I sometimes have days where I feel I’m trying to achieve something beyond my reach with this game I’m making – days where my motivation is at an all time low and I feel like giving up. But if there’s one thing that picks me up more than anything else it’s success stories like Trainyard. This is an iPhone game that was developed by one person over the course of a year and went on to do very well on the App Store. The person who developed it went on to realise one of his life goals – to develop games full-time. I remember seeing the review for this game when it came out and thinking that it looked ok – but it didn’t stand out as being exceptional (opinions are like assholes, remember!?) so I was a little surprised when the article about it appeared on Gamasutra (and consequently Kotaku where I read it first). From my point of view, there are a few things that Matt Rix, the developer of Trainyard, says that strike a chord:

at the end of the day, AS3 and Objective-C really are pretty similar

This somewhat reassuring. I don’t come from a programming background but have been developing my game in AS3. Assuming this statement isn’t a complete lie I’m a little more optimistic about approaching Objective-C now for when I re-code my game for the iPhone.

I think the hardest thing for me was staying motivated. There were times when I didn’t work on the project for a couple weeks or even a couple months, so I’d lose all momentum.

Nice to know I’m not the only one! I’ve recently moved to a new city and job so I had an entire month without looking at the project, but in the last couple of weeks I’ve gradually been getting back up to speed by going through one class or one feature (such as scoring) each day.

I’ve learned a ton of lessons, but the biggest one is to pick a goal then follow through till you’re done. You’ve got to be motivated and determined to finish your game, or else you just won’t

“Keep going” is what I’m getting here. Obviously some days are more productive than others – but if nothing else I try to do a little bit each day – if only an hour. If I’m struggling to do that then I just leave it and come back the next day.

Here’s the original AppSpy review recorded in June 2010 – while watching remember that the game went from relative obscurity to top of the charts by October. The reviewer clearly says it’s a great game, a ‘must-have’ in fact, but it still didn’t do anything for me (still doesn’t!).