Crunch and Expectation

Sometimes you give a little extra for something you know needs it. Something that will be worth it. Sometimes you give too much.

It is a common situation in video game development, which I do as my full-time job, that one finds oneself in an impossible situation, with too much work to do before a deadline that is too close for comfort. Most of the time, that results in something called "crunch."

Crunch is a thing that happens to most people in games, but generally only truly happens to people who care about the work they do and want to deliver the best possible end result. When you pour your life into something for a prolonged period of time and suddenly that time is coming to a close, you know that what goes out there into the world will be what is remembered. Not the long nights. Not the stress. Not the setting aside of other things. Not the tiredness, the draining, the bottomless pit of endless things to get done.

What matters is the end result. The game you put into the hands of a player who then looks at it and says, "Wow." Our game - which I am still painfully unable to announce for various reasons - is at a point where it will be with players soon. It is a scary, exciting, and wondrous thing. Expectations are huge. From our bosses, the publisher, the people we work with each day to bring something to life, from friends, family... Mostly, from ourselves. We have built something. It exists. It is a thing. It's going live. It will be out there. People will read my story, play my content, see the art that my colleagues created, play with systems my friends designed, interact with buttons and create a living, breathing world together through connected play. All from the collective work we did.

In modern game dev that's not even the end. We will continue to build, change, improve and add to this game for some time to come. There will be more.

What does this have to do with my writing? Well, for one thing, it is safe to say that the number 1 reason why there was no novel in 2017 is because I wrote a video game. The pressure I put on myself to deliver something of quality to the game meant that it took every last puddle of energy that sat within my being. I was completely devoid of energy to put into Resolver and make it great. The fact is, this book is just not ready to go out. It's almost done, mere tens of pages from completion, but in reality, I think it's only starting. I need to heavily revise it. It's a painful thing to admit, but I think that I crunched not only for my job, but for this book, and it suffered for it.

So, I look at my job, the game we are creating. I look at the end result of that and I am proud of what we have achieved. I need to have that same, or higher, level of pride in my book before I consider it done.

I don't know when that will be. Right now, Resolver is delayed for the foreseeable future until it is ready. I could rush out a substandard version now or make it as good as it deserves to be. I choose the latter. I know that many of you are waiting for this book with anticipation. I am sorry that you will be waiting, but I promise you that it will be worth it.

No more crunch for Resolver. It will be done when it is done.