Author Topic: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?  (Read 14537 times)

Andail

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Re: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?
« Reply #100 on: 22 Apr 2017, 09:38 »
Before I read this thread, I was sure there existed sums between zero and 10k dollars a month.

Snarkiness aside, raising money to get someone to look after the maintainance and development of AGS is at least something we haven't tried. What we've tried so far has led to CW feeling downtrodden and depressed, to the point that he's about to leave the community, and a half dozen people making their own branches or in some cases entire programs with not much coordination.

Just sayin'.

AGA

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Re: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?
« Reply #101 on: 22 Apr 2017, 11:22 »
AGA, I believe the going rate for contract developers is in the neighborhood of $10000 per month. I recently saw an ad for a full time lead developer that offered $110k to $140k per year.

Oh yeah, I know.  I'm an IT contractor myself (testing).  It just doesn't seem that Mods realises the costs involved.  AGS couldn't afford *my* rate, and developers get paid far more than I do here.

RickJ

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Re: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?
« Reply #102 on: 22 Apr 2017, 12:47 »
AGA then you know how much it sucks to work on other peoples code. ;)

m0ds

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Re: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?
« Reply #103 on: 22 Apr 2017, 15:32 »
I don't Berian, but can a 9-5, 50 weeks a year job wage really be applied to what we'd be asking of someone? Maybe 4-8 hours a week, but not 50. There's always room for negotiation, and the AGS side of the table probably has more sway than the other.

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Re: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?
« Reply #104 on: 22 Apr 2017, 15:46 »
Before I read this thread, I was sure there existed sums between zero and 10k dollars a month.

IDK if people here keep this in mind, but if salaries are measured in $ they vary from country to country.

When you say $10.000 a month I am like o_0 because in my country that's what I get in 10 months.


What we've tried so far has led to CW feeling downtrodden and depressed, to the point that he's about to leave the community

No, it was not that.
I was feeling so terrible earlier this day that I wanted to write another big stupid and stresful post, but now I feel rather numb.

The truth, that I has finally realized, or rather forced myself to admit, is that I am coward. The simple and terrible thing was that I was not brave enough to try something like, for example, scotch is working on right now. Even though I was supposed to, believed I should, and even was making plans about that.

Had I find bravery to do that, we could have a replacement engine for AGS years ago.

What was the result of my cowardice is 5 lost years, a wasted time and opportunities, both mine and yours. I feel like a greatest liar now, an impostor, who pretended that he is doing something good. Your community deserved better than that.

I cannot forgive myself for this, even when people tell me that I did well, that does not persuade me even a single bit, because in my heart I know that's not true.
« Last Edit: 22 Apr 2017, 15:58 by Crimson Wizard »

Andail

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Re: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?
« Reply #105 on: 22 Apr 2017, 16:05 »
Yeah, like I said there seems to be a concensus that this has to be done for either $0 or $10000 a month, which strikes me as odd.

I was inclined to advocate raising money for this, but I'll respectfully leave this debate and hope that you can come up with a solution. Me and Joel will manage anyhow...

I forgot to say hi to Scotch by the way. Hi!

Edit:
Quote
No, it was not that.
I was feeling so terrible earlier this day that I wanted to write another big stupid and stresful post, but now I feel rather numb.

The truth, that I has finally realized, or rather forced myself to admit, is that I am coward. The simple and terrible thing was that I was not brave enough to try something like, for example, scotch is working on right now. Even though I was supposed to, believed I should, and even was making plans about that.

Had I find bravery to do that, we could have a replacement engine for AGS years ago.

What was the result of my cowardice is 5 lost years, a wasted time and opportunities, both mine and yours. I feel like a greatest liar now, an impostor, who pretended that he is doing something good. Your community deserved better than that.

I cannot forgive myself for this, even when people tell me that I did well, that does not persuade me even a single bit, because in my heart I know that's not true

Ok, that sucks, mate. I'd tell you that we're all greatly indebted to you, and this community is eternally grateful, but that has already been said, so I don't reckon it helps.

