When Art Becomes Obligation
Posted on May 13th, 2014
I’m going to finish She Who Fights Monsters. I’ve been tethered to this game for a while and I want it done so I can move on to other things without having to think about it so much anymore. I’m also doing the best I can to do its ideas some justice given what I planned it to be and what I have to work with. I think it’ll turn out well for a first game that wasn’t made in Twine, but I wish I had started–and followed through with it–differently.
The game began as a submission for the Experimental Gameplay Workshop. To no one’s surprise, it didn’t get in (the alpha version was extremely rough), but I mostly just used that as an excuse to jump into an idea I’d been toying with for a while. And when I’d never touched RPG Maker before and everything in it was new, it seemed like the perfect dev tool.
Then I started running into its limitations. Having come in from the freedom of Twine, those limits became really frustrating. That feeling of frustration makes working with the thing seem like a drudge or a wrestling match sometimes; I wish that I had started off in Unity instead of, in some ways, wasting my time with a program I’ll quickly outgrow.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m glad I’m making this game even if the means and results aren’t everything I expected. It’s the sort of thing I would’ve eventually done anyway and even might redo once I have more skills. I just hate feeling trapped by it, knowing that if I do something else I really want to do, I might not get back to this game for a long, long time. And in the meantime, I’d feel bad for leaving it neglected.
Though I often enjoy working on it, I think the main reason I’ll finish the game within the next few weeks is because I’m tired of looking at it and want to move on, and I’ve delayed the release month already. I think the main thing I’ve learned from this is not to give games release dates or definite timeframes until I’m fairly sure I’ll want to finish them by then.