On top of all that, I'm starting to have major doubts about the Mad Science 4E5 project. There's nothing wrong with idea itself; the game idea is in my opinion really quite excellent. The problem is that I'm seriously doubting I can fully flesh out the idea in the few months or so I have for the competition. I figure if I spend all my dev time working on the project, cutting a few corners and using appropriate middleware, I might be able to bring it all together. However, the question is whether that's the best thing for me to be doing with my time for the rest of the year.
What I think is the best thing for me to do at the moment is my original plan for the year: work on my own 2D game engine, specifically tailored for the sorts of games I wish to create, and churn out a series of small minigames to test the engine. Additionaly my plan was to spend a couple of months to make a nice arcade game for 4E5. But all of the arcade ideas I've thought for 4E5 so far have been lacking in some respect.
Ideally, I can use the Mad Science game as the impetus for the engine design and work on the two concurrently, but I don't know if I can get the game finished and tested on time if I do that.
It's certainly a conundrum that I'll have to make a decision on soon. My gut feeling is, given I haven't properly designed the Mad Science game yet, I should go ahead and do that, and use that game design (plus all my previous game designs) to fuel the technical requirements of the engine. If it turns out by September that I can't get the Mad Science game finished, I'll just whip up an arcade game in a few weeks that won't nearly be as good but at least gives me a 4E5 entry and a proper test of the engine.