"Why is it gonna take so long to finish?"

Here's probably a longer than necessary answer to the #1 question I've been asked at conventions.

At PAX, Indiecade, and GDC/IGF, the top questions asked were "When is this coming out?", "Where can I buy this?", and "2 more years? Why is it gonna take that long?". Well, shit takes time when you don't know what you're doing.


Before I continue, here's a brief history of Closure. In late 2008, I began working on a flash prototype where you couldn't walk on what you couldn't see, and where the world was defined by orbs of light. A couple weeks later, I brought Jon Schubbe onto the team to do art for it (we were both 18 years old at the time). We finished the flash version of the game in about 2 months and released in it January 2010. It wasn't my most popular game (i've had some weird luck in the past), but it was received very well despite being plagued with issues. Post GDC, we began working on a big, non-flash version of the game. We entered the flash version in PAX and Indiecade, and got into both. All summer we brought the new version up to a playable level and showed it off at those conventions. I also got a real musician to do sound this time, Chris Rhyne (ya he's my uncle, and he's amazing). We touched it up a little more and entered it in IGF. We got nominated for 3 categories, and won Audio (told you Chris was amazing). Now there's pressure. We have to complete the game now, no turning back (not that I want to, I really want to see the end result of these years of hard work).


The game's barely changed from the IGF entry date till now though. Minor things here and there, some new unfinished levels are in the works, but it's stagnated a bit. Jon and I are both in out sophomore years of college, which are exceptionally busy years, so Closure got the back seat treatment. I really want to work on it full time, but I decided to just finish up this (already paid for) year of college and get it over with. I'm leaving after it's over (two weeks!!!) and I believe Jon is gonna take a break so we can finish up Closure as it should be.


I've never worked on a project of this magnitude before. It's tough to stay motivated, ESPECIALLY when the game is a puzzle game. I can't get enjoyment out of playing my own puzzles, since I already know the solution beforehand. The game's reached a point where most progress is content and tiny things. I'm motivated when I can see the progress the game is taking. The beginning stages where I begin with an empty main.cpp and bring it up to showing graphics on the screen, then up to a functioning game are great. Fast progress inspiring more fast progress. Lately, the progress has been "oh I'm reorganizing the graphics engine to not use immediate mode anymore", or "crap, we need more than one song in the game now, time to rewrite the audio engine to support that", or "oh this ball rolls slightly too slow, let me make the slope on this level a little steeper". It's all stuff that's necessary to reach the vision I see for the final product, it's just tough to stay motivated when that's all I can do right now. We have a lot of large scale ideas that need to be implemented and prototyped at some point, we just don't currently have the time.


Hence why development is taking so long. Even when we do begin full time work on it, that'll just allow us more time to experiment with concepts in the ideas list. Designing 4-5 hours worth of puzzles is no light task either, especially when each level has to be arted by hand. Maybe we're too perfectionist, but we aren't going to cut corners anywhere. This is the first time I'll ever charge money for a game, and I want to make sure it's worth it, however long it takes.


I know finishing this game is going to be the toughest, longest, most difficult project we've have ever faced so far, but I know it'll be worth it in the end. Definitely beats working for Activision, at least.

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