Prioritizing Interests; A Good Assessment; Perform Better

Prioritizing Interests; A Good Assessment; Perform Better

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A common theme of my development posts is the struggle I have as a hobbyist developer. To me, a hobbyist is someone with a day job who has absolutely no interest in sacrificing the enjoyment of his hobby — gaming — for the benefit of being on the “professional” side of the curtain — making games. I’ve got no structure, no friends to help out, just enough know-how to make meager progress, but a whole lot of ideas that always tend to run well ahead of the cart.

I like it when I read about other people who struggle, like the folks at Iron Tower Studio who posted a kind of “decade in the life” rundown of why it takes so long to make a game (in their case, as an “indie” studio). From my perspective, this post nails it, and I say that because I see everything I’ve struggled with recounted in that post. The ideas that outstrip the talent. The assumptions. The moving goalposts. The only real difference is that they have multiple people…and a product. It’s disheartening that with multiple people it’s taken them over a decade to get their product out the door, since I’m one person who’s had starts and stops over the course of half that long, and I’m not getting any younger. But we keep on keepin’ on because what else are we going to do with our time?

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Patch notes are out this morning for The Repopulation, and it makes me both happy and really bummed out.


Their headliner is that they’re revamping the tutorial. I’m good with that, since I’ve done that tutorial several times. Why several times? Because that’s the part that bums me out. I’ve stopped trying to play that game because of it’s abysmal performance. My system is several years old, now, but I can still run new releases with cranked up settings and it doesn’t break a sweat. Granted, The Repopulation is still in development, so I’ll cut them some slack; I’m not complaining that the game runs badly. I’m just saying that I wish it ran better.

“A lot of people”, meaning “random quotes from the Internet that I’m recounting without context” say that The Repopulation is the spiritual successor to Star Wars Galaxies, and in their literature the Repop devs continuously invoke SWG as well as Ultima Online and Vanguard and other games that were about more than just combat-and-loot. That’s my kind of game, and I keep going back every few months to see if things have improved in terms of “can I actually move?” and “am I shooting at something that’s animated, but is already dead?”. So far, it’s not been trending in my favor, although I have gotten the game to run respectably…if I crank down all of the settings to “should run on your smartphone” levels. I guess I can live with that for now.

The downside is that this game is supposed to launch this yearNow, not to disparage the developers, because they’re obviously skilled and more talented than I am in this realm. I do hope that performance tuning is creeping up their to-do list as they get closer to the end of the year (check out what Wildcard has been doing with ARK: Survival Evolved). Personally, I’d be willing to sacrifice some of the features that are still on the drawing board in exchange for a game I can actually play.