Maybe you should go see someone professional and talk about your self-criticism, because it seems like you're having a bit of an issue there. I mean that in the most friendly, non-patronizing way possible; we're not psychologists (well, most of us aren't) here so we don't know how best to encourage you, or prevent you from criticizing yourself so badly.

Or do you reckon there's a way for you to work with AGS and still feel good about yourself and what you're doing? Otherwise maybe take a little break, get some distance between yourself and AGS, maybe as I said speak to someone or just pursue other avenues in life, for however long.
« Last Edit: 22 Apr 2017, 16:15 by Andail »

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Re: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?
« Reply #106 on: 22 Apr 2017, 20:49 »
confirmed

« Last Edit: 08 May 2017, 04:56 by Amy »

AGA

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Re: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?
« Reply #107 on: 22 Apr 2017, 21:26 »
Yeah, like I said there seems to be a concensus that this has to be done for either $0 or $10000 a month, which strikes me as odd.

The people who do it for love don't seem to want to be paid.  If not that, then we'd need a professional.  In western Europe the going rate for a professional would be €50+ an hour, although yes of course that differs around the world.  It might not be a 40 hour a week job, but it's about the total hours spent - 100 hours is still €5000, whether it's spread across 2.5 weeks or a year.  And a professional is far more likely to want to commit themselves to one project, get it done, then disappear, so a lot of money would need to be laid out in a short period of time.  Also there is of course the fact that anyone being paid who isn't on a legally enforceable contract could be scammer and end up stealing thousands of dollars.  That would only really work if the quoted a price up front, did the work, then invoiced us for work done.

Joseph DiPerla

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Re: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?
« Reply #108 on: 23 Apr 2017, 01:26 »
I thought occurred to me. What if we use someone to be the gatekeeper of funds. The community as a whole can recommend a feature, bug fix, core upgrade or port. The community votes on the most important of all of these needed. Or the main developers or administrators can decide which are the most important. We can then decide how much to pay for each feature to be developed. The community will then contribute to whichever ones they feel they want to contribute to. When the next goal hits 100% funded, it will be listed as a job that is available to be taken on.

We now advertise what we are trying to do with AGS next. A developer, whether in the community outside, will need to implement said suggestion/feature/bug fix to satisfaction. Once a developer does so, the allocated funds would be given to him upon completion. 3D rad had done this many years back. Had a much smaller community than this. But the developer was given thousands of dollars in donations and a lot user favorite features were implemented. This allows development to continue with those who want to work for free and motivate others who want to be compensated for their time. The product remains free and noone needs to purchase or donate if they don't want to and the money wont go to anyone unless there is someone deserving of it. And if noone claims the feature, then the donations for that feature, after a year of no bites, will go towards server costs or agsarchives or something.

Does this make sense? If anyone has used 3D Rad, you will know what I am talking about. Only difference this wont go to one developer, but will sort of work as headhunting.
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Re: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?
« Reply #109 on: 23 Apr 2017, 09:20 »
Regarding money-for-engine/editor development, what about a Patreon? I know that a lot of people are turning to it and many fails, but given the size of this community I think it could work. And the beauty of Patreon is that if it succeeds it can raise a substantial amount of money wile leaving the patrons free to choose how much they feel like contributing.

I mean, AGS is doing huge things for me. I'm mostly a self taught programmer, I actually don't know anything, I come up with solutions that I think are smart and then turn out to be 30 years old outdated practices that are now shun upon by real programmers, etc. I'm also not making a penny from my project, not because they are that bad, but because I don't feel like asking money for them (yet? who knows). I don't want to sound ungrateful, and being a freelancer artist as my daytime job I know well that people should earn money for their work, but this being my usage of AGS, I don't know if I'd buy AGS to basically toy around a bit with it. I know about Unity's Adventure Creator and, beyon Unity not being as user friendly as AGS, I know that 70$ is a bit too much for what I'll be doing with it in the foreseable future (which basically means forever, because if there isn't something that lets me monkey around with coding untill I become a bit less crap, I'll never think that paying for a development tool will be a wise move for me).
I'd gladly put a few bucks on it's Pateron page, though.
« Last Edit: 23 Apr 2017, 09:36 by Lord Vetinari »

