4 Hugues Ross - Blog: Changing gears on Halberd
Hugues Ross


Changing gears on Halberd

Right now, I'm in a bit of a difficult situation. My current game project has been taking much longer than I'd hoped, and I still haven't made a first release of Halberd. I don't make release dates anymore, but I'm still not happy with my current progress.

When I originally announced the game project, I acknowledged the risks and gave a few reasons why I felt the project was a good idea. Unfortunately, my arguments are still sound. The game has a reason to exist, and dropping it to speed up development doesn't strike me as a good option. So, I need to rethink my overall strategy.

What do I want?

When coming up with a new approach, figuring out I think it helps to consider what you want and why don't have it. The former helps you shape a goal, and the latter indicates the obstacles that you need to deal with to attain it.

In my case, there are a few things that I want:
  • I want Halberd to become a useful, successful game engine - That much should be pretty obvious, most people don't set out to fail.
  • I want to make good games - And, hopefully, have people play and enjoy them.
  • I want to make tutorials - To give back to the internet, of course!
On the surface, these goals seem pretty simple. However, I think the biggest reason why I keep running into problems is that these goals are in conflict with each other. And where does the conflict stem from? That's right, it's time! All of these goals are achievable for me on their own, but they're time-consuming enough that juggling them all is difficult.

Fixing the problem

Like with any other resource, the only ways to resolve a lack of time is to make more, or to use less. Making time isn't an option for me (besides quitting my job, which would be a terrible idea), so instead I need to find ways to balance time and quality.

I can start by striking tutorials from the list. I don't spend time on them now, and it's unlikely that I'll suddenly start later. That leaves me with just my programming projects, which are currently the main problem.

Another common option for reducing the time spent working is to collaborate with others. This is how most people cope with a lack of time, since dividing work isn't too difficult. However, freelancers are expensive (they need to live too, after all) and volunteers are typically less reliable. I don't want to shelve the idea entirely, but I think I'll at least need to save money or produce work that's more exciting before I can take advantage of this option.

Making Changes

In the end, I don't have any strong solutions to this problem. Working on one item to the exclusion of the other (as I have been recently) doesn't work well, so I need to find a way to reasonably balance out 'engine time' and 'game time' so that they can coexist. Here's my current plan:
  1. Go back to my regular posting non-schedule. I was using this game project as an experiment, but I'm not impressed by the results. I don't think I produced much interesting content, and I ended up spending a ton of time writing posts.
  2. Resume work on Halberd. I'm going to get started on the next release while this game project continues on the side, so that Halberd doesn't get bogged-down too much by side work.
  3. If I finish the next release of Halberd before the game, then I'll try to devote more time to finishing the game with that release. Otherwise (more likely) I'll wrap up the engine when the game finishes and release both together.
Future releases of Halberd will probably work the same way, with one game on the side dictating the engine releases. This lets me make plenty of games, but doesn't stop the engine dead in its tracks if the process gets bogged-down. In the long run, I'll probably also see if I can split things up in a more decisive manner with scheduling. That seems like overkill for the time being, so I won't try anything like that yet.

What this means for you as a reader is that I've split up the Halberd roadmap into two pages, one for the game and one for the editor. The blog will be getting occasional updates about both, and hopefully things will work out nicely!

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