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Re: The End

Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:52 pm
by spleendamage
I always found you, Josh, to be inspiring in so many ways. Your writing, your thought process, your understanding of technology, your ability to deconstruct systems to their atomic components are just some of the ways in which continued to amaze and impress.

At this point, where the towel is thrown in, this project failed to deliver what you intended. That sucks.
But your dream was inspirational and your videos were riveting. The beauty in your procedural renders and the applied approach which created them; stunning.

I've been a developer for 15 years and have seen plenty of failed projects, they're not uncommon.
Someone of your obvious intelligence and talent, however, is quite uncommon indeed.

Best of luck in everything.

Re: The End

Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:16 pm
by DWMagus
After seeing so many pour their hearts out, I felt as though I needed to add a bit myself, from personal experience. I already relinquished my mod hat awhile ago, so this is me being me, not me speaking as someone who was a trusted member of the forum team.

Many of you know I used to run a small business, but I never really shared many details outside of the fun times. Hopefully it can help.


In very early 2008, I saw a Craig's List ad where a guy was selling a used video game store combined with a LAN center (internet cafe). The guy was in a suburb of the main city, so it wasn't that easy to get to. On a whim, I asked my wife and roommate (who was a friend from highschool that we recently reconnected with) along with a longtime friend went to the place to at least check it out.

Ultimately the purchase wouldn't be feasible due to location, but it did spawn a thought; 'What would it take if we wanted to do something similar?' Eventually, we decided that, 'Why not?' and went for it. The plan was to have the roommate (who was unemployed at hte time) manage the store during the day with the longtime friend when he was available. My wife and I would still work at our day-jobs then take care of the store on the night shifts and weekends so we could still financially provide for it while it was still getting up.

Fast forward through the usual small business start-ups stages; We procured inventory, we procured PC parts, we found a really decent space close by, etc. There were some minor problems almost immediately. The longtime friend eventually moved out of state after helping us build the store, and so it became the three of us--more hours all around. Our ISP had basically lied to us originally when we found the location and it turns out they couldn't provide service (foring us to pay almost 5x as much for really really slow service because it was the only thing available).

Despite the some small issues, things were great. During the first year we even broke even a few months giving us a lot of hope. Eventually working 80-hour weeks really took a toll on all of us. I couldn't hire anyone else because the sole reason my roommate was there was because it was more of a trade for room and board. We were bleeding money.

Each year we had our anniversary celebration. We were planning a big one for our third year, almost like a mini-con/gaming event. Unfortunately more than half of our commitments to either help or provide fell through. We were supposed to host a large gaming tournament, but it turned out the main organizers were expecting us to do all their advertising. We were supposed to have the equivelent of booths where some people could sell their gaming merchendise/memorobilia, however the many people who were going to do that never showed up. Many similar instances just made our third year anniversary fall apart.

At the end of the event, my roommate/manager told me he was ready to throw in the towel. By this point things had declined and we were nowhere near where we used to be -- both mentally and physically. I made the (stupid decision at the time) to keep going.

A few months later, I found out that my wife had stopped paying our mortgage in order to finance the store. That was a very very ugly day. It is also important to note that I had made sure prior to opening the store that there were many protections in place in case we couldn't make payments, which made her decision to stop payments for the mortgage vs. payments for the store all the worse.


Ultimately, we ended up closing the store for many reasons (a post for another day). But like anything that you've invested so much of yourself in, it's not easy to admit when it's time to say 'Enough'. It wasn't until much later that I realized we should've shut down in the November instead of dragging it out until late March. Anything you do day-in and day-out for awhile will hurt when you have to let go. I won't lie, it *really* hurt to have to admit that my dream didn't work out and that it became nothing but a financial burden. It made me angry, sad, depressed, and an amalgam of many other sensations.

No one prepares you for the feelings you get when things go south. Everything you read is about how people pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and succeeded in making it big and how all the hard work pulled off. Nothing tells you about the feeling of loss and emptiness that you get when you realize how much more time you have. That first night I came home from work instead of heading to my shop felt surreal to say the least. It took a lot of time to finally come to terms with what had happened.


What allowed me to keep going, despite these feelings was knowing that even if worst case scenarios came, I could still fall back to my family or the friends I made during my endeavor. Josh, from everything you've described during the project, you have very loving parents and many friends. You have even more friends here that would be willing to help you out in any way you need it.

