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Reluctancy to continue on a project


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#1 The Communist Duck   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 05:02 AM

I have never actually finished a game/project.
Well, I finished Pong. And some little text based thing. But past that, I've got half a space invaders game done in C# (lost now), half a working RL in C++(still got), half a programming language (still in active development :lol:), and now this current other game project RPG thing.

However, I'm getting to the stage of 'do I really want to do this?'. It's not the programming of it - I really do enjoy that.
The problem comes from all the arising problems - e.g.
The fact I can't find a noise library that works with either VS2010 to compile, or binary for Py2.7. (Well, I'm currently ignoring this by using a pregenerated image heightmap. But it doesn't feel the same as completely procedural)
The game has already been done.
Nobody's ever going to play it except me.
Etc.

I know that most of these are totally moot points, but they still seem to have the same kind of effect as analysis paralysis does - what am I actually doing?

Anyone know how to overcome these issues, of general 'this project is a waste of my time'?
I know it is *fun* to do, but I still think it could be more fun if I didn't feel like this about it. :unsure:
This is probably a badly worded post. My apologies.
Thanks.


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#2 dechorus   Members   -  Reputation: 120

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 05:25 AM

I'm going through something similar at the moment. I keep jumping from project to project, not finishing anything. I had this grand ambition of creating a point and click adventure game with all these rad features, and I kept restarting the damn thing each time I hit a road block, coding from scratch each time.
I came to realize that small steps are the best ones to take. Creating a simple game right to completion, with a start menu and scoreboard and what have you, may possibly boost your motivation.

I think you may find some inspiration with this person's work.
http://www.cavestory.org/

Check out his other works on the webpage. The creator made most of those other games before he made the epic Cave Story. I think in the end, having a showcase like that with all the stepping stones one took is an amazing accomplishment.

I'm not sure I've fully addressed the issue, but going back to the question - how to overcome "this project is a waste of my time". Well, I think having a number of ridiculously simple games in your portfolio is an incredible showcase - which oughta motivate you, but the fact that they're simple means you should run into few of those road blocks you were hitting.

Again I'm not sure if this is what you were looking for, but that's my angle on it. I'd really like to hear what others have to say :)

#3 Erik Rufelt   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3638

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 05:34 AM

Try to make smaller games that are more easily finished to begin with, and post them on this or other forums. If you get people playing them and commenting you're probably going to be more motivated to make them better. Concentrate on making a simple game fun instead of making an awesome terrain engine that no one will ever see.

In the long run get a job at a game development studio, but if you're just beginning development perhaps you're doing this as training so you need to finish it first.

#4 The Communist Duck   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 08:13 AM

Try to make smaller games that are more easily finished to begin with, and post them on this or other forums. If you get people playing them and commenting you're probably going to be more motivated to make them better. Concentrate on making a simple game fun instead of making an awesome terrain engine that no one will ever see.

In the long run get a job at a game development studio, but if you're just beginning development perhaps you're doing this as training so you need to finish it first.


I've tried making smaller games, and I find they just don't interest me. I made Pong because I felt it was sort of something I should do, but it wasn't nearly as fun as the half-roguelike I made.

And before I can consider a job, I need to finish my GCSEs. Then my A-levels. Then finish Uni. ;)


#5 EricTheRed   Members   -  Reputation: 146

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 08:30 AM

This sort of thing happens all the time to everyone. What helps me is setting smaller goals. This does not me you need to make small games, just create some milestones along the way. If your only goal is to finish the game, you wont feel like you have accomplished anything until your done. Also, if you work with someone else, you have some outside motivation which helps.

#6 apatriarca   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1775

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 08:36 AM

Small games can be interesting. Chime, for example, is quite simple and small, but still interesting to play. The same is true for other casual games. You have to find some simple idea which intrigue and interest you enough to make it real. Then, make it incrementally. You should start from a simple and rough prototype and then build new features and polish it until you think it's complete. :lol: And remember to let other people test you game..

