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Breaking Out of the Development Lull

Risking an internal demo at the cost of fundamentals

Risking an internal demo at the cost of fundamentals

Every project I worked on suffered from what I personally call a development lull.

When you start a project, things happen fast, you prototype like crazy and make decisions every day. When you finish the project, it’s mayhem, you almost lose control over your tasks.

But somewhere in the middle, nothing happens for months, sometimes years.

I mean, obviously things happen, everyone is working every day, we discuss features and implement them, etc. etc. – but somehow, magically, you have nothing to show for it. It feels like the game is in the same exact state it was months ago.

It’s incredibly frustrating.

Since it was a part of, as I said, every project I ever worked on, originally, I planned on just living with it. But the frustration became unbearable, so we’ve decided to do things differently this time around.

Instead of keeping on building the game, we’re dedicating August to building a demo. An internal one, focused on the flow of action, and the minute-to-minute, or even hour-to-hour experience. Something short, but also something you can actually loop-playtest for hours if it’s any good. Anyway, what it is exactly is not important, the important part is that even at the cost of some fundamentals, we should be getting something that is a proof we have much more than we ever had before.

I want the team to be 100% focused on the task, that includes me as well, so we’ll be going offline until the end of August. I have some posts lined up – we have the concept art and the 3D model of the hero, I’d love to share our thoughts of content re-use for indie devs, etc. – but I want no distractions of any sort. It’s a really important “demo”, as it’s not just about breaking out of the lull, but also about the release date (i.e. “can we deliver?”).

This post needs something else than text, so here’s Jakub Wiśniewski‘s concept art for one of the bosses. See you in September!

Question(s) of the Month

Ad.1: Undecided yet.

Ad.2: 9. But to be honest one number cannot describe it. There will be things that are 3/10 hard. And there will be things that are 11/10 hard.

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