I gave myself one year to finish my game, and I’m three months in. Three months! Twenty-five entire percents.
What is it like living on a time limit? Do I feel more alive? More stressed? More in control? Forthwith, a list of the most acute differences I feel:
The changing of the seasons. Time goes more slowly than it used to for me, by and large, and the changes in each passing day — a new high temperature, or an earlier sunrise — seem to have some related importance to my development progress. I started making my game on March 1, which is solid winter in New York. Now the days are brightening and warming and I feel like I’m making real progress. When I get into crunch time, polishing and marketing and preparing for launch, winter will be drawing down on me, and that’s a scary thing to look forward to.
The pressure to learn. It’s like I’m back in school again, but I’m my own grader. Every day I have to build on the concepts I was working on yesterday — in art, in code, in story and design… This might sound glorious on paper — to have all the maturity and appreciation of an adult, combined with the daily exploration of being a kid — but my oppressively analytical mind keeps striving for direct apparent progress. Imagine if school was a job. That’s kind of what it’s like.
Life is abstract. Now and then I have a sort of out-of-body moment where I look at what I’m doing — I’m a grown man, who should be settling down and starting a family at my age, instead quitting my job to make a video game — and see how ridiculous it is. My existence is absurd. I tell myself — having a steady job is no less absurd. All life is absurd.
I still think I can finish this game with the nine months remaining. But what then? Do I choose to live another grueling, focused year? Or do I relax in the blur of years for a while?