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I'm thinking of quitting my project, but I don't want to

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Okay. So. I’ve got a couple issues with the game I’m making, and they’re all sort of related.


I've been working solo on a small game, mostly off-and-on for around 9 months called Crystal. It’s a game based around manipulating gravity. You can attach gravity to objects in the game, like rocks and platforms and walls and the like, to do things like scaling walls and fling yourself (and enemies and bullets and set pieces) in and across gaps, solve puzzles, you know the deal.

Here’s a few screens of the game, currently. Ignore the programmer and placeholder art tongue.png




(Sorry for the lack of a video. I can never seem to record at better than 15fps video, toasteroven resolution. My computer’s a little old sad.png )


My biggest issues are:

1)      It’s still in the prototyping stages. Over the months I've done a lot of deving, backtracking, all around trying to find a suitable artstyle for the game, wrestling with efficiency issues, trying to make complete levels, etc.

2)      I don’t really have the time to keep working on it. College freshmen stuff is happening, and getting another job and not going up to my eyeballs in debt is the top of my priorities, since bankruptcy and all the other obvious solutions don’t liquidate federal student debt here in America sad.png

3)      My game… isn’t really fun. And it’s been like that for a while.


While the first problem, I see now in hindsight, might or might not have been a waste of my time, even though it’s been a very eye-opening experience, you know, working on a game this size. It’s my first time, if you can’t tell tongue.png. The second issue is a little beyond my control.


The third problem is a little bigger, and it’s what I've been working on for most of the game/prototype’s development. I feel like it has potential, ya know? I feel like it can be made into a really fun game, and if I ever got around to multiplayer support, it could really excel.


The fun of the game appears in a few key points, namely:

1)      When the gravity wells do something completely unexpected to your trajectory, like slingshot you instead of pulling you, or when the gravity wells end up slinging an enemy where you didn’t expect, so you have to ninja-move your way to safety using gravity to your advantage

2)      Speedrunning the levels are really fun, again, due to slingshotting, jumping into the gravity to increase your initial velocity, or coming up with other strats that decrease level times


Neither of those points are fun unto themselves. Being tossed around like a ragdoll isn’t necessarily fun all the time. Speedrunning a level is only really fun the second time through a level (unless you’re playing Rayman Origins. Then it’s fun all the time, but Rayman’s an exception). I've made a few dozen levels so far, but none of them really feel all that… fun.


So. That’s my problem in a nutshell.


I don’t know whether or not to stop developing the game/prototype/thingy, even though it’s *possible* I can complete it, and make money off of it to start paying my student loans, even though I don’t really think it’s “fun” enough and it might never be. Or scrap it, turn it open source, be a Good Samaritan. Or I could convert it to a web-based version, let peeps comment, suggest ideas, improvements along the way, even if that suffers from the whole early-access problems.


Any comments/suggestions/personal experience/good advice/general empathy you can give? I’m kinda stuck between something I really *want* to do and don’t have the time to do it, or I could stop working on it as much, maybe loose interest, maybe go into deep existential depression, maybe suffer from bitbucket login information loss, or other such catastrophe.


Sorry for the wall of self-pity, asking 10thousand questions at once, and all that other stuff that populates these forums a lot, but… as far as I can tell, I’m kind of stuck, and I don’t know what to do sad.png

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1) 9 months are NOTHING when you are working on a big Indie Project, especially if you are on your own. ESPECIALLY if you are new to game development.

2) Don't do it for the money alone. Chances are good that you will see little to no money for it. Getting money with an Indie Game is one big gamble in the end, especially if you have not prior expieriences with releasing a game.

3) Don't worry about the fun just yet. If you read the postmortems of even some big games made by expierienced developers, the game was not very fun until they finetuned and balanced it just prior to release. You can still turn it around at any time.



From what you are writing I am not 100% sure why you started your game project. As you are a student still it seems it was out of curiosity and interest in game development. Now, I don't know what your further plans for your studies and your future career are, but having a finished game is a pretty brilliant thing for your portfolio if you plan to move into any discipline of game development down the line. For that, the game does not have to be the best game ever or especially fun, and does not have to make tons of money. It just needs to be showing your skills and, ideally, should be in a more or less finished state.


About the game not being fun: you already seem to have found the fun. Take these Key points, enhance them, make them the central point of the expierience. You can either rebuild your game design to transform them into something controllable, or go the "insane" Route that Goat Simulator went down and hope that the random, glitchy nature will not quickly lose its funnyness.

Designing a game to be fun is hard work in itself, and something that just needs trial-and-error for a good part.


Don't worry about the art... for a mobile game, it looks pretty decent to me. You could spice up things with a backdrop image instead of the solid black background, you coul add some shading to your sprites.

But really, depending on the platform and your plans with it, the art could be good enough.



My advice: Don't worry about Money or wasting time on your first project. You WILL waste time, you WILL have to backtrack, and your chances of hitting the proverbial goldmine is very slim, even IF you make it to the finish line and are able to sell the game.

Worry about learning the skills needed to complete the game, see if and how you can stay motivated to see it through, and make sure the rest of your life can support your game dev habits (making sure having enough money to eat, enough time for your studies, enough free time to recharge is just as important as keeping focused on your project).

Edited by Gian-Reto

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It is good to have a completed project in your portfolio.  It says a lot about your overall understanding and ability to stick with something even in the tedious parts.


It can be hard to tell how much fun your own game is.  You really need "fresh eyeballs" and, when you find them, they can only be used once.  So it's a good idea to have the most appealing version of whatever you have ready to show at a moment's notice.  When there's a reasonably polite opportunity, let someone try it and watch very carefully what they do and how much they want to continue.  You can't always go by their words, because they will probably be trying to be nice to you, unless they're feeing competitive or jealous, in which case their words may not show how much they like it.

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Keep rolling dude, don´t give up try to presento your project on some indie competition and get some feedback from there, make same public demo "as  is" for a selected group of peopel... remember the rule number one of the indies...never give up....!

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Well... Designing a game to be fun is hard work in itself..


- Yes, is often mistakenly thought that: if someone is stupid fully, that he is funny.



Edited by jbadams
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