#7 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 2185

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 09:13 AM

Play the games you make with your friends. Or make a game that you enjoy to play.

I tend to polish (I don't say finish, because nothing is ever truly finished, publishing is a kind of finishing, but I don't publish) my stuff that I actually use. My first game and first "big" project was a scorched earth game. As soon as it way playable, we played it with my friends. That was a huge motivation, so actually I polished the crap out of it (and sometimes we played with it for hours). Even adding new features three years after I started it. Another one is a minesweeper clone. Sometimes I played it for 3 hours without pause, it became an obsession... so i polished it.

#8 Enders   Members   -  Reputation: 128

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 11:22 PM

I know what you mean about not finishing projects. I can remember all the projects I didn't finish.

A 2d ray casting engine. I made it to test out the new technique I learned. Was pretty cool. But lost it in the hard drive crash of 2004. As with a lot of my stuff :(

A 2d RPG engine, a planet missle game (remaking now after so many years), a bang bang game, space invaders clone, a top down space shooter, and a bunch of test projects.

I use these things to help me learn to make games. I never went into them to say "I am going to complete this game" there was a few I did complete though.


Now though, I do want to finish this next game and want to release it on the android market. Haven't released a game to the public yet, should be fun :)

#9 TehOwn   Members   -  Reputation: 134

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 03:38 AM

I think too many people put down their games and their ability.

If you take a look at Minecraft. That game has sold over 1.2 million copies and made atleast $10 million.

But, as it is written in Java and easily decompiled, I have seen the source code and it's mediocre at best. I know MANY developers who could have easily written Minecraft, over the course of a few weeks / couple months.

Make some friends who are programmers, designers, artists. Play and share. Share your games with the internet. Post them on Facebook. Get feedback!

Scribble down every single idea you have. I have about 5 pads of A4 with 400 pages each that are so full of ideas and notes that I don't even know where to find anything, haha.

Get involved in games, find small game programming competitions. Join groups, classes. Mix programming games with learning fundamentals.

Something that worked really great for me, was a few things:
1: Study other people's code. Help out with open-source projects.
2. Learn a fundamental programming concept and think, "What kind of game would this be useful for?". Make the game! Keep it simple, but it really helps you learn those things.
3. Take your harder game ideas and make them in a simple scratch language first. I wrote a REALLY simple Lua interpreter that interfaces with OpenGL and wrote several games, one per day.
(It's called prototyping and is a very important skill.)

Lastly, if you really lose motivation. PLAY SOME GAMES. Isn't that why you wanted to make some in the first place?

Edit: What is the obsession with Space Invader clones? Tetris followed by PacMan then Mario, all the way!

#10 EricTheRed   Members   -  Reputation: 146

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 07:32 AM

A 2d ray casting engine. I made it to test out the new technique I learned. Was pretty cool. But lost it in the hard drive crash of 2004. As with a lot of my stuff :(

Nothing kills a project like having to recode part of it. Make sure you back up your data. I use dropbox for my personal projects because it take essentially zero effort on my part after setup.

#11 slayemin   Members   -  Reputation: 2912

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 07:33 AM

I'm in the same boat. I've found INCREDIBLE solution(s) to this problem.

1. Do NOT end work on something that is halfway finished. When you're figuring out how to implement a system, the code and systems architecture is fresh in your mind. If you stop halfway, it's harder to dive back in and begin where you left off. This becomes a source of procrastination and can lead to project failure.

2. With #1 in mind, this means you NEED to take your project on in bite sized chunks! How long can you work for this day? Only take on what you can complete today!

