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Staying motivated.


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#1 Dennisvb   Members   -  Reputation: 160

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 01:38 PM

I really want to be good at game programming, but I keep getting distracted. Any tips?

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#2 Vincent_M   Members   -  Reputation: 748

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 03:58 PM

Set a small goal, or have one set it for you. How much programming experience do you have?

 

Have you played any text-based games before (I count Pokemon).

 

EDIT: And by small goal, I mean something to design within an afternoon or something.


Edited by Vincent_M, 05 March 2013 - 03:59 PM.


#3 Steve_Segreto   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1551

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 04:04 PM

Can you give us more information about what is going on in your life that is distracting you?



#4 ultramailman   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1587

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 04:59 PM

When I get distracted, I take a break from programming for a month or two. Then I get back to programming, and I am motivated again. It's like playing a good video game: after so many playthroughs, I will get bored of it. If I stop playing that game for a while, then play it again after few monthes or few years, it is fun again.



#5 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3167

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 06:16 PM

Desire to do something, including programming, may or may not be related to having fun with it.  Unfortunately, as studies have shown, people have been increasingly judging the worth of things more by how much fun it is rather than other very important desirables.

 

  Desire can be based on one or more aspects of satisfaction. I recommend changing your thoughts to value more the other things about programming besides the possibility of it being fun.  You can enjoy it for other reasons.

 

Staying with something requires both the intensity of desire and the quality of the desire to do it.  Being based only on fun is like the value of sugar which energizes people for a little while and then they crash.  

 

There are many other values to programming which you need to realize and/or increase in your thoughts about it in order to have sustained motivation. 


Personal life and your private thoughts always effect your career. Research is the intellectual backbone of game development and the first order. Version Control is crucial for full management of applications and software.  The better the workflow pipeline, then the greater the potential output for a quality game.  Completing projects is the last but finest order.

 

by Clinton, 3Ddreamer


#6 ZeroBeat   Members   -  Reputation: 522

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 11:12 AM

I agree with 3Ddreamer.  Something else which needs to be considered is this:

 

Intially I think programming can be a bit overwhelming. I also took breaks from time to time.

I guess there is this gap that needs to be 'jumped' through by sheer determination. In some languages this game is a bit larger than in other I guess.

 

Disapline, value of programming (to the programer) and probably many other important things are learned during that 'jump'.

Rather than going for a sprint, why not try to program or do something small for 30min to 1hour everyday. Keeping things simple and small.

Then slowly try to build progressively more complex programs. This way hopefully you will build a small re-usable code base to take care of the basic things (eg window creation ) so that you can concentrate on the more important part.

 

Read this thread too for ideas about keeping the motivation going: http://www.gamedev.net/topic/639171-need-some-motivation

 

Balance is important. Like playing a game 24/7, it does not lead to good things in the long run.



#7 MiniKong   Members   -  Reputation: 175

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 01:21 PM

i have this same problem. now when i want to make a game but dont fell like programming of feel overwhelmed ill play around with gamemaker for a second kinda like sketching out my game idea. also iv set up a goal to do the upcoming ludam dare jam. im a beginner in game dev though so my goal is  learn the basics and attempt to take what iv learned and make a very(very)simple game. 



#8 CC Ricers   Members   -  Reputation: 802

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 03:51 PM

Game jams are good and from what I've found out, it's not a hard requirement to make a very good game for one. It's more about the journey than the end goal. The point of those is to have fun, and as a bonus you might get a prototype of something interesting that you want to build more on later.


My development blog: Electronic Meteor

#9 AniMerrill   Members   -  Reputation: 203

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 07:42 PM

@ZeroBeat:

Omg, that's something everyone should hear.

 

@OP:

I know that feel bro. I kinda think I just came through that phase too, like the video was talking about, and I think the gap between doing nothing and doing what you love when it comes to programming is an especially big one compared to other things you might do, like drawing for instance. There was a point when I could draw comics and cartoons and awesome stuff all day when I was in school, but when I applied that fervor to programming... it doesn't really work. It's just too abstract at first and its really hard to connect what you want to do with what you actually know what to do. I've been trying to program a game for two years at least at this point- not developing, not designing... just trying to get the fucking game started. I've tried at least 10 different game engines with at least 20 different languages for code or script and nothing worked.

