So it's been a bit over a week since I took down v3. Here's how the experience has been from my perspective.
Me two weeks ago: "Man, I just learned about yet another person who stole the Pony Creator so they could slap a bunch of ads over it. I'm just so angry and frustrated. I worked hard on the game and made it available for free without ads online, but greedy assholes keep stealing it so they can make money off my hard work. This is making me feel super terrible, and I'm tired of feeling terrible every time I think about the Pony Creator. It was a good game, and I should feel proud of it. I'm going to try to do something about it! Yeah!"
Most of the internet: "Where's v3???? Just put it back up!! Who cares about thieves? You're being selfish! Get over yourself!"
Me now: "...Wow."
A very large reason why I just gave up on improving the Pony Creator is because I really do have an instinctive stress response when I so much as think about it these days. Between the semi-constant demands people put on me for new features even though I was working as hard as I could, the regular threat of theft, the small contingent of people who love to tell me to this day that I singlehanded ruined the fandom with the game, and my own personal frustration over certain problems I couldn't figure out, I just burnt out. And that really does suck more than I can say. Your personal reaction to an awesome thing you made, the thing you're single best known for, shouldn't be instinctive fear and cringing because of all the stress involved. I hated feeling like that. So I decided to take some steps to make myself feel more empowered. To try and make myself feel better.
And for about 48 hours, it worked great! Some sketchy sites who were hosting the game without my permission took it down. I started looking into how to make the game file more secure. I was even inspired for the first time in ages on how to improve the existing game. Make it less buggy and more efficient. Maybe while I was working on it I could try and figure out how to add a new feature or two people had been requesting for years. I booted up Flash and started working again. I had trouble falling asleep at night because my mind was racing with ideas I wanted to program.
Then the comments started rolling in more heavily. I do have some wonderful commenters who understood the situation and were very supportive. Y'all are great, and I do appreciate you. I really have gotten some very nice messages. But a lot were angry, and at least very vehement in their despair that the game was unavailable. I got called some names a couple times. (Only a couple. It definitely wasn't a widespread thing. But it still stings.) Honestly, even the many, many comments that were just, "Where's v3????" upset me, because what that kind of comment means is, "I totally want to take advantage of the work you put in for years on this game, but I won't give you a few seconds of my time to read the explanation you specifically wrote out." Most of these comments are on the journal entry itself. And then are a lot are just, "Put v3 back up!" which I guess means, "I did read your explanation, but I don't care. My right to play your game and give you nothing in return trumps whatever you think about your own game."
Guys. I'm a human being. And a really sad, worn out one at this point. If I make the game for the fans, and this is how most of the fans behave, then...well, I can definitely say I'm not inspired or excited anymore.
At this point I don't know what the future of the Pony Creator is. I'm sure I'll calm down with a little more time. After all, this kind of stuff is literally built into my subconscious reaction to the Pony Creator at this point. I was trying to deal with that, and ended up just bringing even more down on myself. I guess that's just the way it is.
I'm going to try to keep working on the game today. Maybe it'll make me feel better to accomplish something. I'm also working with some sites that had been hosting the game without my permission to host legitimate versions of the game with less ads, because ads are something I never intended my users to deal with. But I'm going to be working a bit more slowly than intended, and probably won't accomplish everything I thought I might do just a few days ago. Please, I'm just asking for a little time and patience.