“In general, making an indie game takes an incredible amount of persistence and mental stamina. I wasn’t prepared for how hard it would be to sit in a room by myself for over a year and work on a game that no one knew about, without the camaraderie of a team or constant encouragement from coworkers. It can be really hard to stay focused every day and maintain the enthusiasm you had at the start of the project. Over the course of working on the game I’ve printed out a number of motivational messages and reminders to myself and hung them above my monitor so that I can always look up and get a boost.
The biggest challenge, though, has been emotional. When you’re part of a team, nothing is ever completely up to one person. It’s a collective effort, and while people are hopefully invested in the project you never have a sense of complete personal accountability and identification. With The Novelist, it’s all on me. If the game is bad, or if people think the concept is a waste of time, that’s entirely my fault. If people reject the game, they’re rejecting the best work I know how to do. It’s impossible to separate the game from my own creative ability and self-confidence.
When I started out I wasn’t prepared at all for such an incredible amount of emotional risk. My sense of personal accountability is total. It’s the biggest emotional roller coaster I’ve ever been on, and there’s no way to get off now; the lap belt is locked down and all I can do is stay on til the end of the ride. Here’s hoping it stays on the tracks.”