The creation of a small fan game with RPG Maker XP was one of the things that helped me the most in learning the basic concepts of programming just before I entered college. Actually, messing around with RPG Maker since around 2002 had a big impact, even considering I never finished any games.
Recently I posted about coming back to the biggest project I had back then:
An rpg based on the universe of Harry Potter, with some of my own characters, mixed timelines, my own little fan-fiction in a gamey-stuff suit.
I have to be honest with you, that project was my best friend for a long time.
Trying to understand how would people move around the castle and interact with things. Trying to add cool little dialogs and easter eggs, hidden stuff all over the place that nobody would ever find because, you know, I never actually understood the needs of the players.
Looking at the game now, in an effort to translate it from portuguese to english, made me aware of a lot of stuff that I didn't actually understand back then. Knowing that I should give more instructions to the player, to avoid having so many rough edges on everything.
Of course, when playing an indie game you expect to find things that are not completely polished, but there is a line, and when you create something that means a lot to you, that line moves around a lot. I would obssess over many things, recreate maps, rewrite dialogs, move things around, knowing that the result was not nearly good enough to match my expectations.
But I knew deep down that once I was done with translating, I should just let it go.
Honestly, I keep thinking to myself that if I let this one project from 10 years ago keep draining my energy (don't take me wrong, I love working on it) I won't make anything else. I won't try different themes, different styles.
So, when is it too much? When are you too invested in something from the past, and should focus on the future?