September 2021 Update
And just like that, I'm back to being a fully employed member of the video games industry. This got confirmed during August after applications, interviews and a test, but I won't be starting until next week. It's a remote job for a large English developer, and I'm super excited to start.
No, it's not a design job, it's a tester job. No, it's not permanent - the contract is currently temporary but there is the chance it will be extended or made permanent (but not guaranteed). Why did I do this? Frankly because trying to get a design job (even the most junior, underpaid, borderline illegal design job) seems to be extremely difficult without previous design experience.
The number of junior designer jobs out there is slim. The number of those jobs that don't require ANY previous design experience is infinitesmal. The number of those jobs that don't have 100+ applicants within the first hours of the job ad going up are non-existent. There's many, many candidates and not enough roles to go around.
So the way I saw it was that I could either carry on in my current state; working voluntarily as a designer, with no pay, and no guarantee of getting any money out of the project for the foreseable future, or I could try and get a different job that wasn't design, but could lead to design.
I went with the latter. I needed a job, I needed money, I needed more relevant industry experience, and honestly I need more structure. I need the professional routines that come with working for a large company. Structure, expectations, goals, requirements etc etc - I usually thrive a bit better when provided with these things.
Naturally this means I had to stop my work at Gamucatex, which was a shame, but not exactly a difficult choice. Hopefully what the folks are working on (and some small sliver of my work) will eventually be shown more publicly and will be something I can take a crumb of credit for.
As for personal work - that continues! Gamejam work is progressing with my southern hemisphere teammates and whilst it has its own challenges, it's nice to work on something directly. I'm also still carrying on with podcasting and video editing where possible just to keep things varied.
The only thing I haven't put any time into is writing or any kind of narrative work, which sucks. I'm hoping to maybe find time for this soon, but I don't want to make a promise to myself to then just break it a week later.