Now The Artist Really Is Present

A short post this evening just to note that I did indeed release The Artist Is Present out into the wild today. I make it almost exactly one month in development time, maybe a little less, given that I started it pretty hot on the heels of releasing Safety Instructions. So now it exists on the internet for people to actually see – though I am in no way expecting it to garner quite the loving reaction that S_afety Instructions_ did. For one thing, that game was actually kind of fun, and for another it was at the very least not obtuse and abusive.

Anyway, how do I feel about The Artist Is Present being out, I ask myself?

Well, I do feel some low level nausea associated with having put myself in “harm’s way” in terms of the game turning out to be a pile of shit. Visions of clipping errors and a million unforeseen bugs crowd my peripheral vision along with the faceless horrors of maybe having forgetting to uncomment some bit of code that was needed for the game’s “authentic” time management stuff. So yes, definitely a lot of anxiety associated with having the game “playable” but not really played yet (other than by my noble testers – thanks to you all!).

I’m also feeling some low-level humiliation that it took me so very long to put together. As is my habit, I started out thinking that implementing such a simple concept would take about a week. Then I sensible told myself, “but double that… you never know”, so it became two weeks. But it actually took four-and-a-bit weeks. I feel like there’s something wrong with that because it’s just not a complex idea and I lost so very much time to poor coding practices, poor implementation ideas, and poor everything else. The only thing that went smoothly was the art, which I felt totally comfortable with. As someone with a computer science Ph.D. and no art degree or training at all, that kind of depresses me.

However, I do also feel proud of the thing (let’s just assume it works and does its job for now). And I do think that, conceptually, there are some good things happening in the game, a bunch of things actually. Things which I don’t really feel like writing about now, and which I wonder about still counting as good/interesting in the context of a game that is, in some ways, unplayable. Still, in my calmer moments I basically think that it’s a good game and that it was worth making, and that’s the main thing.

At any rate, these are all the immediate feelings right now. The negative ones will burn away and hopefully I’ll just be left feeling a lightly warming pride.

On to the next game! (Which I figure will only take a week, right…)

(Oh… and obviously you can play The Artist Is Present on my games page, the link for which is at the top of this page, unless something bizarre has happened, in which case I’m sorry.)

14 September 2011
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