My experience in both games and other software "projects/hobbies" has been:
1) I can usually push pretty hard for about 18 months on something for 10-40 hours a week (over and above the other 40 hours of work per week). If it isn't going anywhere by then I usually give up, or "permanently table" the project. This has happened on at least 3 start-up companies that I have helped to found.
2) Having more people than just myself work on a project is critical
if I want to get very far. There is just no substitute for having other people who are enthusiastic about the same project, who can take up the slack when I start to fade.
3) Having the wrong people on a project will kill it -- period. This has happened to at least 2 of my startup companies.
4) Starting small and with achievable milestones (aka baby steps) is a really good way to get good momentum going on a hobby.
There was an old printout from aways back that Gordon Walton (who I was working for at the time) had above his desk, about Perserverance. I don't have the whole text, but it basically was along the lines of :Genius
doesn't create success -- there's any number of unsung geniuses around.Money
doesn't create success -- millions of dollars are wasted every year on failed projects.Popularity
doesn't create success -- blah, blah, blah..Niceness
doesn't create success -- blah, blah, blah..Perserverance
, sweat and hard work, is 99% of success!
And the other 1% is luck...
Gordon is currently the executive producer of The Sims Online and has been successful in the games industry for over 20 years.
Personally, that stupid "motivational" printout has carried me through many dark and weary nights of trying to keep my "hobby" project alive in my mind, instead of calling it quits and giving up.
It's currently been carrying me about 4.5 years on my current project, which now has 9 people working on it and which I intend to make a screaming commercial success.
Anyway, that's my $0.03 worth...