I coded a lot as a kid on C64/Amiga, then quit as my A-level computing course was so boring. Back then (1997) there weren't all the great game engines that are around now, and PC gaming was only just getting going. You needed to be really bloody good to make a game good enough to sell, and those skills seemed mystical and unobtainable.
Up to this point I had only actually finished two games - a horse racing game in AMOS and a football game in qBASIC. I dipped back in a few years later and converted the football game to Visual Basic, and then didn't do any more games programming until 2011 when I discovered Corona.
I embarked on a prolific period making simple quiz/action games and a number of them made some good money. We were quickly able to buy a bigger house, I turned part-time and with my skills developed enough (or so I thought) in 2014 I embarked on making Retro Football Boss. I had always dreamed of making a football management game and in September 2016 it was released on Steam Early Access.
From there, I've made quite a few mistakes.
After spending 3 months fixing critical bugs, I embarked on a complete re-write in Corona. I should have refactored the existing code base and kept iterating that way. Having spent 6-9 months on this progress was slow and dull, and I was also messing around with Unity and having a lot of fun with that. About a year ago I decided to port the game to Unity, as I was enjoying C# much more than Lua and the speed increases were significant.
With all my time spent developing it, I've had no time or energy left to play it myself (or any other games for that matter) and see if it's actually any good, or do any marketing at all. I suppose it's sold fairly well organically, but nowhere near enough to quit the day job completely.
My current thinking is:
The sequel is so vast in scale, I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The scale is so vast it will have a global appeal and *could* sell well. But it could also flop.
It's a truly unique football game. A similar baseball game, OOTP, is very successful.
I'm not enjoying making this game anymore.
I don't want to throw four years' work out of the window.
The data I've assembled for it is the most comprehensive in the world, and can't be matched. It's a shame if it never got used.
There's a small band of people eagerly awaiting the sequel and helping me with data - I don't want to let them down.
I don't want to 'waste' the next two years when I could start something new, exciting and with more potential.
I'm 36 - I've got maybe one more big project left in me.
I have a lot of 7/10 ideas. Every time I think I have the 'one', it's already been done.
My skills have reached the point where I could do something amazing like Prison Architect that millions want to play.
I think I've got it in me to make something on that scale, and should have done it by now. Why did I mess around from 16-30?
Maybe I should quit altogether and spend more spare time with my family, or on other hobbies.
I've earnt great money doing contract work, maybe I should do more of that and stop dreaming.
Making other people's games isn't nearly as rewarding.
I'm exhausted from doing the day-job and making games for the past seven years.
7 years is nothing when I compare with the 25-30 years it took my Dad to become a professional composer.
I'd love to find a group of developers/designers/evangelists to work with and share the burden, but where to look?
If I could get funding to work on it full-time and employ help, maybe I'd enjoy it again - it beats real work, and would leave space for other things.
I know that's not the question you asked, but hey