You're very young. You have more than enough time to bounce back and do whatever it is you want to do. Don't see this as a failure that defines the rest of your life. We all mess up.


Take your time. Take deep breaths. Take it one step at a time. Tomorrow is another day. Relax those muscles that have been tensed up for years. You deserve a rest. Grieve if you need to. I just hope that since your decision to end this project, you've finally been able to get a decent sleep.

...oh, and take some money to get a really good massage. Trust me. Those shoulders are stiff from all the weight you've carried. You need to be able to work the knots out so you can truly relax.

We'll still be here tomorrow.

Re: The End

Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:46 pm
by Ringu
Ahh, DWM, I'm sorry to hear about your troubles with the business. You didn't deserve it, and I hope you too realise it wasn't a reflection on you or your family, or your actions even. Sometimes, life is just cruel.

I'm very impressed with your attitude coming out of it though, well done indeed - you're made of better stuff than many people I know, and it's actually inspiring to hear that you can recover from setbacks like that.

Re: The End

Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:51 pm
by DWMagus
Ringu wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:46 pm
Ahh, DWM, I'm sorry to hear about your troubles with the business. You didn't deserve it, and I hope you too realise it wasn't a reflection on you or your family, or your actions even. Sometimes, life is just cruel.

I'm very impressed with your attitude coming out of it though, well done indeed - you're made of better stuff than many people I know, and it's actually inspiring to hear that you can recover from setbacks like that.
Trust me when I say that at the time, it didn't feel like it. It took quite awhile before I could finally look back and realize I wasn't as bad off as I thought I was. It's really easy to get caught up in the "Here and Now" aspect of "I failed at the one thing I wanted to do". Still, I appreciate the kind words.

Hopefully when all this has blown over (for the most part), Josh can say the same.

Re: The End

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:36 am
by yunlu
look at Factorio
you don't have to make all content youself
Mod is a good way to get help from fans

Re: The End

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 5:21 am
by CSE
When I last heard, he simply wanted to go back to university to finish his schooling.
This is the best news since the original statement (which was a good news, imho, to end a rotten situation).
Josh, keep this good decision, in our world, you won’t regret having a diplom to show and it will teach you so much complimentary to your talents!

Re: The End

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 5:57 am
by Rexirl
Perhaps a little late, but if ever there is a time to post, it's seemingly now.

Considering just – not that just does justice to their magnitude – the development videos and written devlogs publicly viewable for all (not to mention the prototype, the promise of source code release, and... no doubt even more beyond what I can readily recall), it's truly mind-boggling to see some suggest that this would have been a "scam", and heart-warming that those espousing such a view are so few and far between.
The Limit Theory community made this forum a reliably decent place to visit in search of uplifting and earnest discussions (though some lurkers are still evidently too hesitant to join in the light, except in the very end), and for this I am grateful to the community as well.

Thank you for sharing your vision and for your hard work, Josh Parnell. May you live well.

Re: The End

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 9:54 pm
by Rulin
Thanks josh, for letting me lurk here during the rather open development. I was always in awe of the project and I really enjoyed the information you offered.
Don't be so hard to yourself; Look at how many people you've impressed and inspired!
Most people cannot say this for themselves.

Re: The End

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:51 am
by gravik
Dear Josh,

Deciding to end your dream project must be a devastating experience. I cannot imagine the intensity of the guilt, self-doubt, and the plethora of feelings that must be weighing down on you -- now and for the days to come. As an aspiring game developer, artist/writer/programmer, my heart goes out to you and I hope your mental fortitude can eventually lift you from this state, so you may resume pursuing your dreams.

I have only been a low-tier kickstarter patron and distant observer of your project, but I imagine your ambition and talent has grabbed the attention of some amazing people in both support and skill (and perhaps have you made some new contacts and friends along the way?) Please, do not take these new connections lightly. I, for one, was inspired/floored by your demonstration of programming genius, even from the early days of your project, and I'd be honored if I was included in your social circle, so that maybe some of your talent would rub off on me :P (That sounds a bit creepy and selfish, I admit) The point is: the people who are continuing to admire and support you, despite the failure of the project, is an extremely fruitful result of your efforts, and something, I implore you, you MUST NOT ignore.

