When the going gets tough, it's time to make excuses - weeks 13 to 18 of finishing a game

October was not the best of months. It began with concentration problems.

In September I had been working my actual (read: paying) job four days a week, coming home in the evening and doing the comic until around 20h. Afterwards I'd watch a video or two of GDC, as useful recreation. Then on Friday and most of Saturday, I would work on the game. Sunday was half work, half relaxation.

When I began having trouble concentrating, I started with taking a whole Sunday off, but that didn't cut it. I changed my schedule to doing little or nothing 'of use' on the evening of (paying) work days, doing the comic on Friday, and actually working on the game only on Saturday's. That schedule feels frustrating, the period where I could invest most of my creative energy into the project, and feel it progress relatively quickly (for a one man team). But the concentration problems have subsided (at least to normal levels), so the new schedule is a temporary (until January), necessary evil. I guess those rumors are true, people need time off, even when (part of) their work is really passion filled.

Perhaps tied to the concentration problems, I suffered a stroke of bad luck when, during the first week of the restrained schedule, I wasted half a day on one bug. Wasted because it wasn't solved by the end of it. That wasn't good for my sense of progress. Then Murphy passed by, my development environment got *-ed and I had to spend hours getting it back into working order. Team work with the missus, and a succesful test for my backup system, but the nerves, they got rattled. The week after, things did not improve, as I got sick and couldn't concentrate on the game. I barely finished the comic that week.

The comic did hit the one year after the restart and still going milestone in October, that was a pick me up. Luckily, towards the end of the month I did make some progress, and there was an extra day off in there that I was able to invest into the game. So by November things were picking up again.

I just released a new alfa build, and even though "not enough" was added, there were still some nice things in there. The game finally has a few endings. If all chicks die, you get the bad ending, if you make it to the end of a 20 day period, you get the good ending. There's score tracking now too (but I still need to tweak it a lot). And all the screens now have their content, albeit in draft form or with placeholder art in some cases. Or, like the information part of the GUI in the action part of the game, there's no art as of yet there. But I should be able to reuse some assets, and either way, it is starting to feel like we're nearing a finished game.

A 2017 release (would be nice to have it available during the holidays, and it has fiscal sense to have some sales this year too) seems doable at this time. Hard, if I want some better polish,* but doable. By the next update, it should be clear if it will be Q4 2017 or Q1 2018 (expert planner here).

*Either way, I don't want to overdo it on the polish for this one. The longer I drag this one out, the longer it takes to start a second game, which should follow a path influenced by the lessons learned for this one.