If you’ve been following my development for a while, you might have noticed the lack of updates in the last 3 months. Baffling, especially given the fact that System Crash is so close to release. Why the sudden silence? Has something gone wrong? Have I given up, lost interest, thrown in the towel?
The answer is far less dramatic than that. The gist of it is that I took a short break, which ended up being less ‘short’ than I’d planned. Because I was enjoying the lack of stress, and (unconsciously) reluctant to pick up the burden again. Once you stop moving it can be difficult to get back up to speed again.
The best comparison is to running a marathon. You’ve been going for a long time and you’re tired, your legs are cramping. You ache to stop, to take a break. Just a little one. You know if you just take that break, you’ll feel so much better. And then you can start running again, refreshed.
But that line of thought is deadly. You stop and relax and you’ll find it incredibly difficult to get back up and start running again. Once you stop, you tend to stay stopped, to find reasons not to get moving again. You’re certainly not giving up, oh no, of course not. You’ll get back up and start running again soon. But you haven’t quite got your breath back, right, so you’ll just sit for a few more minutes…
So that baffling silence and lack of updates from me, that’s what happened. Getting SC to the finish line has been a long, tiring, stressful slog. I hadn’t wanted to “take a break” before getting it out, I knew that it would suck away my momentum, but shit happened, as shit does.
I found it impossible to keep a steady focus on my game development there, in the end. First from the stress of my emptying bank account and the worry, then because I was getting to grips with my new job and a new environment, settling in. My focus completely diverted, my game development slowed to a walk, then stopped completely. I relaxed. The tension went out of my elastic band.
And once I’d relaxed, I found myself reveling in being chilled again, free from stress and tension. I could enjoy just being a regular joe, working a regular job, enjoying my free time and spending my money on indulgences. I did some work every now and then on SC, sure, but far less than I could have or should have. Enough to assuage the guilty feeling that I should be working, but not enough to really push the project forward significantly. Like I said, when you stop and sit down, it’s hard to get back up and start running again.
So that’s the long and short of it. I took a break, and found it hard to shift my ass back into gear again. Rather disappointingly mundane, really. You’d expect a dramatic tale of woe and misadventure, some fitting fodder for Indie Game : The Movie. But nah, nothing that would make for good television, just regular old slacking off, and having time slip by. Wasn’t the first time it’s happened, doubt it will be the last.
Shit happens. But I’m back to running full tilt again, as it were. I’ll go into detail in the next post, but let me offer this, as teaser : 19 new cards! New art! 2 new gameplay mechanics! Extensive re-balancing! Exclamation marks!
I’ll leave off by reiterating the lesson here. If you’re moving, keep moving. Don’t stop. It’s a lot harder to start up again, even if you tell yourself you’re only going to take a short break. That seductive voice, the one telling you that you’re only going to take a quick break, that’s your lazy lizard brain playing tricks on you. Fuck that guy.
And if you do stop, well, fuck it. You’re human, you make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up. Just get back up and start running again. Pity parties are just another form of distraction, another manifestation of the lizard brain fucking you up. Avoid that shit, self-pity is a useless emotion. Don’t go do a Phil Fish and go mope at the bottom of a pool or whatever. Get back to work.