m0ds

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Re: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?
« Reply #110 on: 23 Apr 2017, 12:17 »
My Lord, though I have some very minor reservations about Patreon, I think that could work well as an initial micro-economy for AGS (the community and the engine). It's more manageable than some of my site-wide suggestions, and it's not as "temporary" a solution as a Kickstarter. It can also alleviate "forcing" money on someone or some particular aspect, by creating "side pots" as it were, that go towards various areas, ie the engine, ie community funds. It also means "no change" to the status of the engine itself, no charges etc. It can keep people we already have in temptation rather than having to secure new, ultra-expensive Berian programmers ;)

A patreon, or even a kickstarter, is going to require someone to run it, and to deliver the perks and stuff. And as I asked Dave earlier, someone to be a trusted treasurer of such a thing. I think I could probably commit to a 6-12 month patreon stint myself, to get it off the ground. I'd probably opt for a monthly micro-payment selection over the "per project" setting, because that could become too stagnant IMO. We can incorporate a raffle for free games and even cash lottery and make it a real buzz to be a part of this. In an effort to not be entirely self serving, also attract people who don't even use this place or engine, by not giving it a narrow focus like "developer payment". And if you don't want to participate in it like that, there is no obligation to do so. As Andail hints, we do not know where the roof is on this yet, and that shouldn't be disconcerting, it should be exciting!

But I still think a straw poll of some of the bigger "questions" in this thread should be conducted first, kickstarter/patreon, does it make sense to develop ags further, and a few others - to get an idea of the right direction and the choices/options people are happy with (including those that don't post, which is fine, but our voices are not the only voices here, I'm sure). And for CW, it is important to do your own projects and not other peoples for your own sense of purpose and sake of wellbeing, so definitely follow that niggling desire. But here's hoping you will not completely abandon AGS!
« Last Edit: 23 Apr 2017, 12:31 by Screen 7 »

Re: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?
« Reply #111 on: 23 Apr 2017, 12:53 »
Will the person creating the Patreon account not be liable to pay income tax?
Wouldn't it be advisable to create a a tax-exempt public trust to avoid that first?


Ali

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Re: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?
« Reply #112 on: 23 Apr 2017, 19:00 »
I'd like to repeat how grateful I am towards Crimson Wizard for his improvements to AGS. I'm sorry this has got so stressful for you. You've really helped me out.

BUT, I think this thread (and the others like it) demonstrate that a community-run, vote-for-the-feature you want system is unlikely to work.

I'm all for raising funds to support AGS, but without leadership and a plan for the future, how will that work? How much money will people be prepared to give with no understanding of what it will be spent on? Why should the entire community get to vote, when a smaller proportion is providing the funds? What if the most popular features are the least affordable? What if we can't agree what to do? Bad feeling and anger would build up quickly - even more quickly than they have in this discussion.

As I'm sure I said last time this came up, I don't think it helps for us to argue over our vision of AGS in the future, or who we think ought to take charge. I think it would make more sense for us to offer to help support AGS in whatever way we can.

When (and if) the time comes, I would be glad to help with raising funds and PR/copywriting in support of the project.

Joseph DiPerla

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Re: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?
« Reply #113 on: 24 Apr 2017, 02:17 »
I've never written anything useful in C++ and no matter how hard I try, I just can't work with C#. I am mostly a VB/VB.net, B4A/B4J, Javascript/CSS/HTML/PHP/mySQL developer. What I propose, I do not suggest without the consideration that a lot of work may go into this. But perhaps, this may reinvigorate the current development team to want to develop AGS further. Now, this is no easy task and it may very well years to get to a point that you can show the public anything promising... But maybe with a development team(CW, Gurok, Janet, Dave, Monkey,Alan, annd others), prior source from the AGS Source code to learn from as well as some other engines(Sludge, Wintermute) and a community eagerly awaiting for something new... The team can begin work on AGS 4.0 - a completely redeveloped AGS.

