For a month it’s been push, push, push … coding frantically each day with the stress of an impending pulled plug.  My eleven months of unrestricted Tidepool time ends tonight, as tomorrow I return to corporate work.

I’m amazed we made it eleven months, though not without sacrifice.  Aside from our bare-bones lifestyle, my family went $25,000 into debt, though I hope to fill that hole in the next six months.  Financial stress has certainly been the biggest downside to the whole endeavor.  It’s one thing to say, “Make the dream real,” and quite another to frequently tell your daughter, “Because we don’t have any money.”  My wife’s been a (supportive) nervous wreck all year.

Today I posted the Tidepool Alpha 2 release candidate and gave it a good once-over.  I’d love to say, “It’s done”, but I found 34 bugs, with four ranked as “blocker”, meaning crucial functionality is broken.  Things are bad enough that I cancelled this Saturday’s Kismet Club class, which is a real disappointment. For weeks I’ve been hoping to show the newest Tidepool stuff to the kids, but I just can’t delay my paid gig any longer.  We need the money yesterday.

And so I’ll put Tidepool on hold for the next few weeks, knowing that story-making multiplayer animated coolness is just a few dozen bug fixes away.  Over 45 weeks, I’ve spent 1337 hours (coincidentally “leet” in “leetspeak”) to create nearly 1200 printed pages of code.  Ordinarily, I’d charge $267,000 for such a feat.

Instead, I’m left with frustration.  To motivate yourself over such a long stretch to create something out of nothing is no easy task.  To cut yourself off when things start to get interesting, when months of boring foundation work are past, and only quick cool features remain . . . it’s demoralizing.

No doubt, I’ll release Alpha 2 sometime this December.  What more depends on money.