How I Escaped Evangelical Hell: A Memoir RELEASED!

Hello, folks! I’m incredibly proud to announce that my first book, How I Escaped Evangelical Hell, is now for sale on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and will soon be available on digital platforms and on shelves worldwide! To the surprise of many, this isn’t a book about game development.

Click here to check it out on Amazon!

Every day at apartment #54, inside his tiny Section-8 bedroom, Jon Jones would stare at the pages of his father’s Amplified Bible. Then, he would turn to his IBM clone 386 SX-25, pick that day’s chapters, and type out what he read. Outdoors, children would be playing baseball; he could hear them, but he would be typing. Not because he wanted to, but because if he didn’t, there would be hell to pay.

“From the age of eight to fourteen,” writes Jones, “every single day, before I was allowed to eat or go outside or even do my schoolwork, I had to type out my chapters, and then I was figuratively free for the day. I remember looking outside to see the kids in the neighborhood running and playing because school was out for the summer–but I had to stay inside to type the Bible. I’m doing God’s Work! Don’t I want God to love me? Keep typing! Now, you may be thinking, ‘how did it take 6 years to type 900 pages?’ When I finished the Bible in its entirety for the first time, my father ‘accidentally’ deleted the entire thing and ‘didn’t have any backups, ‘ and I had to start over from scratch. Infuriatingly, he would repeat this over the years by mysteriously losing chapters or entire books. I estimate that I’ve typed the Amplified Bible somewhere between five and ten times. There are over 880,000 words in the Amplified Bible.”

In How I Escaped Evangelical Hell, Jones bravely reveals his slow drowning by the hands of his radical evangelical Christian family in their pursuit to raise the perfect Godly boy. In doing so, Jones found his salvation through the very computer on which he was forced to write the Bible.

Click here to check it out on Amazon!

Awesomely, it was quickly listed as the #1 Hot New Release on Amazon in the Religious Cult category on Amazon, and is still holding high in the charts. Wow!

This was an extremely difficult book to write, and pretty much lays bare my soul and abusive religious upbringing, and how my pursuit of a career in the video game industry saved me from it. It’s actually a pretty funny read, but still unflinching in its criticism of the dark side of Evangelical Christian culture. I’d spent my entire life either hiding these things or not realizing that it was abuse, but since I accepted that I own what happened to me, I decided to write the book. It’s been amazingly cleansing for my soul, and I’m grateful for my publisher and team at Thane and Prose Press for helping me bring my story to the world.

Big news! I now work for Autodesk.

Big news for me: I’m taking a break from freelancing and have accepted a full-time job at Autodesk on the Shotgun team! This job is basically a corporate-sponsored version of the best parts of what I did as a freelancer, working with my favorite project management tool. I’ll essentially be a technical account manager for the Shotgun team, working from home in NYC and traveling all over the US and the world to help studios in the game, VFX, and film spaces set up and learn how to manage their production pipelines.

What is Shotgun, you may ask? Shotgun is the wondrously artist-friendly project management tool I used to manage the entirety of Just Cause 3’s outsourcing. During the course of working with it, I made a few friends on the Shotgun dev team, and was deeply impressed with the product and the people behind it. Now I’m a part of the team that helps people set it up and learn to use it.

So yeah, WOO! I’ll still be working from home in NYC, but I’ll be traveling quite a bit now and may be in your town soon.

And in case anyone was wondering, I had some comments on why I’m going back to full-time employment. Stepping back from freelancing was a difficult decision. I may try it out again someday, but for now this is the best thing for me and my life. The stress is enormous, and being in constant business development mode in parallel with client work is exhausting.

Because of my specialization in remote production and outsourcing, I’m only needed for a limited amount of the dev cycle, which means most of my gigs only last between two and six months. Repeat clients only happen every few years because I’m typically only brought on at the tail end of a long dev cycle. The end result is that almost every new gig for me is joining a team just as it’s ramping up aggressively, getting hardcore, and sometimes crunching. It’s tiring.

The 50th project of my career is currently wrapping up now, and I thought this would be a great time to switch gears and try something different. Working with project management tools and helping build and improve production pipelines is enormously fun for me, but I haven’t gotten to do that in-depth for quite some time. The scope of the work I’m doing for Autodesk is basically exactly the parts of my freelancing that I liked the most, and getting to focus in on that is going to be fun.

Also, more than anything, doing what I do gets lonely. Since repeat clients are infrequent, the only people I see again are the artists and vendors I work with on various jobs, but I don’t always get to choose which vendors I’m working with — that varies from gig to gig. Having typical work camaraderie is rare for me these days, and that’s grown to bother me more over time. With Autodesk, I’m joining a team with people I already know and have worked with in a different capacity, and really dig in and learn alongside them, do cool things, and travel all over the place. I’m looking forward to that. 🙂

My GDC 2017 talk is online!

Hi, everybody! My GDC 2017 talk, How to Cut the Tether and Work from Anywhere, is now online for viewing. Here’s the synopsis:

It’s 2017, and it’s increasingly feasible for game teams to be geographically distributed. With the cloud storage, fiber internet, 4G LTE, smartphones, cellular modems and ubiquitous wifi, working remotely is increasingly an option for anyone to achieve at any level of seniority… technically. But what skills and disciplines are necessary to transition from a full-time office worker into someone that works from home, a coffee shop, or the road? It’s a lot more than simply VPNing in, syncing to latest from your team’s source control, and checking email twice a day. Establishing a persistent, reliable remote presence that attracts and retains clients demands a very particular skillset. If you’re wondering how to transition into working from home for your full-time job, wanting to hone your skills as a project manager utilizing remote teams, or even if you’re thinking of striking out on your own and going indie, come listen!

I’m very proud of this, and I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

One click to create new Google doc, spreadsheet, or presentation

Here’s one of my favorite little productivity tricks! Did you know you can create a bookmark that immediately creates a new Google document, spreadsheet, or presentation? Keep it in your Bookmarks Toolbar for quick access. Here are the links to bookmark:

Enjoy. 🙂

Art Outsourcing Knowledge Base, updated categories, and a BOOK!

Hi, everybody! I’ve just added the Art Outsourcing Knowledge Base to the site. This is a categorized, organized collection of the last 11 years’ worth of art outsourcing and production management articles, tips, advice, and tools that I’ve posted on the site. It’s VASTLY easier to sort through and read, and I wanted to put it online for an easy desk reference for outsourcing or managing art. Check it out!

Secondly, I’ve gone through and recategorized everything on my site, and brought back the Categories list. It’s a much easier way to sort through Artist Career Tips, smArt Management advice, Outsourcing Management information, Productivity ideas, and more. I’m hoping this will make my site’s 13 years’ worth of content easier to navigate.

Finally, I’ve started writing a comprehensive book on art outsourcing and how to manage distributed teams. I’ve been going through ~13 years of this blog’s content to find and categorize relevant sections to update and include in the book, and so far I already have 137 pages of content! This is going to be awesome. I’ll be adding several new sections, dramatically revamping and updating my existing content, and pushing to publish it in the summer. Stay tuned!

Link: A complete guide to ready-made game assets

A complete guide to ready-made game assets

This is an excellent read for anyone in game development, from indie to AAA. Utilizing online content stores like the Unreal Engine Marketplace or the Unity Asset Store can be extraordinarily useful for game dev, starting from prototyping all the way to final shipped content. I especially like the idea of asking the artist for custom work if you like the content you purchase.


Art outsourcing and production for the game industry