It is my educated guess that the people who forgive you and still support you now, are wise enough to understand people are fallible and are compassionate enough to forgive them when they fail. And some, perhaps many of them, are innovators, content creators, or developers who still respect you. The community you have access to is a priceless resource! I can only hope that one of my future failed projects could rally such a wonderful collection of people. (By saying this, I don't intend to guilt trip you further in any way.) I hope, at the very least, you can extract some joy out of this fact: you have some amazing people to reach out to, and perhaps new friends to make, in the aftermath of abandoning this dream-that-could-have-been. When you feel up to it, perhaps when the dust settles (and now that you might have some time), I encourage you to simply get to know individuals in the community better. You don't need to punish yourself by suffering alone.

Take whatever time you need to recuperate. I recommend your goal should be seeking any and all methods to forgive yourself and being around good people who listen well (I acknowledge that these are probably hard to find). Godspeed in your physical and mental recovery.

Best wishes,
- Genji/gravik

Re: The End

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 2:06 pm
by Scytale
I think you showed a lot of wisdom in so much of this project Josh. After the Kickstarter ended, you refused to take in more money. How odd, in today's world! You learned lessons of taking help when you needed it; if you'd been foolish, you'd have been too proud. And in sending your update to us, you showed great courage and wisdom in saying it. And this has helped you, not hurt you: "For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it." The way you acted has given you security; if you'd succeeded in the project you would've had another kind of security. You have this instead. And this community is part of what's come out of it. I think that's something to take heart from.

Of course, you weep now rightly and we do too because now's the time for it. But all times pass to give way to others. There will be other days with a lot of beauty in them. I hope they come to you quickly.

Re: The End

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 2:57 pm
by Kimny
Hi Josh,
Although I can only imagine how profoundly painful it was for you to make such decision, I have no doubts it was the right call. It has been very clear for a long time that LT was not getting any closer to feature completion and now that you mentioned it, yes I have been missing the past joy in your posts for a long while too. You health and you overall well-being (financial security, finishing your education, etc) are much more important than any game, provided that you put enough sincere effort into what you promised. And I have zero doubt that you did put more than reasonable effort.

I have more than once criticized choices you made during the last years. I am still afraid of your assessment of the situation - in the Kickstarter update, you talk as if the main problem was you under-estimating the amount work needed to complete LT. I don't think you did. I am 100% sure you were and are capable of completing a game like LT in 6 years. In my experience as a developer, the progress you made in shorts periods of time at the beginning clearly show it. I think LT started to die when the quest for unnecessary modding features began and finished dying when the quest for a scripting language to make "coding gameplay faster" began. Were you just having fun implementing graphics and gameplay in rough C/C++ and shaders in the last 4 years, there is zero doubt you would be much closer to the game have been finished.

But I say all that not with any intent of criticism; rather, it is for you to realize that you might have made wrong *choices* , but you do not lack the talent or the capability for finishing LT or what whatever game you work on next. Do not confuse things, do not mix bad choices with being unfit. Do not question your potential and your talent. Learning from mistakes and then making better choices is part of growing as a professional and as a human being. That is normal and you will certainly be in a much better place in your next projects. So no, do not let your confidence die. Remember your own signature in this forum: "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right" (H. Ford).

Frankly, what makes me the saddest in LT dying is not even never playing the game. Sure thing, I would love to play it: your videos from almost 4 years ago still look much better than any other space game out there, including X4 Foundations. They are second only to Star Citizen, in my humble opinion, and yet yours had a more distinct, non-bland artistic signature. Still, the main reason I am saddened is because of the prospect of never again reading any devlog of yours about LT. This is really painful, because your devlogs have always been a work of art in themselves.

I can only hope that with time, and as you find joy and inspiration again, we can at least see you posting somewhere else about whatever ideas or shiny things you come up with related to whatever project you have. Please, do revive your blog. Start writing tutorials. Talk about game engines. Play to your current strengths, which I think are exactly your technical skills, your artistry, you gamedev tools inclination and the great communication abilities you always had while you were not feeling under too much pressure.

Hope to read from you sooner rather than later. Can't wait to see what you are up next, now that for better or for the worse, you are free from LT.

