Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

It’s Not Really a Day Off

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 18, 2011

For me, at least, being a part-time indie game developer means taking the occasional day off work so I can stay home and… work.

Yes, aside from fixing a fence that was damaged in a wind storm a couple of days ago, my day is going to be spent frantically fixing bugs. As will much of the rest of my weekend. And the holiday (as my day job actually counts President’s Day as a paid holiday). So a four day weekend doing… work.

It’s a little embarrassing how much time I’ve devoted to this one project – which was supposed to be a quick & dirty little project to help me get my feet wet on the whole CRPG-making experience.  I guess that’s part of the learning experience – learning how these kinds of things can explode in workload AND size on you.

For every small, insignificant feature added to the list, there are suddenly eight other changes that should be made to make the existing features consistent with the new one, and then there are another half-dozen little corner-case bugs that must be fixed relating with the minor new feature. And before you know it, you’ve spent 16 hours on this little minor feature. Sixteen hours doesn’t sound like a whole lot,  but when you are doing this kind of thing part-time instead of sleeping at night, it’s a significant chunk of time out of your week.

Of these little drops are the thousands of man-hours made that have been put into this project thus far.

I doubt the average gamer will be able to tell. I doubt they’d care. And honestly, I don’t know that they should, other than realizing that just because it doesn’t come in a box doesn’t mean it should come “free.” It’s not the money or time I’ve put into it, it’s the value they get out of it.

Filed Under: Production - Comments: 5 Comments to Read

  • Spencer L. said,

    I can only imagine. I haven’t completely made a game in years, but getting back into it can seem daunting. But, the more I mess with code, with every line of code I further understand more and more ways to about a problem or obstacle. Eventually tricks are learned and code becomes more compressed and efficient. Then with all this energy of discovery, the will to make things go further, better, more impressive, becomes alluring and continue to feed the project until it becomes something amazing. But, oftentimes when that happens it demands more attention, time, and effort. And especially when we learn a lot and grow from our experience, it can become apparent as our improved work comes up against our older work and we think, “What was I thinking?”

    I am really excited to see how this turns out. It would seem you certainly learned a ton from making this.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    I really have. I mean, I’ve been a professional game developer for half of my career, and it’s not even my first commercial indie game. And I’ve been playing RPGs for *cough*decades*cough* now. I thought I really knew what I was doing. And I guess in a lot of ways I did – but it’s been humbling to learn how much I didn’t know.

  • DGM said,

    Considering all the bugs and other issues I’ve been hitting you with – and thus how much of your time I’m consuming – I’m not sure whether to feel guilty or laugh maniacally.

    Or maybe I should just change my name and hide, as preparation for the day when your family decides they’ve had enough and come after me. Decisions, decisions. 🙂

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    It’ll be a better game for it, which is the goal.

  • jzoeller said,

    I agree, it’s amazing when you sit back and think of how much time is spent on a project. I have a version of each days work from DarkLight Dungeon 1, its fun to go back and see how things have progressed.

    Developing RPG’s is a lot of work, they can have so many features and so much content. All of the features need to not only be intergrated together in code, but balanced together in gameplay.

    Keep pushing on!