(Just Like) Starting Over

Here’s the thing… I find myself coming up with a new game idea once or twice a year. Usually at that point, I drop everything else I’ve been working on and focus all my free time for the next 2 or 3 weeks on it, until I gradually lose momentum. While those initial bursts are often very productive, the games never make it beyond the early prototype stage. There’s a whole gallery of titles in various stages of not-really-playableness in my Git repository – see also the posted screenshots.

So why have I not managed to ever finish one of them you ask? Well, I think it comes down to a combination of one or more of the following factors:

  1. Scope creep – instead of focusing on the core mechanics, I spend days trying to implement something non-essential like a GPU-based, procedural space nebula generator. This one’s on me and could be mitigated by being a little more disciplined. (Those space nebulas did look pretty cool though!)
  2. Life – this whole game development thing is what I do for fun in my free time, but life has a tendency to get busy every once in awhile. That one’s probably unavoidable, unless I go off the grid and move to a cabin in the woods somewhere.
  3. I lose interest because some shiny, new idea comes along. Also, very much my own fault. I wonder how other people manage to sustain interest in a project over multiple years.

Why am I writing about this then? I think being able to characterize a problem is a necessary first step to addressing it, but more than that I’m going to try to make a concerted effort to post a series of entries, each one dealing a specific aspect of game design and development as I encounter them. The writing will deal with gameplay, mechanics, as well as more technical elements, although I’ll try to emphasize the former over the latter. I’m hoping that’ll force me to spent more time upfront on the planning phase, but if I end up getting sidetracked again, these posts should at least document where things went off the rails this time.

That being said, you can expect more info on the theme of the game and the underlying engine soon.

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