I know this must come as a shocker for those following my gamedev adventures, I mean, really the decision came out of nowhere Tuesday night. I finished up the HUD and stared at it. I pulled up the app icon and stared at that too. I finally gave into the voice that kept saying "This isn't going well." and imagined how much happier I'd be if I could just start my dream project that I've put off for 5+ years. Something I could spend a year or more on rather than rushing it out before school starts again.
I am cancelling the production of Dragon Souls Prologue indefinitely.
You can get a full breakdown of lessons learned and what I was thinking below. Just know that I'm working on something much better now. The thing I've wanted to do since I fist learned programming. I've just never cancelled a project like this before.
I'm through with making practice projects.
The thing with this project is that there has always been a sense of dread. Like I have to drag my feet and do this daunting task to get to the good stuff I've been eager to do for years. I kept saying "I just want this over with already." and I've been saying stuff like that since Fish Feaster (my first finished game). Even my latest project, Unicorn Training, was falling apart halfway through and became a grind because I was just practicing for something bigger and better.
I've officially had enough. I want to do that bigger and better thing right now. I'm the only force stopping me at this point. I'm crunching myself through a project that I know won't turn out well just to claim the trademark I extended for a cool name that might get taken in the next 5 years.
I was complaining the whole time I was making this and kept asking if it was worth it. My answer has always been: "Yes! Claim the trademark! Plus you can learn from the experience! Prepare yourself for making the full one in a few years!" but I suddenly realized just how very sick of preparing I was. With Dragon Souls Prologue I was forcing myself through yet another project that I knew wouldn't turn out to be the great thing that puts me on everyone's radar.
Unicorn Training was a taste of success, and it made me want more. I want to make big RPG adventures more than anything, but I need a lot of time to put each one together. I know I have enough experience by now and I'm ready to put everything I've got into one big thing. My very first C++ game I jumped into making after taking advanced programming was a game called Pokemon Adventure that was supposed to get me hired to do my own spinoffs of the franchise.
All these years since I've learned to code I just wanted to make awesome games like the Nintendo classics but with ideas I kept wishing they'd put in. My dream is to make the games little kid me would've freaked out about. With enough time I can put my infinite passion to the test and bring those ideas to life, more for myself than anything.
I'm ready to start my next game.
I've now had the benefit of trying to execute the Dragon Souls idea in a small way. I can keep problems I've run into in mind while daydreaming about the real release. I now know exactly how hard it will be to draw every frame for the protagonist and special moves. I got grid-based walking to work (with some glitchy twitches to work on). I even got to draw some cool looking monsters that I can use later. Now it's time to pull the plug, count my losses, and take this knowledge with me.
As a developer I've gotten used to counting my losses and moving on so this kind of decision isn't new. I've just never gave up on a project (in-progress) since I made Fish Feaster. I cut Unicorn Training down to demo of its true self because it wasn't meeting my expectations. I'm sick of not having proof that I can make a game that can stand alongside the greats in the app store.
I'm sick of holding back.
I decided not to lose the goodwill of people who just discovered me by releasing an inferior product to follow up Unicorn Training (even if it's free). I promised I would get better and better and I don't see Dragon Souls Prologue living up to that. The movement was buggy, animations were off, I had to relearn Unity for v4.6, I still don't have a fictional alphabet to use, most players wouldn't understand the game's story because even I don't, I'd have to hunt for background music and generate sound effects all over again which could push release back another week, and on top of it all I wasn't even sure if grid-based melee action combat would be fluid and fun. If it turned out to have the same control issues as Unicorn Training that means re-coding everything with yet another new control scheme (likely a virtual joystick).
The bottom line is the game is just not ready. I need months of time to get this polished to what I see in my head, but I need this out by January for it to matter. I may lose the trademark, but at this point I'd rather spend weeks coming up with a name years down the road than spend weeks forcing this out right now. That couple weeks' worth of time could be better used for re-production on something that needs to be well thought out.
I am now developing my next title and can't wait to show you what exactly it is.
Find it here next week: www.yotesgames.com