Wednesday 2014.10.08

Update: Post-release burnout and other fun stuff


So it’s been quite some time since we’ve done a real update, and for that I apologize. It’s been a strange time since release. We’ve been burning the candle at both ends for three years now, and the last stretch was completely exhausting: working long days, weekends, juggling childcare, and almost entirely fuelled by adrenaline. Since production stretched longer than expected, I also started back at another job part-time in January, so managing both FRACT production, marketing, Zoe, and my other job(s) totally destroyed me. Fought a couple of bouts of bronchitis close to release and some nasty flu viruses after, but had to keep working throughout. So needless to say, it’s been tiring.

Close to release, I remember feeling pretty excited – the prospect of the end in sight. It reminded me of the end of a race, when you see the finish line. You barely have anything left in you, but the idea of being finished is enough to get you to the end. The feeling of finishing carries through for awhile, but there’s an inevitable crash once the exhilaration wears off. So that crash is pretty much what we’ve been coping with for the past few months, among other things.

It’s a strange thing, finishing something so big – we had been told that it can be a weird and confusing time, that depression is quite normal. While I suppose it helped to expect it, at the same time I’m not sure it left us better equipped to deal with it. We’re happy with what we achieved – we tried to do something pretty huge, pretty ambitious for our first game, and we’re proud of that. Are there things we would have like to improved on? Surely, though looking back I’m not sure we could have gone on much longer than we did. Did we wish it had been a bit more successful? Of course, but we also know it might not be for everyone. Though to be honest, there’s definitely a lot of mixed emotions.

There are a lot of things that we did throughout production of FRACT that I would never do again. Even though we came really far as a team, there are also some habits and behaviours that we got into that weren’t healthy, to say the least. Especially working with your spouse, it can get pretty complicated and we’re still trying to work our way back from some of the things we did just to get the game finished. There was also this pressure of time that overshadowed the whole project – the sense that there was no room to breathe, no time to spare, since we were (largely) financing the project on our own savings (and from our family, thanks!). There was so much at stake, and that wasn’t the best environment in which to work and thrive. And we made a lot of sacrifices along the way – time for our lives, spending time with friends, family, doing things we enjoy.

But we got to the end, now it’s just a matter of trying to unravel the past three years and find balance again. So that’s what we’ve been trying to do for the past few months, and part of that has meant taking a step back from FRACT. It was a hard decision to make, but it got to the point where it was adversely affecting our health – all of us.

To complicate things further, after release Richard went to the doctor (since he finally had some time) to get some stuff checked out, and after a series of blood tests and appointments, found out that he has hereditary hemochromatosis. It’s a genetic condition where he absorbs 4-5x more iron than the average person. Over time, this iron can accumulate in different organs and cause various problems, like diabetes, heart disease, and liver disease. Usually it isn’t picked up until middle age, at which point organs have been irreversibly damaged, so we’re actually super lucky that we found out this early and can do something about it. So he’s going though an initial round of treatment at the moment, and still has some upcoming tests and appointments, so fingers crossed (positive thoughts are welcome :)). Even though it was actually a fortuitous discovery, getting used to the idea of having a lifelong disease was a lot to swallow.

All is to say that we’re sorry we’ve been MIA of late – we’ve just had a lot on our plates to deal with. There is a lot we would still love to do with FRACT but we have to make our health a priority at the moment, and we hope you all understand. We still hope to get back to things at some point, but for now we have to focus on getting better.

Thanks for understanding, and keep making awesome FRACT jams, we love hearing them!

-Quynh (and the rest of the FRACT team)

Almost forgot: if you happen to be in Culver City this weekend checking out IndieCade, please come by and say hi to the FRACT booth! While we can’t be there in person (see reasons above), we have an incredible group of individuals repping us and there should be some FRACT goodies to give away :)

And lastly, thank you for everyone that has supported us by either buying the game or just generally being awesome, we really appreciate it and can’t thank you enough.

PS: Cats On Synthesizers In SPACE