Deveopment Diary #3

I Survived the Veil, and all I got was Sisyphus' Boulder

In Greek Mythology, Sisyphus was punished by the gods by having to roll a giant boulder up a hill to only have it roll back down upon nearing the top for all eternity. Making a card game is a lot like that. Every small accomplishment sees a setback, and the the boulder rolls back down the hill for me to start the process again. These setbacks remind me of naysayer articles and videos about why you shouldn't make games, do X, Y, or Z. I'll do a separate post about this in the future, but what I've learned is that unlike Sisyphus, you can make it to the top of the hill even if in the distance you see 100 more hills to roll your rock over until you've reached sweet freedom.

Making a game is more like the 100 hills. Some are small, some are large, and some may actually be so large it'll force you either to break from the 2-D platformer view into 3-D to walk around it or rage quit. Unfortunately, I've seen two card games rage quit during my time developing Kingdoms of Immacus. It's a real blow to any game developer to see others fail, as they serve as a real-time cautionary tale. Game development is hard, art is hard, logistics is hard, and everything else that goes into putting out a final product is hard if it is to be done well. And that's my point in all this. It isn't as hard to half-hardheartedly put something on Kickstarter that required minimal effort. It is much harder to put something out there that does everything right, and harder still to pick up the pieces when that everything-right project fails.

There is nothing stopping anyone from putting out a game at hill 25 or hill 50. Even if you go through all 100 hills, there may be some in the metaphysical realm you missed. Doing everything right doesn't guarantee success, but it sure helps in moving forward. The real update is the Ethereals have been formatted and playtesting should start again with the Xizeks and Ethereals by next week. So I survived the Veil, and I climbed this little hill to only get a pat on the back and have it pointed out to me I still have this rock and those hills to scale. These hills include website design, more formatting, digital painting, playtesting, and the numerous other things the game needs before I even get to the meaty Kickstarter release checklist.

If there is any advice I can give to someone who has made it to the top of a hill only to see all the others that await them is to not let the raw number of them deter you. Make a strategy to climb each one and make sure those hills aren't fixed. Move them on the fly in arrangements that are manageable, and switch between them if one is causing too much frustration. Then celebrate your accomplishments. Ask for a second pat on the back from the other-worldly being that gave you your first one once you made it up the hill. Enjoy the view, and once your extracted every bit of dopamine you can from the experience, put your head down, and push that rock some more. The worst thing you can do to yourself is to ignore the other hills on an accomplishment high and release early. That is the number one thing I've noticed from the majority of failing crowdfunding ventures. They release way before something is ready or release with the project in a state where the only thing keeping them from being successful is a little more time to polish. Shine the rock you push to the point of ocean-pebble smoothness.

I'm not certain if Kingdoms of Immacus is set for a 2018 release, but what I am sure of is this game isn't being released until that boulder I push has been polished down to a grain of sand. There are signs this is happening as well. The new card faces look great, the website is really coming together in some parts, and the art that is done looks wonderful. Here's to the Ethereals, and now I move on to the Astracites.


-Jonathan Flike

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