Alternate Reality X: Hitting the Wall

I’ve been struggling a bit over the last few weeks to get enthusiastic about my next update for Alternate Reality X and found myself thinking about other game designs for my own original games. I pulled out some old design documents for my space exploration and trading game for example – some of the oldest designs dating back to when I was a teenager (which was a long time ago).

The Palace Entrance – Still some way from going through those doors

After following a link from the Rampant Coyote and reading Chris Kaitila’s blog about his 12 Games in 12 Months challenge (create 12 games in a year) one bit in particular caught my eye. The bit that interested me most is where he writes about “hitting the wall” where a project is no longer fun, is very complicated or the finish line is much further away than you originally thought.

I think this is the point I’m currently at with ARX. I’ve been there before of course where I’ve felt really burnt out and the thought of working on the project seems like work without any fun or achivement. It’s only a temporary state but when a project which I’m supposed to be doing for fun feels like work and the prospect of firing up my programming environment fills me with dread then it’s time to take a break. I’ve totally failed to keep on schedule with my ARX development roadmap but it was useful in that I can easily pin point where the time went (adding other features to ARX not on the original roadmap). I’ve even considered starting an AR project from scratch so I can fix all the issues I know about which I feel are bad design decisions I made in earlier times.

So don’t panic if you don’t see any updates for a little while and don’t be surprised if you see an update on some new project. These other projects allow me to keep my outlook for ARX fresh and come back with renewed enthusiasm and energy. I really want to see the project through to completion but there is still a lot of work to do and I don’t want to get burnt out along the way so that I get to the point where I want to abandon the project altogether.

All the best,

11 thoughts to “Alternate Reality X: Hitting the Wall”

    1. Hi Acrin, Just read your post, hang in there we all go through this from time to time, don't be under any pressure from the road-map but perhaps you can use it for the next updates so that fans of the project will know whats coming next.. when I saw your road-map I thought "WOW that's ambitious and honestly probably not practical" maybe a release every 3 or 4 months is more accurate.. following the road-map so far as achievements of what will be done with each new release so keep the ARX faith and Happy New Year MATE! 🙂


    1. Funny you should say that my original version many years ago was written using TADS3 (Interactive Fiction system) and featured just a top down view.

      The 3D view is pretty much done for ARX.

      For my space RPG game I might just go for a top down, simple tile view though.

  1. Also I wouldn't worry at all about not seeing updates. As far as that goes I usually see it as a sign of someone working away on something, too busy to post. At least that's my case.

    But seeing other projects would lead me to believe that you might be getting burn out. Is it the shear volume of work in front of you? What side is it on, the art side or the programming?

    Don't feel alone in this. Happens a lot. I have had this to some degree, but I never started another project. I know that would be death for mine. I have a hard enough time juggling the aspects of 1 game, but juggling many would throw me into a tail spin.

    1. I think it's more about a change of scene. The time I would spend on a different project is probably time that I wouldn't have put into ARX anyway.

      Remaking someone else's game has its own challenges I think as different people have their own ideas about how it should work. Some people think you're sticking too closely to the original, others not close enough.

      Thanks for your post.

  2. AR remains one of my most favourite games of all time, a new version would make me so happy, especially as you are fleshing out the other parts of the original vision.

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