Dealing with Setbacks

A little over a month ago, I deleted months of progress on a VR rhythm game. The game had been my main focus outside of work since the election, and I was in the final stages of development, preparing for a release on Steam.

The data loss occurred for a couple of reasons:

  1. My main backup system was not setup on my main development computer.
  2. My secondary backup system was not backing up the pertinent folders.
  3. I was using git hosted locally, rather than a service like GitHub, GitLab, or BitBucket.

When I deleted my computer, I lost months of progress. For a couple of weeks I was devastated and took a break from development. I spent time with friends, watched a lot of television, and focused on my day job. Then, I got back to work.

I spent a week figuring out what I’d like to do going forward. I was able to reevaluate the projects I’d been working on. I wasn’t too happy building the game I’d been working on – it was a highly skill based game, and its design lacked the atmosphere and mystery that I love about games.

So I decided to focus on those atmospheric games I love. I’d lost most of the Unity code I’d written, so I’d have to end up rewriting a lot from scratch no matter what. I began as small as I could – just a first person character controller, and a single interactive element. The rest of the work was spent thinking about themes, colors, and art. The result was Limited Options.

I liked the feeling of making a quick demonstration of what I could do with the code I’d created. The game takes less than a minute to fully experience. I thought that with some work, I’d be able to create new, mysterious, atmospheric games that last five to ten minutes.

As a second small project, I decided to make a game for Eevee’s Strawberry Jam game jam. For this, the goal was to make something horny. I was inspired to focus on illicit desires, after spending some time re-reading J. G. Ballard short stories. I built up some new code to trigger audio diaries, created a system that allows lights to follow the player character. With a slightly larger set of tools, I set to work creating art and fine tuning the lighting in the game. The game was called Desire.

I’m enjoying the process of quickly creating short experiences. I love focusing on the creating the world, rather than spending weeks just developing games and systems detached from the game world.