Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Ugh. This is the painful part of the blog thing. Sure I get to share my successes with an enraptured audience of dozens, and that's fun. But I'm also committed to sharing my failures.

And fail I have. All bullshit aside nobody would mistake FRONTIERS for a releasable product right now. My deadline has come and gone. Now I get to choose whether to stick to my guns and shelve the game like I threatened to back in dick-swinging March or wuss out and pretend I never made such a threat.

Okay, that's a false dilemma. A third option is to reflect on why I failed, admit I made mistakes, resolve not to make those mistakes again and remain committed to finishing the game.

Spoiler: I'm not shelving the game. As much as I'd love to be a badass and walk away, the pain of shelving it would be too much.

Missing this deadline was rough. It may be hard to see from the outside, because deadlines seem so arbitrary when they're self-imposed. But this one wasn't. It was a measured calculation. It was based on objective self-appraisal. Failing means I overestimated myself in skill or self-honesty or both.

Before I go on, yes, this is a pity party. None of this wailing and drama really helps anything. But fuck it, it's *my* pity party and I'll boo hoo hoo if I want to. If this post reads like a eulogy it's because I feel like part of me died when I missed that deadline.

I'm not even kidding.

When you try something new you have to pretend you can do it or you'd never start. 'Yeah sure I can *totally* make a game even though I never have before.' You're like a kid outlining yourself on the wall, then drawing the outline you *think* you'll fill 10 years from now. Unless you're really morbid you're going to assume you'll grow a couple of inches and keep all your limbs.

When I started this project I drew a mental outline of myself as a game developer, hoping that I would grow to fill it. It wasn't overly ambitious, but it did assume a full set of limbs. As I worked I'd fill in bits of the outline with real observations - hey, it looks like I *am* pragmatic when it comes to design and hey, it looks like I *can* make art assets quickly. Go me! It was a promising start. So promising (even intoxicating) that I stopped wondering whether I'd grow to fill this outline and started assuming I would.

That was cocky. I can see that now. I treated my goal like a reality. Doing that is like using your '10-years-from-now' outline to buy all your clothes in advance. They ain't gonna fit right.

This deadline didn't fit right. In fact very little about the past two or three months has fit right. I'm not the game developer I sincerely believed I was. It's like looking down and realizing I've been missing a leg this whole time. Fuck! No wonder these pants were loose!

So this is me tossing a rose on that imagined self's coffin and saying some final words before burying it in the ground. Goodbye. It was nice thinking I knew you, but I've got to move on. Cue rain machine and sad folk song as I walk away in slow motion, etc.

Okay. Moving on.

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