Mental sanity when you’re about to release a game
I’ve already talk about the anxiety you can experience when releasing a game but this time it’s about that time just before release.
Dungeon of Loot is at a point where I’m making huge progress in very little time (thanks to my tools to generate dungeons and customize monsters) so launch should be coming soon. Maybe in a week or two but I’m not setting any deadline. I know exactly what’s left to be done so I’ll get through it without adding some useless pressure. That’s probably different when you’re working on a team for a studio. It must be really mad because marketing is already running their full machine, money is running out and your investors won’t give you a second chance.
So in a way I have it easy. Here’s the difference though, cry all you want but if you are getting (badly or not) paid for it don’t rub your pain in my face Sure I don’t risk anything or much by releasing a new game. Blimp Wars cost me some financial stability but that was still a failure under control.
I’m feeling a bit like I’m climbing a ladder leading to “yeah, you are making enough money by yourself to eat” but I keep slipping, stepping on weak steps and have sometime to jump a bit to reach the next steps. It’s an exciting challenge filled with enriching experience but it’s also a challenge that I have no idea how long it will take to complete. So far the counter is nearing 3 years. Will it be that 3 years? Or maybe double that? Maybe 10 years? Maybe never …
There’s no way to know so the only thing you can do is to keep climbing and hope that it will become easier as you get higher. Reaching the top only leads to another ladder but like I said if you reached that other ladder don’t tell me how difficult it is to climb. I’m still at the first one and have my hands full already.
And maybe reaching the top is not necessary but it can be nice if at least you have the feeling you are making progress besides knowing better how to climb a damn ladder. So it would be nice that Dungeon of Loot do a bit better than say Blimp Wars. Bonus points if it can do better than Golemizer. I just want some positive results.
I’ve lowered a lot my expectations for DoL. Not that I don’t believe in it but it’s just that I’m getting used to how things work. I already know that 95% of people that I will contact won’t talk about it. I know that I won’t have the money to pay for ads. I know that those people on Facebook that are labeled as my “friends” won’t spread the word either.
I also know however that I never really used before the Facebook API (weak try with Golemizer but that was mostly just using Facebook Connect), that Heyzap will be distributing the game and that even if I’m not a fan of Kongregate’s rating system I can get a couple of thousand hits that way (integration to come after launch). That’s a start and a better one than what Golemizer had at first. See it’s not all negative
Now that I’m at the last few miles of work the most difficult thing for me right now is to not tell myself “ok but if it doesn’t work what will I do next?”. I need to stay focused to get it done but at the same time I never ever forget my goal which is to make a living of my work. Will it be with this project? I can’t say but I believe it can happen since I’m doing it. However I’m trying to be realistic at the same time. Many have gone through that before and it may take years before it provide any kind of result. That will be my third game … well 5th if I include Ereptoria and Chasing Tortoise though the experience gained from those last two cannot be compared to anything I’ve been doing since Golemizer. Do I need to do 5 more games before it gets somewhere? Some are lucky and reach that goal on the first one. That’s obviously not my case but that’s fine. It’s just that never knowing if I’m 1-2 projects away or 10-20 to my goal is messing my poor brain.
I tasted what it’s like to work on your own thing and now I’m unable to forget it so it’s becoming a bit haunting. I need to remain calm and patient and keep working hard but all those things are always easier to say than to do when you’re in it 24/7.
Yeah, yeah, yeah … Same for everyone in everything nothing new in that. But it’s my blog so I chose to be a bit self-centered here. That’s a good therapy and helps in a way to stay motivated. Working on a new game requires time and at best I can spend about 3 hours a day (4 if I don’t mind getting really tired in the morning) on that so when it doesn’t work quite well I know I’ll be several months again not doing what I want to do. Dungeon of Loot is probably the fastest and easiest game I worked on and I’m still wondering why it’s not completed already. Looking back I know I couldn’t go any faster unless I decided to cut my pay check but even a simple project takes a lot of time to complete when you’re doing it part-time.
Part-time … I should say it’s almost the only time I have left at all.
Well I should be good to go for a couple of days with this post. Stay tuned for “the long hours left waiting after the release of a game”