Limit Theory’s Josh Parnell Ends Development On Ambitious Space Sim

Limit Theory’s Josh Parnell Ends Development On Ambitious Space Sim
Image: Josh Parnell
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Limit Theory was to be a “vast, procedurally-generated universe ready to be explored, exploited, and conquered”, and created almost entirely by a one man: Josh Parnell. In 2012, on the back of a $US187,865 ($260,104) Kickstarter, Parnell went all-in on the project. Now, six years later and “at the end of his means”, Parnell is ceasing development of the game.

Ambitious Space Sim Limit Theory Delayed Until 2015

Josh Parnell, the one-man team behind the instantly impressive Limit Theory, was always going to be pushing himself to have the Kickstarter-funded space sim ready by the end of the year. So, while disappointing, it's not surprising that he's rescheduled the game's release to 'early' 2015.

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In a sobering Kickstarter update, posted on Saturday, Parnell announced that despite his “endless optimism”, there is no realistic way for him to finish the game.

The issue is more than a financial one, as Parnell explains:

Financially, I am beyond the initial investment and have exhausted most of my personal savings. But significantly more troubling is that I am entirely out of energy — emotionally, mentally, even physically.

Every year that passes sees me becoming more desperate to make good on the dream with which you all entrusted me, but each such year I grow less and less capable of doing so as my mindset falls further away from that bright, beautiful hope that powered me from the beginning. I am not what I once was.

He goes on to say that while he’s made “an incredible amount of progress” over the last 12 months, the game is still “frighteningly far” from finished.

By his own admission, Parnell “underestimated … the amount of work” involved from the very start:

It is my own fault, for having underestimated at every turn the amount of work that goes into such a creation. It is my own fault, for having overestimated my own cognitive resilience and for believing that no number of setbacks would ever inhibit my ability to bring a passion project to life.

In the end, Parnell realised that trying to make Limit Theory happen was coming at too great a personal cost, “[evicting] all self-confidence and hope from [his] mind, leaving only doubt, anxiety, and despair”.

That said, Limit Theory isn’t entirely done — Parnell plans on releasing the source code. He points out that it is “not a working game” with “swaths of code in a half-refactored or half-complete state”. However, he believes it is the best thing to do, given the circumstances and is hopeful those interested will “glean a thing or two from the engine”.

It’s an incredibly sad end to what was, to be fair, a very ambitious project. Hopefully for Parnell, he can get back to a healthy state, both emotionally and financially. He’s certainly learned a few hard lessons.

One-Man Shop Behind Ambitious Space Sim Limit Theory Breaks Radio Silence

Given its recent string of depressing failures, stuff-ups and rorts, it's fair to say we're much more restrained when it comes to throwing money at Kickstarter. One of platform's darlings, Limit Theory from Josh Parnell, looked like it might too have joined the ranks of the damned.

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The End [Kickstarter]


  • I feel bad for Parnell and he did his absolute best, but I knew a few years back that this was going to fail (and yes, I backed it). The dev logs progressively became bogged down in technical details and failures. It was clear he wasn’t coping and was going to fail.

    Still wish him the best of luck for the future and don’t regret backing it.

  • As much as I am annoyed that I am not getting the game (or my money back), I don’t have any ill will towards Parnell as I think he did his best.

  • Haven’t been following this… But the fact it’s going open source is encouraging.
    Something may still come of it.

  • Sad to hear. I’m definitely interested in checking out the source though, there are a few technical problems that I’m curious to know what solution he went with.

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