Happy New Year, everyone. We are still in January so I suppose I am still vaguely on time. I hope you are ready for yet another look back on Traümendes Mädchen’s activities.
2022 : Wanted, wasted
I was already saying in my previous article that my expectations for the year were abysmally low and 2022 did not disappoint in that regard. In some kind of half-baked mix between 2020 and 2021, I was treated with seeing my personal life collapse and experiencing constant health issues (all related to COVID). The only difference is that awesome things happened to me at the same time…but I still had quite a bad time overall.
Barely recovering from my 1st infection, I worked myself to the bone to complete the programming for Chronotopia’s Bear Ending because I knew it was only a matter of time before the next one. Right on the money: I was contaminated with COVID for the 2nd time as soon as March. Eager not to repeat the same mistakes, I immediately stopped any physical activity (kissing goodbye to my hard-won Ring Fit progress in the process…). If my body quickly recoved, my brain reacted differently.
This is something I haven’t shared with anyone but my intellectual faculties were not the same after the fact. Focusing on a task that was once easy would take me time and considerable efforts. Whether it would be writing, translating or programming, I would make progress at a snail pace. Sometimes even reading would be too difficult. Unbearable for someone who is used to always giving their all. When the 3rd infection hit me in August, I decided to take one full month of forced rest, finally realizing that I had to protect my brain as well. And I felt better but my intellectual faculties remained greatly diminished. I tried to focus on Chronotopia: Second Skin but all that time I couldn’t help wondering if the change was permanent, if, perhaps, I would never be able to write again. The fear of discovering the truth ate me away the whole year.
To make matters even worse, personal struggles escalated until summer where I found myself unable to work on a regular basis. Many crisis, many tears, many questions and so much weariness. It took me and my partner months to slowly bounce back.
As I was saying, nice things happened to me too. I am very happy I was able to participate as a guest in the first festival from Studio Elan for instance. Chronotopia’s new trailer did require a lot of coordination but I am also very satisfied with the result. And what is there to say about hiring CinnamonDevil and Mae’s return? It had been so long since I could commission the last missing assets, I did miss leading my team. Incidentally, I did manage to complete the Bear Ending’s translation edit afterward, a symbol in itself.
Unfortunately, my lack of luck is boundless. I did my best to speed up, yet delays in some of the outsourcing projects I was helping with and my latest COVID infection put a spoke in my wheel. I tried to make a roadmap but to no avail: fate would have me miss every single one of my milestones. A surprising news shook things up even further. After being stuck in a council estate for more than 7 years, an opportunity to move finally presented itself. At the worst moment possible, admittedly. But how can you miss such a chance when my partner and I had been dreaming of leaving our shabby flat (and more importantly our awful neighbour who was driving us crazy)? The issue is that a house move is rather challenging and the effort woke up my post-viral syndrome. Breathless, I had to spend almost another full month of forced rest. The last few weeks of the year were eventful and contradictory to the point where I am incapable of describing what I feel.
On the advice of my general practitioner, I was supposed to pay the dentist a visit because she thought my cognitive impairment was the result of me compulsively clenching my teeth. I dawdled longer than I had planned due to my 2nd infection and the appointment itself took almost 6 additional months but what a change! When I exited the dentist’s office in late November with a mouthguard, my cerebral faculties quickly came back to me. I still can’t explain why COVID made me clench my teeth in the first place (intense stress?) but it was such a great relief.
Suffice to say that this came at the right time because December turned out to be extremely complicated from a professional standpoint. Some of the various dormant outsourcing projects I was hired on were all relaunched at the same time and I made a huge strategic mistake that cost me a lot. I only managed to complete Chronotopia’s beta at the last moment but I still consider it a victory as it was an especially important milestone to me. Technically the game did come out in 2022 as announced in the trailer =’).
2023 : Ditto
The disruptions are not stopping there as another good news is in the work. My partner and I have been dreaming of visiting Japan for years now and, if the situation allows it, this dream should become reality real soon. This is incredible news but let’s just say that my hopes of releasing Chronotopia: Second Skin before my birthday are utterly destroyed…
This is a goal I have kept in mind for a while now but it may be time to make it official: I plan to greatly reduce my outsourcing activities. I had to decline several projects in 2022 and I intend to be even more selective in 2023. I wanted to help other developers while keeping Träumendes Mädchen afloat but it is becoming increasingly clear that it’s not worth doing anymore. I have the unpleasant feeling that I’m overworking myself and constantly sacrificing Chronotopia and I don’t like it.
When the game will finally be out, after years of painful developement, I want to take a long break. I’ve been living on the edge of burnout for far too long, I need to try new things. And it just so happens that 2022 has also been the opportunity for me to start a new side job. I intend to focus on that new activity in the foreseeable future. The idea is to only return to videogames once I’m truly refreshed.
If I die young of a cardiovascular disorder because nobody is taking precautions against COVID anymore and I keep getting infected, I’d rather not leave with regrets. After being disappointed so many times, it’s foolish of me to want to believe but what can I say? I don’t have a choice, I need to keep hope. That is the only thing remaining in Pandora’s box when all the evils of the world have been unleashed. That is the only thing I have left, I need to cherish it.