It's really happening. I'm getting paid to work on a video game while living in Japan. I must admit it feels good when I tell people what I do for a living and they immediately want to know more. It's definitely the most interesting work I have done so far. The sorts of problems I encounter on a daily basis are much more satisfying to solve than what I encountered working as a web developer. The other day I had to use calculus to solve a programming problem. This would never occur working on a web site.
The work schedule is a bit harsh. I typically leave for work at 9am and get home around 9pm. This won't always be the case. We have a major deadline coming up in the next few weeks and if we can make it, the chances of our game succeeding increase dramatically. I feel motivated like never before to push hard and do a good job. I have a sense that a little bit of struggle now could result in a lot of cool things happening to my career in the future. This certainly isn't the life for everyone. I'm currently making about 1/6th of what I was making in the US, but my daily life is much more enjoyable than it was back then. It kind of feels like I switched my life from easy to hard mode, but it's really thrilling.
I haven't been photographing much recently, but after the big deadline I should have a chance to catch my breath and spend some time on my hobbies.