3. Don't develop the next chunk in your main game project. Create a NEW project and develop the chunk in there. This does a few awesome things for you:
  • Your modules are very loosely coupled
  • Loosely coupled modules can easily be reused in any project
  • Coding and testing a module is fast and simple because there isn't irrelevant junk to interfere or distract you
  • You begin to see your architectural dependencies
  • Allows for rapid prototyping
  • Progress is fast and tangible which is more motivating.
4. If you absolutely have to break rule #2, then create a good stopping point and an easy entry point for yourself. Also, write yourself a note! Explain what you were trying to do, how you are thinking of solving the problem, and where you are at. If you comment your code well, it is much faster to begin where you left off.

5. Have long term plans. Why are you working on project XYZ? Are you trying to learn something new? Trying an experiment? Selling it to an audience? What are the criteria for project success? Reflect on how your day to day work brings you closer to accomplishing your long term goal. What progress have you made towards project success? If you have the perception of no progress, it's demotivating even if you actually made progress.
Example: I wrote an application to simulate gravitational effects in our solar system using newtonian physics. Everything was to scale and used real data. I abandoned the project after realizing just how freaking HUGE the universe really is. Even though I abandoned the project, it was a success because I learned a bit more about gravity and became completely puzzled as to how accretion disks actually form out of a particle cloud.

6. Sometimes when I'm coding up a solution, I realize that I need to solve something else first. (ie, a particle engine can't be implemented before you can render primitives or textures to the screen). Sometimes these tangential rabbit holes can go many layers down and you'll forget what you're trying to do and/or why you're trying to do it. Sometimes the problem you're trying to solve won't help you solve the bigger problem. Sometimes it doesn't even need to be solved. I like to keep Notepad++ open and write down a quick note on what I'm currently working on and why. When its done, I throw away my note. Anyways, the point is that its easy to get lost and the fastest problems to solve are the problems you don't have to solve.

7. Feature Creep can be a project killer. So can over-engineering a simple solution. Learn to recognize when you're doing this. Then stop it. Code for your current requirements, not possible future requirements (note that there's a fine line between rigidity and robustness here).

8. Pace yourself. Take breaks. Projects are a marathon, not a sprint. You don't want to burn yourself out by doing 16+ hours/day, 7 days/week and lasting for 2 weeks. It's a painfully excruciating pace. When you burn out, the marathon runner will pass you by because he's plodding along at a comfortably maintainable pace. He'll finish his project and yours will remain unfinished and useless. The initial passion you have for a project can be lengthened if you take it slower from the beginning instead of churning ahead at full steam, yielding longer levels of motivation and higher productivity.

9. Have fun. That's why we do this, right? Game development is the marriage of the right side of the brain with the left side. If the developer isn't having fun anymore, chances are that the game won't end up being much fun either (emotions are contagious & emotions are embedded into artforms).

If you manage yourself and your project right, it can be the most interesting thing you want to do from all the things there are to do (play games, watch videos, chat, browse web, etc). I hope this helps & good luck!

Eric Nevala

Indie Developer | Dev blog


#12 chaosavy   Members   -  Reputation: 143

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 10:32 AM

Here's my advice and here is what I do/did.

Your issue is common, you aren't alone, its tough. Its easy to give up, there is no accountability.

So how do I motivate myself:

dream big: go for dream projects, I'm so interested in this that I won't give up (making a 3D space sim)
I would give up long ago if I was making pong/tetris etc

tell that voice in your head to shut up, sure it may look like crap now, be buggy, the AI can be somewhat retarded, but maybe one day...

goal of making some cash: even though I realistically know it won't pay the bills, this is part of the motivation, making something that is good enough for people to buy. Plus its like the lottery ticket syndrome: for 1 buck you could win millions! Sure the odds are low, but that's why a dream is a dream. I could do this full time from home! I could retire! I could...

find some super enthrusiastic friends that will praise you no matter what. Yep this helps a lot, send them updates and get some praise, helps keep you going.

Listen its a constant struggle, for so are most things that are worthwhile, you decide whether you want to do this or not, and use whatever you can to motivate you if you decide to do so.
Visit http://www.VoidDestroyer.com to check out my space sim project - Void Destroyer




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