Taking the plunge

Game development is hard. Indie game development is a little terrifying.

Trying to manage feature creep, tech debt, and bugfixes all while working a fulltime job sucks. Trying to be active in the community, doing social media outreach, and writing up a monetization plan all while working a fulltime job sucks. Trying to give & receive lots of feedback, ask questions, and help budding developers all while working a fulltime job sucks. Trying to do all that, while in the back of your mind you know your game will be one of thousands released on the very same day whenever it comes out, is daunting.

As a passionate gamedev, you always strive for perfection. This feature can always be better, that animation can always be cleaner, this soundtrack can always be punchier. It never ends. However, as a Spry Fox developer recently said at Boston Gameloop:

“We want to make something of extremely high quality, but we also want to make something that ships”.

Trying to weigh perfection with timeliness while balancing day jobs, social lives, and indiedev has been rough to say the least. So I’ve decided not to do it anymore – the fulltime job that is. As of July 27th I’ve been fulltime on Sky Labyrinth development! Development has accelerated dramatically as a result; here’s a glimpse of some of the features we’ve gotten done since July:

 

Where are we at now?

skylabhistory
SkyLab Commit History – I dunno what the hell we were doing in late May, apparently fucking killing it!

Productivity took a significant hit in late August when I moved from Boston to NY, then the very same week went back to Boston to serve as best man for my brother’s wedding. But now that I am all settled into my childhood home to live rent-free (thanks Mom & Dad!) productivity has soared whilst I slowly destroy my savings account. To at least slow down that monetary destruction, I took a part-time job writing a programming/gamedev after-school cirriculum for 12-17 year olds, which I’ll be teaching come mid-October! Thanks to that I’ve now got approximately 23 months until I am completely broke; will be making the most of it!

I’m extremely excited to take a devoted stab at making our little indie studio not-so-little. I will say that I am far less daunted thanks to all that I’ve learned from the great members of the Boston gamedev community, as well as the many nuggets of advice from indies just like me over in /r/gamedev. There are a lot of “best practices” I’ve read about (from exercising to publishing income reports to keeping an active social life) that will be instrumental in the coming months. Also a special shout out to the many redditors of /r/gamedev’s Feedback Friday thread; these are a few that went far above and beyond with their feedback, not only greatly helping SkyLab’s development but also greatly motivating me personally:

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