Round Ogre: the unexpected sort-of sequel

My game “Round Ogre” just launched!

And it’s one of my biggest games thus far (all regular levels + hidden levels combined comes to a total of nearly 1000 puzzles) … but also one with a weird story. If you’re a game developer, or like puzzle games, this might be an interesting read.

At the very start of this year, I made and released Square Ogre. 500 puzzles total. Huge game, many mechanics, big release.

And that … was a mistake, in hindsight. It was too much content. I worked way too long on something that should’ve been 50-100 short and sweet levels with tons of visual polish. (And instead made a game with 500 pretty good levels, which 99% of the players never got to see, because they never got that far.)

But at the time, I had lists of ideas, mechanics and levels, so I wanted to continue. I started work on the sequel (Round Ogre) and made it twice as big. I told myself: “when you do something, do it well, commit to it, and see it through until the end”

I can honestly say I’m extremely proud of this game, think it has great puzzles and ideas, with a professional level of polish and care. That’s why I’m releasing it, and with the price tag it has.

But you might notice there’s a big gap between “very start of the year” and the release date (“very end of the year”). This game was finished around April this year, yet it releases in December.

Why? I was so done with this game by the time it was completed. I’d spent half a year buried in puzzles and puzzle design, I just didn’t look at the game objectively anymore, and thought it was too bad to publish. I didn’t have the motivation to make a trailer, make a page, market it, etcetera.

It took another half year to regain that objective look at the project and realize that it was just idiotic to keep a finished, professional game hidden on my hard drive. it was literally waiting to be published with the press of a few buttons.

So here’s the lesson: “yes, it’s vital to finish your projects, but only if you finish the right things in the right way

I think Square Ogre and Round Ogre should’ve been tiny games with 50 or so levels, just exploring some interesting ideas. Instead they, combined, have 1500 puzzles and took 6 months of my life. Yes, this means I can sell them and add them as impressive projects to my portfolio. But truthfully? I’d rather have that time back and make 5 other projects that I’m actually passionate about all the way through.

And that’s why I think the advice “keep your projects small” is more important than “finish your projects”. Because finishing something you made too big, just means you wasted more time doing something you don’t like.

This December, I made a vow to finish and publish all my old projects, starting with this one. But with one extra rule: no extra content added, ignore the to-do lists, just finish what you have now. Otherwise you fall into the same trap. You make it bigger, lose motivation, and a 99% finished project just stays buried on my hard drive.

With this in mind, I could literally dust off the Round Ogre folder, open it up, export to all platforms … and it was basically done. (That’s how finished the game already was in April :p)

Creating the marketing was easy, as the game was already polished and finished, so I just asked people to playtest it and recorded their screens. Writing confident marketing copy for it was easy, as I could now see how good the game actually was, instead of being stuck in the mindset that it all sucked.

So here’s the conclusion: whenever you start a new project, finish it. But not by forcing yourself to plow through months of work.

If you feel motivation dwindling, if you want to spend time on something else, then simply make your current project as small as possible and finish that.

With that mindset, it magically becomes apparent that many of your “to-dos” are really just “optional ideas”. A game can be “finished” or “polished” in a few days if you allow it to stay small.

And, knowing what I know now, this is not a bug, it’s a feature. Games that know what they want to be and stop before they become stale, are better than games with tons of content just for the sake of content.

Writing this article might seem a stupid move (talking negatively about my game and my process of making it), but I don’t care. I want to tell the truth. I want to help people spend their time better, work with more passion on their projects.

By taking 6 months away from this project, I’m not hurt if nobody buys it or plays further than the first 50 levels. But by finishing and publishing it anyway, I can remove this nagging doubt from my mind and start the next project with a clean slate. And, for my last words of wisdom: a positive and healthy mental state is way more important than, well, anything else.

Hope you give the game a chance. Sincerely hope you have great fun solving the puzzles, learning the mechanics, taking a long journey through the worlds of Round Ogre. By making the game this big, it stopped being a casual puzzle game for idle time, and became an adventure through a whole different universe.

Until the next project (probably one from 2 years ago that I simply never published), Pandaqi

Files 47 MB
Version 4 Dec 02, 2021
Round 59 MB
Version 2 Dec 02, 2021 48 MB
Version 2 Dec 02, 2021
Round Ogre Premium.apk 75 MB
Version 2 Dec 02, 2021 47 MB
Version 1 Dec 01, 2021
Round 59 MB
Version 1 Dec 01, 2021 48 MB
Version 1 Dec 01, 2021
Round Ogre Premium.apk 75 MB
Version 1 Dec 01, 2021

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