Daunting, no doubt. Hard to achieve, of course. But possible and very much worth it. This doesn't mean that AGS 3.4 needs to stop being developed on. Perhaps, in their spare time, the dev team or whoever else, can fix the remaining bugs. And in their spare spare spare time, the team can work on supporting even older games. But AGS 4.0 will be something fresh and new, yet familiar and useful. What I propose is to plan your goals, decide what stays, what changes and what has to be new. Get input from the community, see what features they would like, what annoyed them about the previous versions of AGS. Find a way to import and convert projects from 2.72 up to 3.4 into AGS 4.0 so that teams working on games are not left in the lurch. Figure out you target Audience: Newbies or experienced developers or a little of both. How should scripting be handled? Should it continue to use it's own scripting language? Or should we move to LUA, C++, C#, Javascript, etc..? Maybe support more than one, like Unity does. Could open AGS to more interested developers. What are the target platforms you want to support: Windows, Linux, Mac, ChromeOS, Android, iOS, Blackberry, WebOS 3.0, tvOS, Android TV, Amazon Fire, Tizen, Windows phone, Roku, Browsers, Consoles(PS4, X-Box One, PSP Vita, Wii U, Nintendo Switch), etc... Once figured out, research and decide the best way to implement said goals.

I can tell you what needs to go: Supporting backwards compatibility. This may mean that abandoning runAGSgame may need to be deprecated too. I like the idea that someone would use that feature for a game, but I have no idea how many have actually done so.

What I would keep: The text parser. AGS may very well be one of the best tools and to create a text adventure or visual novel game. I don't want to lose that.

How I would develop it: I would go with web technologies such as Javascript, CSS, HTML, JSON and utilize AJAX/JQuery. Almost all systems support this technology and their are tools to create native apps(Cordova, PhoneGap, etc..) Javascript can be obfuscated. HTML has great Canvas controls and Javascript is very capable of creating adventure games(http://jsgam.sourceforge.net/).

If instead you wish to stick with C++, perhaps we can use Emscripten(http://kripken.github.io/emscripten-site/) to run it as a Javascript web app so it can be ported to other OS. I would switch from Allegro 4.2 to SDL 2.05 or at the very least Allegro 5.

I would definitely target Windows, Mac, Linux OS as well as Android, iOS, tvOS and AndroidTV, Tizen and WebOS 3.0(I have an LG TV with that installed and it is awesome and very capable of running great games!). Secondary systems to target would be the consoles. Lastly would be systems that will disappear such as Amazon Fire(Did I say that out loud???? I hate Amazon), Blackberry, Amiga, etc...

As far as the editor goes... I would develop it using the B4X Technologies or continue with C# or convert it to C++. The editor would need to be working on at least a Mac and Windows OS. However, I can already see people griping about wanting it on Linux and some day on the mobile OS. That is why I recommend(and have recommended before) that B4X software be used. I know it is not free, but it is not costly either and B4J is completely free. A feature I think would be beneficial for the editor are team tools(EG: Incorporating GitHub, team communication, source control, etc..). I would also recommend bring back the animation editor and the interaction editor. Visionaire's and Adventure Creators biggest selling points are it's lack of coding required. Even one of Unity's biggest selling apps is PlayMaker(Which adds an interaction editor into Unity). As far as an animation editor, Mechanim is a big advantage for Unity.

Now I know I probably opened up a can of works here, but it seems there is not much else to go to in this thread. After six pages it seems that half the community doesn't want to pay while the other half does and they cant decide how to incorporate payments. CW still hasn't given us the exact answer he needs to hear to make this worth it for him. Perhaps he is not sure himself, which is understandable. The thread seems to be going in circles and I see some snarky remarks(No pun intended for Snarky) from one user to another, albeit slightly and not too terrible. I think too it is fair to say that a few people are drifting away from AGS to other engines because of interaction editors or because of portability or even the pure fact that some engine is charging money. I call that the Starbucks/Panera Bread effect... People think that because something is packaged in a fancy way and is expensive, that clearly this is the better product. (I hate both establishments, btw).

