Do indie game developers ever take holidays? I recently returned to my hometown for a fortnight’s holiday and during that time I was unable to do any work on the game. It has been a week since and I’m only just getting back up to speed on development. It is a great loss of time and momentum, making me wonder if the life of a indie game developer is all work. I imagine it must be, at least during the early years. First the game must be developed, but once nearly complete there is so much more to be done. There is creating an awareness of the game; selling the game; and supporting the game. Of course there is also starting over with the next game. The enormity of the task is beginning to dawn on me.
The self-imposed pressure is beginning to build. Last year I planned to attend this year’s GDC conference with a complete or near complete game. There are many people who want to create games, but few who actually complete. I need to have something done to show I’m not just a wannabe developer. Unfortunately due to reworking the game after initial testing, there was no hope for it to ready in time for GDC 2014, so I cancelled my plans and vowed to make it in time for the GDC 2015 conference. At the time that seemed like a very easy goal. Unfortunately, programmers tend to be overly optimistic. According to the countdown timer I have on my desktop there are (as of right now) 156 days, 14 hours and 20 minutes until GDC. It will be close, but I think it is still very achievable.
The first pass through the all new GUI work has just been completed. All the professional GUI art has made the game look immensely better, although the 3D developer art still lets it down a bit. There are a few little annoyances to be ironed out and some niceties to make the game feel smoother (like animated transitions when the GUI readjusts itself – rather than just jumping immediately to the final state). Next the menu system will be redesigned by a professional artist. Meanwhile I need to work on balancing, then complete the single-player campaign, then spec out 3D art work, then fix online play, then plan marketing, … Will it never end? No more big holidays until this is done – I must finish!