100 Experience Points
An Adventure in Indie Game Development

The Emotional Roller Coaster

Nobody told me about the emotional roller coaster. Though I wish they had.

Two days ago, on Saturday morning, I felt like I was on top of the world. I had finished everything in my sprint and was looking for more to accomplish to put me ahead of schedule. I was at the top of the hill.

But now I’m at the bottom of a dip. I compared what I had right now with what I had at the end of the last sprint, and it suddenly seemed underwhelming. I gave my program to somebody for usability testing, and suddenly saw a lot more flaws and bugs in it than I was even aware of. Art demons have entered my mind now, bringing into HiDef clarity, the fact that at some point, I need these 3D models to look reasonably good, even though I’m not really an artist. And then there’s this constant dark cloud looming over head, telling me that this program is way too big to finish before the 100 days.

I hate to dump any of this negative energy onto this blog. But from the beginning, I’ve said that I wanted this to be as open and honest as possible. That I wanted to reveal what making a game is actually like, not what we all want it to be like. And I feel like I’d be doing me and you a disservice to pretend it isn’t happening.

Honestly, though, if this blog weren’t out in the open–if this game weren’t out in the open–I’d probably quit about now.

But because I know that people are curious about it, and the process, and because I know that, win or lose, I can be done at the end of 100 days (but not before then) I know I’m going to keep going.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you how to deal with the lows of the emotional roller coaster. I’m not sure I can right now. I just want to point it out to you so that you know.

There will be an emotional roller coaster as you build your game. There will be good days and bad. You’ll go through all sorts of emotions. Excitement. Worry. Accomplishment. Frustration. Curiosity. Exhaustion. Pure Joy.

I think it’s a byproduct of caring deeply about what you’re working on. It’s powered by the emotional investment of doing something that is both personal and hard. Something that is there because so much of your thoughts, your brain power, your emotions, your heart, and your time. So much so that your ultimate creation is, by definition, you.

There will be an emotional roller coaster. It’s a natural part of the process. It may be wilder for some than others. But everyone who does this will experience it.

Embrace it. It’s evidence that your creation is becoming yours, and that it is coming to life.



RB Whitaker

4 March 2013 at 07:26 am

I always get especially nervous posting these pages that deal with the emotional or negative side of making a game.


5 March 2013 at 01:29 am

Emotional roller coaster is much better than an emotional merry-go-round, right? 🙂 See the other comment for in-depth (rather, in-shallowness) analysis of this amusement park.


5 March 2013 at 11:14 pm

Well, I’m sorry you had such a bad day:) I was off trying to save the would in Skyrim, and accidently ran off a cliff whilst riding a horse. My horse died, but I survived. It made me so sad that I reloaded my last save. Fortunately, I didn’t run off a cliff again. :)

RB Whitaker

6 March 2013 at 07:11 am

@Liara: You’re totally playing the wrong game! Skyrim is cool, but nothing beats making your own game. Heck, you could have made a game where horses can’t die. Of course, if you’re like me, your horse would have been about 120 polygons of pure ugly, but it wouldn’t be able to die! :D


6 March 2013 at 10:24 am

I will leave the awesome game making to you! How about I just play them! In my life right now, I don’t think I have the energy to be as awesome as you are at programming!