Sooo.. Then... AGS 4?
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Re: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?
« Reply #114 on: 24 Apr 2017, 07:15 »
There are already some attempts in the work: Scotch is working on a Javascript AGS version, Tzachs is working on a C# redesign and Calin has made an adventure engine with LUA.

On my part I'm planning to strip AGS from all the backwards stuff, doesn't matter which engine will end up winning the throne, this has been postponed far too long (I blame all the backwards evangelists from AGS forums) and will help make things clearer improving also manteinance a little.

And who knows... perhaps others will join if the code looks less aggravating, after all AGS already got all the features and IDE ready.


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Re: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?
« Reply #115 on: 24 Apr 2017, 09:05 »
I blame all the backwards evangelists from AGS forums

Not sure whom you are talking about, but I do not remember any "backwards evangelists" on those forums. Most of the stuff that people asked to keep over those years, like 8-bit palette mode, does not need to be kept in "backwards" way, but could be reimplemented in the modern way, like using shaders.

As I said above, the only person to blame is me, because I was not brave enough to get rid of old code and start writing new one.  And looking at my work, potential collaborators simply did not participate.

I do not know if you realize, but I did as much wrong to this project as good (in the best case). Practically deviated development from the way it should have went.


---------------------------------------------------------
@Joseph DiPerla, I do not mean to be rude here, but I find the posts like that hard to comprehend. You throw lots of ideas and themes in one page: technology, design, features... some of them sound completely random.

The editor would need to be working on at least a Mac and Windows OS. However, I can already see people griping about wanting it on Linux and some day on the mobile OS. That is why I recommend(and have recommended before) that B4X software be used. I know it is not free, but it is not costly either and B4J is completely free.

You keep mentioning this Visual Basic platform, but how many people around here know it and can (want to?) program in?
With Microsoft opening .NET Framework sources, and Mono already supporting .NET 4.5 (or so I heard), running the Editor on Linux seems just a matter of time and some fixes in code. In fact, one of the contributors is already planning such fixes in our repository.
« Last Edit: 24 Apr 2017, 15:39 by Crimson Wizard »

Re: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?
« Reply #116 on: 24 Apr 2017, 09:59 »
I do not know if you realize, but I did more wrong to this project than good. Practically deviated development from the way it should have went.

The only wrong thing was keeping the compat.
You did reorganize the code better and made a player for older content. That's ok too I guess.

My memory is completely unreliable, but I think you got peer pressured by the community into keeping the backwards compat. You do have a weak spot when it comes to ags, probably because you've been in here forever, how many times did the agsers use that to exploit you? :-D

As I see it there's no great damage, it's still better than the original code. To me the day the code was opensourced feels like just 2 years ago.



- Alan

Joseph DiPerla

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Re: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?
« Reply #117 on: 24 Apr 2017, 18:17 »
Hey CW,

You didn't sound rude tome to be honest. My apologies... Sometimes you get a thought in your head and your hands type it out before you can write out a reasonable post and then you end up getting carried away with a bunch of ramblings...

But honestly, all I was doing was suggesting an attack plan to go forward with, eg: Planning what is needed, what is not needed, who will work on it and how it will be worked on, etc... Then it got into what I personally think would be a good strategy. Not that what I personally think really matters. It is merely a suggestion.

In fact, most of what was written was just spit-balling. One of our project management classes at work trained us to think up as many ideas as we can, even things outside the box. Then put it on a sticky and stick it on a board. Basically that is what I do out of habit.

But going back to your Visual Basic Comment... I am just throwing that out there as a solution. People keep wanting a multi-platform editor. And that is fine, especially since Mac is gaining a little traction in recent years. I hear C# is portable to other OS, but I haven't seen much on this or even a lot of successful ports. Maybe I am not looking hard enough. An editor in C++ seems ideal, but maybe not. I hear GUI related projects are very difficult with C++ or maybe just tedious. Again, I do not do C# or C++ so I can be wrong about that. The B4X software suite reaches all major platforms with minimum effort to port between the different systems and has a lot of community and developer support. Keep in mind that when I came into this community back in 98/99, VB was what a lot of developers were using for Windows Based Apps. In fact, a lot of folks in our community were using it too. So I do not believe it is accurate to say that this is an unfamiliar system. Then again, the community has changed a lot over the years and the new folks may not know VB or .NET language at all. Or maybe they do know it, but it just is not an ideal or preferred system, and that is understandable.