Re: The End

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:31 pm
by fralken
Sad news! But this is probably the right thing to do.

Keep in mind that you are a highly skilled graphic and game developer, and you demonstrated with your blog and your demos that you have also a good artistic taste both for graphics (I particularly appreciate how you use colours) and for audio (your procedural music is amazing).
That's the main reason why I backed this project on KS six years ago, at a time when there were a lot of projects about space exploration on KS, both AAA titles (such as Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous) and indie projects. But Limit Theory stood out of that crowd for the quality of the demos, and for the developer's portfolio.

In the first two years, I enjoyed reading your dev logs, and I found myself waiting for the next day post. It was amazing that every day you spent all day programming and still have the time to write very detailed posts that were of inspiration for many people.

Probably your biggest mistake has been seeking perfection, diverging from the main objective of completing the game (an example is when you decided to implement a new programming language). This is a typical pitfall in solo projects, when you can slip forward the deadline. Though in this situation it is very difficult to keep the focus and keep the concentration, especially when problems arise (e.g. performance issues). And the burnout happened.

But you demonstrated that you where able to recover, and started again with more realistic objectives and more rational organisation (and you found other developers to help you).
Though after so many years the energy was lower, and also the motivation, that's normal, but the project was still very complex.

In the end, not delivering the game can be considered (and it is) a failure. But in this voyage you made a lot of experience, and you created a lot of high quality assets (code, game arts, etc.). Either you'll open source your code or keep it for yourself , do not waste these assets. If you decide to open source them, it would be nice to create a community to keep the project going on as a community project (probably many people in this forum would be willing to contribute). Having the code open sourced and abandoned would be a shame.
Also, the dev logs themselves are very well written, entertaining and inspiring. It would be nice to have them collected in some sort of ebook and made available.

Good luck for everything,

Re: The End

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:43 am
by Ixos
I think everyone who followed the project even on a shallow level agree that you gave it your very very best shot.

The 3 most important development lessons I take away from following this:
- You can't strive for perfection everywhere, realistic goals and good enough is important.
- Mental work & life balance is critical to being able to develop and make progress
- You should never underestimate the value of getting a working prototype no matter how crude in the hands of the customers/players ( or a subset group of it ) and iterating on that prototype with regular working releases, to get feedback on the absolute minimum and most important features needed for a complete product/game.

Re: The End

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 4:20 pm
by Zanteogo
Well, I come back to check on the forum and see this.

Honestly sorry to hear. Can't say I am surprised. The writing has been on the wall that this was the going to be the end result for quite some time. It sort of felt like that old pet that everyone knew should have been put down years ago but no one had the heart to do so.

I never knew about this project until after the Kickstarter, so I lost nothing. I enjoyed this forum during it's peak hay days. Suppose I should thank all the people who did pay, you paid for my free entertainment. Thanks, honestly.

This also should be a lesson everyone should take note of, I used to be one of a few nay sayers here who noted that things were not right with this project. We would get the forum beat down from the positivity police when trying to express this. I have seen this same rise and fall with so many projects over the years, starting to lose some faith in the indie development chances in today's world. A shame that only big corporations can only make games that actually make it to gold.

If anyone here finds a similar project or one that has at least an interesting of a forum, please let me know. Several of you have me on Steam. It would be interesting to be on a forum with Josh as a regular civilian..

I'm Zanteogo on Steam as well if anyone feels like adding me.

edit: A shame that "Most users ever online was 249 on Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:41 pm" will always be the peak of this forum. Such interesting hopeful days.

Re: The End

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:42 pm
by Zanteogo
Hyperion wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:34 pm
Limit Theory, its promise, its design, and Josh "wonderboy" Parnell very literally saved my life. Though not a backer, I came across it at a dark time in my life and the Daily updates in 2014 were quite literally the only reason I didn't commit suicide, the promise and the dream was just too great. And it is because of that, that I refuse to let the dream die, because to give up on this dream is to give up on the hope that has driven me personally to keep on going.
Sorry to hear, but glad you kept on going.

I know for a fact that this project (and the whole community around it), helped others too during their dark times.

I hope we can transfer this community to something else.

One thing I do regret was actually not meeting some of you face to face over a beer. Was planning on going to some sort of release party. It would have been... interesting.