At the end of this month, I will have been working on System Crash for four years.
It’s hard to wrap my mind around that number. I’m in such a different place right now, that old life seems like a half-remembered dream.
I do remember desperation, though. Feeling trapped, like an animal. Dreams die hard, and I could feel mine kicking frantically in my chest as the daily grind slowly suffocated the life out of it.
There was nothing wrong with me. I was well-off, respected. I had great friends and an active social life. And yet, slowly but surely, desperation grew. I could feel the point approaching where I’d have to either let my dream die or do something drastic.
So I jumped.
Which was fairly unprecedented, for me. I’m not particularly brave. Or, to put it more generously, I err on the side of caution. But I guess the fear of what would happen if I made a move was eventually overpowered by the fear of what would happen if I didn’t.
It was a bit of a fuck up, though. I mean, obviously; I had originally estimated one year and here I am, four years later, still labouring to get the first game out.
I made plenty of mistakes in my design and my development process along the way. From choice of art style (I love SC’s art, but lots of indies have found success with abstraction and a stylized art style that gets them more bang for their art buck. I’ve been taking notes.) to stubbornly failing to triage certain beloved features the minute I saw that I’d run out of money before finishing them (The story campaign, for example. I should have released an arena card battler then used the money to build a story campaign in the sequel. I should be building that sequel now).
My game design isn’t as creative as I’d have liked, I basically just mashed together existing CCGs that I’d played, and I’m piss-poor at marketing and PR. I took ages to put up a proper website for the game, I don’t have a PR video or a Facebook page ready, and my blogging (the cheapest form of PR I could do) is erratic.
All in all, just a mess.
But…but the desperation is gone. I mean, I’m not where I want to be, yet, and I still want to get there, badly. But that animal in my chest isn’t kicking me in the ribs anymore. I’ve fucked up a lot, but at least I’m fucking up in generally the right direction. I’m doing something to make my dream a reality. And, to paraphrase Edison, I’ve figured out a bunch of things that don’t work.
So at least I can make different mistakes on the next game. 😉
Four years. Crazy That’s a hell of a lot of time to devote to a thing.
It’s also, I think, going to be the sum total of the thing. I’m anticipating being finished development by the end of this month. The game is looking good, just a little bit more playtesting to do and it’s a wrap. So, yeah, woo!
Here’s to four years! It was a crazy journey, but I’m ready to start a new adventure now!