I wanted to share this post because I feel this everyday.
One of the challenges of game design is knowing that until you launch something, the time you spend is meaningless to the outside observer. It may be very meaningful to you. But you will get no traction with others till you can actually produce something.
Whenever I hang around the Boston Indies crowd I feel pressure to produce something. Feeling this pressure is a good thing, because like the author of the blog it gets me motivated to keep working. Without producing something you cannot be judged as a peer in Indie Scene. You have to stand above the crowd of gamers with ‘good ideas’ and ‘passion’ and actually produce something. That feeling motivates me to do something and I love it!
5 thoughts on “"Until you launch something, the time you spend is meaningless"”
To offer a counter-perspective on time being meaningless: yes, projects will sit in the dark corners of our hard drives until we release them. However, if a game (or any technology, for that matter) were to be released publicly before it was at some sort of beta/draft stage, the first impression could leave users feeling WTF.
Time spent polishing a good product is never meaningless. As long as that time is used wisely. IMHO.
The lesson of Minecraft, Guy Kawasaki, and Apple computers is “Don't Worry, Be Crappy”. And “Churn Baby Churn”.
Get your projects out into the light. Even a crappy release is better then no release. But don't be crappy forever.
Polishing in your own corner never builds any buzz… If you release and then polish, people will feel engaged. “I started when it was crappy… Look how far it's come.” Then take pride in being involved in the narrative. They will voluntarily spread the news about the project because they are part of the project.
I've been a part of 3 startup companies so far. In all of them, I was the firsrt developer hired. In the first two companies, we never released anything. It's a horrible feeling knowing that all the work you did will just be thrown away. Essentially, 4 years of work went down the drain. It was a learning experience, though, and now with my current company, it's an awesome feeling knowing there are hundreds of customers out there paying for and using the product I played such a large part of in bringing to market. Going to trade shows and seeing people's jaws literally drop when they see our system in action is amazing. I hope you get to that point, but even if you don't, the time is not meaningless unless you find no meaning in it.
See my comments on this blog post for my feelings on what I get out of a success or a failure.
Generating buzz… but that's what you're already doing, pre-release! I still hold that a “crappy launch” should be called a public beta. Maybe I'm just not getting the semantics. I do believe, though, that meaningful time spent does not require an audience… but yes, collaboration with others, whether through feedback during the building process or during a “beta” launch, is wonderful.