “Notch” rich off of any of this. All I want to do is be able to afford my coffee, buy my girlfriend a dinner, and pay all of my student loans off. Speaking of loans, as I speak to you today, one day before the biggest Pi day in our lifetime (3/13/2015), I HAVE OVER $80,000 LEFT IN STUDENT LOANS TO PAY OFF.”
His milestone goals on Patreon reflect that, offering free releases on his texture maps, more content, and raw files submitted so they can be re-purposed, learned from, or re-used for other projects – as well as little perks like crafted wallpapers and time-lapse videos for donators.
If you’re interested in helping him out (and reducing those rather substantial student debts), get thee to his Patreon page.
Author’s opinion: Getting to see industry professionals working on modding tools and releasing content like this is pretty cool, but I can’t help but wonder how well this sort of Patreon might translate years from now, further down the production cycle, when the base game changes substantially or if the artist finds new interests – or if the modding tools change for any reason. Patreon is a very cool platform for allowing people to do stuff like this, but one that may not be effectively suited to this kind of work. It’s still very interesting however, and we sincerely hope that Shannon is able to pay down some of those massive student fees.