I have started developing my first iPhone game with Cocos2D in May 2012 after quitting my job as Bioinformatician in an important research center. Before quitting I spent six months studying some basics of Objective-C and Cocos2d. I moved back to my parents place leaving an important relationship in a different country and leaving all my friends and "social life" there.

Since then I stayed "locked" (trying of course to build some social life and to have healthy daily walks) in my room developing a game for iPhone. Has been more than a year now and I haven't finished yet. I spent a big big sum of money in graphics and music and involved lot of people that are now waiting for the release. They keep asking "when will you finish?" and I say "I am nearly there". The reality is that I "think" I am nearly there but then I have bugs to solve and thing I thought would take a week to develop take 2 weeks or more (the Pi greek rule..).

The reality is that I am fed up with coding. If I was coding with 100% of focus and motivation I could probably finish it in little time but I see that my performance are quiet weak in this period.

I start to feel depressed as soon as I start coding. I have been away from keyboard for two weeks and I felt like getting back to real life. Now that I am back coding with only my screen on the horizon I feel like that I really have to finish and that to do so I have a neverending mountain still to climb. Bugs to solve and more importantly some bits of the game structure still to implement.

It feels like being on top of the Everest, with no oxygen and a small invisible path to follow.

My questions:

  • Anyone there that felt the same?
  • Any advice (apart of "keep calm and carry on")?
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ For me, the biggest inspiration to keep coding is other people using the software. If at all possible, even if there are some bugs, maybe you should consider releasing if you feel you will run out of steam if you don't. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eric B
    Jun 3 '13 at 15:53
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I feel for you. But you should ask this question in chat or something. It's almost entirely a discussion, and not a good fit for the Q/A format. Sounds like you're near the end. So as you say, just keep calm and carry on. \$\endgroup\$
    – House
    Jun 3 '13 at 16:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's a bit of a bummer but sooner or later you have to stop developing. Creating new features is great but there is no way you can get a game perfect. If it is good enough just fix whatever outstanding bugs you have and walk away. Your game will never be perfect and you pretty much have to accept that and just release something you are happy with. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 3 '13 at 16:20
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I find that this question touches a very important point of game development (or any development, probably): finishing the project is the toughest part. This is the very reason why companies look for people that actually shipped games. A good detailed answer could help future visitors in that situation, so I vote for a reopen. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 4 '13 at 10:10
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @mm24 One thing is that could give you some morale boost is changing your analogy. You can see your task as a mountain to climb or you could see it as a tree to grow. Growing trees requires a good deal of cutting branches: you have to cut features (branches) and decide which ones are worth keeping. Also you've not mentioned any deadline: you need a deadline, and you need to try as hard as possible to respect it. In other words, your game is not completed when you decide it is: your game is completed when you hit the deadline, and you've cut everything that prevented you to release. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 4 '13 at 14:08

Have people play it. The last little bit of the game's development can leave even a skilled developer feel helpless, as they scavenge over and over to get the last bits of the game done. Take a deep breath, get something working, organize a to-do list of remaining elements, and get it to "good-enough" condition. Then release it.

If there's anything you missed on your checklist, you'll find it and (hopefully) patch it quickly. Having solid feedback that (a) yes, you got something done, and (b) you still needed work here, here and here, is a good way to get yourself motivated to keep working, and out of the blue funk of the prerelease.

Also, imagining a slow drum beat helps the psychological torment of "neverending" development. Relax. Keep rhythm. Cruise. Don't look towards the end. You'll get there eventually, if you just keep moving.


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