Jon Shafer's At The Gates has been a very, very long time coming. Shafer, one of the main designers of Civilization 5, has spent the last seven years working on his Civ-like dark ages title, and his latest blog goes into great detail on how excruciating the process has been on him.
Having been 21 when he started his work as Civilization 5 lead designer, Shafer admits that he was fairly inexperienced when he eloped to work on his dream project, and this becomes apparent as he describes what he has gone through over the past several years.
According to his manifesto, Shafer ended up getting diagnosed with adult ADHD shortly after taking on At The Gates, and his medication eventually became less effective when he was trying to get as much work done on At The Gates as he humanly could.
"I spent less and less time interacting with and eventually even communicating with friends, family, and basically any member of society. I isolated myself, fully, and by choice," says Shafer. He stopped taking part in all of his hobbies in early 2014, which ended up being a major mistake both personally and professionally. At one point, Shafer spent over three hours simply editing a Kickstarter update.
"I rarely went to bed before 4am, and then eventually mostly stopped sleeping completely. I mostly stopped eating, and dropped from 160 lbs to 130 lbs (13.6 kg). At one point I remained at my computer desk for 110 hours, with only the occasional bathroom break. Four and a half days straight. Of “work”."
Shafer's downfall culminated in the complete expenditure of his savings account, close to $70k, and then he knew that things would have to change if he was ever going to finish At The Gates and get his life back on track.
Eventually, Shafer managed to get a semblance of control over his life once again by resuming his hobbies, eating healthy, and exercising, and this helped in rebuilding his discipline. At the time of writing this article, At The Gates is just about ready to ship, and Jon Shafer is content with where he is at. Be sure to give the fascinating account of his downfall and eventual rise in full if you're interested in such things!