The not quite famous success stories
Throughout the past year I've met a lot of new people on through the /r/GameMaker Discord group I found via Reddit. It's not often that you meet people that are inspirational but I've been so lucky as to meet tons of them. Among these people is Julian Adams (AKA Juju) who has about as much time as me in Game Maker yet more than twice the knowledge. Another programming genius, YellowAfterLife (who's full name I do not know) has worked on many popular titles and has released a number of incredible extensions for GM. Lastly I'd like to bring up Squarebit who created Chronicon, a hand-crafted hack n' slash dungeon crawler.
Julian Adams, the right man in the right place
Mostly known for his work on Hyper Light Drifter Juju has put countless hours into building a community around Game Maker as well as focusing on his understanding
of computers/programming. So you are probably wondering what "the right man in the right place" is referencing. Juju has taken part in a few fields of work and lately has been most interested in programming for various large-scale GM projects. While many people may not have heard of him yet he has paved his own path and earned himself more than fair compensation for his efforts.
A jealous and ignorant person may say that he was just lucky but the fact of the matter is that he built a community (which got his name spread around far more than most GM devs) and he has the skills required for just about any project. Success may have found its way to Juju but only because he made himself available to it. That's not to say he swimming in pools of money while earning billions of dollars. He does honest work and still has to put out effort like any other developer, he just gets paid for it.
Squarebit, the right game at the wrong time
Another pillar in the community Squarebit has poured a lot of his own time into running the GMC Discord which is sort of the less professional social hangout in comparison to /r/Gamemaker. He has used GM for many years and not too long ago decided to get serious. He released Chronicon onto Steam in an early access state. He invested a lot of his own resources and time into the game only to see that it didn't all pay off right away.
After more than a year of hard work on his now public title things began to change for the better. He's now one of the more successful GM devs I've met. One thing to take away from this is that he didn't just work on a game for 5 years and dump it out onto Steam. Instead he has built a community, pushed consistent updates for Chronicon, and remains persistent in perusing his goals. Again not just a lucky success but instead a story of true passion and faith in his labor.
YellowAfterLife, the genius spread thin
YAL has put more time into programming than I have into gaming. He on a completely different plain of understanding. While he does not partake heavily in any particular community he definitely spends a lot of time helping others on https://forum.yoyogames.com/index.php which certainly has helped him get his name around. His extensions for GM fund a lot of his work but he also has worked on games like Nuclear Throne and Nidhogg which has (much like Juju) funded him the most.
This is a case of too much work and not enough social networking. While YAL isn't necessarily known as some big shot millionaire he is certainly a success. He makes a living working on games and generally just doing what he loves.
What can we learn from these people?
Success isn't something that just rolls into your lap after you've spent the night eating ice cream and crying yourself to sleep. It's earned through years of frustration, emotional roller coasters, and self-doubt. You have to go out and really fight for it. Imagine standing in a room with 10,000 other developers and coming out on top. That's your odds and you have to beat them.
Sometimes this means cutting corners, leaving people behind, and sometimes even going against your own instincts. If you really want it you have to be willing to give up everything for it. You can't play it safe and you have to accept the fact that you might fail even if you do everything right.