Moving to a new release model

CW: I talk about mental health a little in this post.

I need to make changes to how I’m working on Mutant Standard:

  • I wanna move Mutant Standard away from batched releases (0.3.0, 0.3.1, 0.4.0, etc.) to something like a rolling release, where updates are smaller and incremental (possibly just named after dates ie. ‘2019-06-29’).
  • I really need to spend some time on improving my use of technologies to streamline Mutant Standard compilation and releases so they don’t waste the amount of time and energy they do right now.
  • I don’t want to do roadmaps as I’ve done them anymore because they just don’t work.
  • I kinda need to work on Mutant Standard less.

Here’s why I really need to do these things…

Batched releases and roadmaps are bad for my mental health

I suffer from anxiety and depression. Concrete deadlines, especially for a long-term commitment like Mutant Standard isn’t good for me. Saying  ‘I’m going to make X amount of emoji by this date’ makes work harder rather than easier. I often freeze up and get very little done. I also suffer from lots of unpredictable downtime because of my mental health, which makes sticking to dates even more troublesome.

I work much better on whims. For example, April was almost entirely downtime, but in the first 2-3 weeks of May, I was spending at least a few hours a day writing code for forc.

Expecting myself to have consistent output over short periods (or even medium periods) of time is just not good for me. The batch release model specifically  overwhelms me by making me think of lots of tasks to release in a flashy update instead of just doing what I feel like doing at a time that works for me.

I think a more low-key release structure and retiring the idea of grand roadmaps will be a lot better for me. I’ll simply provide simple, small goals of what I want to do in the near future, but no longer have timeframes attached to any of them. These will then just be things on my mind and I’ll show patrons the progress of them just as I’ve been doing any other thing in Mutant Standard.

I can’t patch technical issues as quickly as I’d like with batched releases

Because of how the project is currently structured, if there’s a technical issue, fixes that are normally simple can take months to actually arrive.

Like right now, I have accidentally given the wrong text descriptions for human colour modifiers (CMs H1-H5), this is a very simple thing to fix, but I can’t easily issue the improvement until the next release, which could be months from now.

Mutant Standard has changed a lot as a project, but the production process hasn’t

Mutant Standard was originally mostly a graphic design project, but there’s far more technology and coding involved now and the production process. The scale has changed significantly too, but I’m still producing things in a very manual way as if it’s still a small-scale graphic design project.

Batched releases were originally a result of how Mutant Standard was originally produced (very simply), and then gradually became tentpole releases too to create interest in the project by having lots of features at once. Now there is just so much involved in doing them (and Mutant Standard in general):

  • QA
  • Package Compilation
  • Promotion
  • Blog posts
  • Website content
  • Package uploads

This is lot and I get mentally overloaded from the scale of every time a release happens. I’d like this to not be a thing anymore.

Some of this is the fact that batched releases have become tentpole releases, some is related to the structure of batched releases in general. I want to make releases and their associated social media and blog stuff simpler and more to the point.

Some of this is the limitations of my current technical setup (which I also really want to address). Very little of it is automated. I want to get set up with VCS (git basically) and some sort of web server syncing, and generally automate my compilation workflow and the way the website works.

I need to kinda spend less time on this project

I think even if I were to do batched releases, the 2 month period wouldn’t cut it, from multiple angles:

  • I’m not giving myself enough time for my mental health issues.
  • I’m not financially stable and I want (and need to ideally) spend more time doing emoji commissions and possibly new things I can have income from.
  • I also just personally need time in my life to do things that aren’t emoji related at all.

I really appreciate all my patrons’ continued support, but I gotta spend my working time somewhat relative to the money I get from the things I do, and making sure I’m not burning out on emoji stuff in general. This also makes sure I can still be able to make Mutant Standard!

I’m not sure what it’s going to take to get this project into a position where making and releasing things isn’t exhausting. I’m going to need to research and learn new things. I’ll let you know how it goes.