74. Feelings

Getting work done is almost entirely about managing one’s own psychology. It’s always true throughout the development of any long-term project, but perhaps even more true when one is getting closer to the finish line; You have to maintain a state of mind where productive work is possible before any work can get done.

Recently, I’ve been feeling a bit depressed, both because of the protracted amount of time the endgame design is taking, and the slow dawning realization that the runway is getting shorter and I soon will have to, to a certain extent, abandon this project. I don’t mean to suggest that I’m giving up, but instead that no project of this magnitude is ever truly finished, it is just abandoned, and perhaps released on Steam at the same time.

It’s an interesting thing, since I should probably feel proud of how the game has come along. I have had several playtesters talk with me at length about how much they enjoyed the game, even in its various incomplete forms. As the game takes a more developed shape, these conversations have become more frequent. However, Taiji will always exist for me more as an idea than an actual thing I’ve created. An aspiration and a hope more than an artifact.

In that sense, I am disappointed in the game and I see myself as a failure. I have seen infinite potential and I have only managed to grasp at what I could reach. The limitations of both my ability and my time creep up on me as the project approaches something like a finish line. I still want so much more for it, but it isn’t practical to keep working on it forever.

With that said, there’s still runway left.

2 thoughts on “74. Feelings

  1. Not sure what to say except hang in there… I’m also somewhat disheartened about the slowness of developing my own puzzle game, which has been stuck in redesign-mode for several months now… I keep thinking the design isn’t good enough so I never get back to making the actual game, I’m hoping to break this cycle soon…

    I recently watched a short interview with Lucas Pope talking about Return of the Obra Dinn, in which he repeated the phrase “I’m not trying to make the perfect game”. I think he’s repeating that phrase mostly to remind himself that making the perfect game isn’t the goal. It’s impossible to make the perfect game, even my favorite game of the last decade, The Witness, could’ve been better, but as the clichés go – “done is better than perfect”, “cutting is shipping”, etc.

    So, you’re not a failure, it only feels that way, and I think you know that. You don’t have to be perfect to avoid being a failure. None of us are perfect.

    And I know that I’ll be buying Taiji on day 1 regardless, but for that there needs to be a “day 1”, and you know, Taiji doesn’t have to end with the release of Taiji, there can always be Taiji 2, or Taiji:Extended Edition, if you so choose. This isn’t your “one shot”, there aren’t “one shot”s. People aren’t going to think you’re a failure if the game isn’t perfect, and even if some of them would, it shouldn’t matter.

    Anyways, good luck, and please take a break / vacation if you need one, the game can wait, your mental health is more important.

    I watched the Pixar movie Soul yesterday, I recommend it, kinda relates to this.

    That interview with Lucas Pope: https://youtu.be/OMi6xgdSbMA

    “I’m trying to deliberately put something out when I feel like it’s 80% perfect” – Jack Conte

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hang in there, man. We’re all really excited to play this game, and if the ending leaves us wanting more, I call that a success. Even the most triumphant works only exist in the world because their creators let them go before they were fully realized. Release the game when you’re proud of it. 🙂


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