The Epic Work Game

So, I released Epic Sax Game into the wild today. Although it seems to me that I’ve been working on it forever, I can see by looking at my “records” that in fact it took about two weeks of insane work to get the majority of the game done, one week of illness and a minor nervous breakdown, and one week of polish. So, say three weeks of pretty solid work to put it together.

I’m not really clear on how many hours a day I spend on these games when I’m really engaged, but I think it must be on the order of four to five hours a day, seven days a week, worryingly enough. So that’s about 28 – 35 hours a week, bordering on a full time job in my “spare time”. That’s interesting to me because, in the absence of running such numbers, I have the strong sensation that I simply don’t work hard enough on my games and that I should be more committed. Seems to be not so true. It’s probably worth checking these things.

The other thing that Epic Sax Game, Two Player Breakout, and this afternoon’s luck in putting together an interesting example game for my class, have indicated is that I am, thankfully, getting better at the technical elements of this crazy game called… uh, games. This is good because the learning process for all of this was, frankly, very hard. Getting the chops to make even a rudimentary “thing” in Flixel was a bit freaky, for instance, but now I feel largely at home within its framework and even noodle around in the code of the library itself, trying to establish what’s going on (and failing, but that’s okay).

Beyond all that, I’m repeatedly astonished by the amount of sheer work games are, and simultaneously by how much of the time that work feels kind of effortless (the other times it feels like a waking nightmare, to be fair). But by goodness you end up doing a lot if you’re tackling a game on your own. For Epic Sax Game alone I spent many, many hours coding of course, but then also drawing character sketches, making animations, editing MIDI files, manipulating sound files, following rabbit holes of gapless looping code, debugging, stress testing, learning to play my own virtual saxophone, stage directing Eurovision 2010, recreating a YouTube video, … whoa.

It’s nice, then, after all that, that the main thing I’m thinking (other than some amount of satisfaction with a game done) is all about the next project, which I have already started. More on Epic Sax Game and what it “means” tomorrow.

27 March 2012
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