I just think that for AGS to move forward, we need to think modern and outside the box. So that means that nothing should be off the table when it comes to just what the considerations are. If we say "This is no good" or "We will never use this" without learning more about it or about what the community can do, then we are limiting our potential. And I say that for all things. Maybe B4X is not a great idea. Maybe we should stick with C#. Maybe we should convert to C++ or Javascript. Maybe AGS should be a Unity plugin... All I am saying is that we need to consider all options.

Please forgive me, English is not my primary language, so some of my posts might not make as much sense as someone else's and my grammar might be backwards.
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RickJ

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Re: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?
« Reply #118 on: 24 Apr 2017, 21:14 »
I do not know if you realize, but I did more wrong to this project than good. Practically deviated development from the way it should have went.

The only wrong thing was keeping the compat.
You did reorganize the code better and made a player for older content. That's ok too I guess.

My memory is completely unreliable, but I think you got peer pressured by the community into keeping the backwards compat. You do have a weak spot when it comes to ags, probably because you've been in here forever, how many times did the agsers use that to exploit you? :-D
...
Undoubtedly there is enough blame to go around and we are all culpable. 

Its that the same old story about 4 people named Somebody, Everybody, Anybody, and Nobody ... :-D
Quote
There was an important job to be done.
Anybody could have done it.
It was Everybody's responsibility and
Somebody should have done it. 
The boss got angry because Nobody did it.

CW makes a good case that the AGS runtime (i.e. the engine part) has reached a point where further development is becoming impractical.  Others have pointed out the advantages AGS (i.e. mostly the IDE part) has over alternatives.  I have no reason to disagree with these assessments. Further, we have at last three new runtime projects, based on lua, C#, and WebGL, currently under development that do not have the same limitations as the current AGS runtime but lack and IDE.

So, we have a great IDE integrated with a runtime that is difficult to improve and becoming obsolete.  We have three newer runtimes under development without the current runtime's limitations.  One can only wonder if it would make sense to move current AGS development towards the possibility of the IDE targeting multiple runtimes?   
 

visionmind

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Re: Does it make any sense to develop AGS further?
« Reply #119 on: 24 Apr 2017, 23:59 »
It may or may not be helpful to know that feeling like an imposter is actually pretty common in game development. So common, there is something called Imposter Syndrome. There's a Polygon article about it, and some GDC videos on Youtube too. Like I said, it may or may not help to know that many people feel like they've only made terrible mistakes and are a fraud every time someone expresses thanks.

I think the money thing keeps on coming up because it's how different people are motivated. Some people are motivated by money. Some people aren't motivated by money at all. For some, money is even corrupting. I think that's why it's hard to address because people are so different that it makes it impossible to make any sort of blanket yes/no.
I also think it's because money is also an obligator, and even if someone spends 80 hours a week developing something, they do so by their own choice and the idea of being obligated is off-putting.

At the end of the day, and from my own personal experience, any sort of (game) developing is hard because so many decisions you can't know what's right and wrong until after the fact, which is why making and learning from mistakes is so valuable. It's also hard when you don't think anyone gives a crap about what your doing (which is probably more relevant for me).
And while I think it's fun to dream up the possibilities of redoing everything, more often then not, and for better or worse, the thing that usually happens is when you sit down at the computer you continue doing what you've already started because (a) you don't want to personally feel like a quitter and consequentially a failure (regardless of whether or not people are externally putting that pressure on you) (b) it's easier to continue doing something familiar than to do something new and unfamiliar.

Perhaps the only thing I can say that could help is for your own sanity, decide when to stop/be done. Or at least when to take an extended break. I think that's necessary to keep anyone sane.

Good luck.

visionmind