It has been a long time since I've been happy to work for more than a few hours at a time. It has been even longer since I last enjoyed working on games like I used to when it wasn't my job.
The murder of my inspiration
Rock God Tycoon (my previous game) took everything I had learned about programming and design. It was by far the longest I've ever invested myself into a project and the game was my first official product. Now what I mean by product is that I didn't make it because I thought it sounded like an exciting game that I was psyched up to play.
I was NOT making the game for myself to enjoy. No it was not out of love for the craft but instead I did it to survive and to make a career out of my nearly 11 years of experience. I felt that after all this time that I might as well make something of myself before it was too late.
I spent many literally months waking up to program and going to bed after pulling 8-12 hour work days. Throughout this time period I ended up smoking cigarettes on and off, drinking (alcohol) almost regularly, and in general just stopped taking care of myself.
The darkest part of the tunnel
Rock God Tycoon released into Early Access in November 2016 . At this time money started to slowly seep in which really gave us (Panos and I) a confident boost. I started to think maybe it was all worth it and that this is really just how bad game development is. In February 2017 we finally escaped Early Access purgatory. In the 3-4 months we were in Early Access I had suffered more from work than any other time prior.
We were being bombarded with multi-paragraph posts regarding all the features users wanted added to the game. Then we occasionally got negative reviews that were usually flat-out hate mail or unreadable English. Luckily I was already dead inside (disconnected from the project emotionally) and so it didn't affect me as much as you would expect. On top of all this we were pushing weekly updates which meant I was updating the game almost daily with hot-fixes.
Reigniting the fire
It was around this time that I began working on Project Explore again. It has kicked me so hard in the ass that I think I might actually enjoy game development. Working late, skipping a meal, anything that gets me closer to my project. The secret to this all was simply working on something I loved. A project I believed in and was excited to see completed.