 

But, suddenly, after that whole time I came back to basics. Right now I'm programming from scratch in C++ with Allegro as a backbone for graphics and such. Two months in, two months from abandoning a really good engine I couldn't even wrap my head around, I'm the farthest I've ever made on the project just working with bare bones.

 

My advice to you:

  • Learn, and be passionate about learning. If game design is what you really want to do, then you have to think like a game designer and if you want to do that you're gonna need to take a few pointers from the people who came before you. If something doesn't work for you, learn a new language. Learn a new engine. Nothing is the wrong answer to your needs as a programmer, but first you have to fill your mind with the basics that go into game design. That's the only way you're going to be able to transfer all those abstract ideas into an actual game is by making them your second nature.
  • Carry a notebook with you. No seriously. All the time, everywhere. Make sure at most it's a run to your car to get your notebook. Life is demanding, and you can't always be at a computer. Its not healthy to always be at a computer. But make sure you have a way of writing down ideas you have as soon as they come to you. I have a notebook filled up with personal monologues about the theories behind my game's design, why I chose certain features, the backbones, the structures, the thing my artist needs to do his job. Writing it down will not only help you remember, but it will also give you a better method of processing your ideas instead of just thinking of it once, and trying to program later.
  • Find someone to share it with. A lot of people will discourage working on a team with somebody for your first project, as there's too many unrealistic expectations. I can say this from experience, even though I HAVE worked on a team... probably because I was the one with unrealistic expectations at first. But my artist and I could only probably do this game (and stay motivated for so long) because we're constantly trying to talk about it. For the last half of a year we've been making Skype meetings every week just to show each other a picture or a line of code or talk about the story or thoughts for a feature. If you don't want to work with someone, then just find a friend who you can talk to about your ideas and maybe let them playtest when you actually have a functioning game, show them the newest features and mechanics you come up with. Because although working on a team for your first project might be a mistake, its not healthy to have NO input whatsoever.

That's my two cents, hope it helps.


AniMerrill, a.k.a. Ethan Merrill


#10 Tim Cooper   Members   -  Reputation: 359

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 05:17 AM

Quick tip - Turn off the distractions and work for at least 30 minutes without them, and keep working after 30 minutes until you really, truly need a break. Repeat.

 

You've decided that you want to do something in your life, but your not progressing as fast as you'd like. If you find yourself being distracted easily then ask yourself the following: Is this something I really want to do?

If the answer is no then you need a new goal. If the answer is yes, then you have some self development to do smile.png

 

Generally, if you want to achieve anything in life you need some of the following skills. Fortunately, if you're not too good at any of them then you can practice and improve.

- Self discipline - There's a lot of definitions out there so take your pick. The one I like is: "The ability to make yourself do what you know you should do, when you need to do it, whether you feel like it or not."

- Perseverance - The ability to keep working at something until it's finished. If you want to avoid half finished projects and unfulfilled dreams, practice this.

- Hard work - Ever heard of the 10,000 hour principle? The people who are truly great, and masters at what they do, have spent over 10,000 hours developing their skills. There will certainly be exceptions, but it basically means if you want to be good at something you need to put in the time and the hard work. Get good at (and enjoy) doing this and you can pretty much achieve anything in life.

- Set goals - Know what it is your trying to achieve. "I want to get rich" isn't a goal, that's a dream. "I want to write and release my first game <game codename> on the <platform> by July" is a goal. Nailing down what you want to achieve helps you focus on what you need to do and build passion around your projects. Sure, you won't achieve all your goals (who does?), but you'll be better for setting and regularly reviewing them.

- ... Ok, I forget the rest. These are the most important ones to start with so lets just focus on these.

 

If you want to be good at games development then you're going to have to put in the time. If distractions are your problem then you need to remove them until you've built the habits of self discipline and hard work to the point where you're not easily distracted. Basically if it pings, buzzes or talks at you then turn it off. Tell your parents / partner your going to be working for an hour and not to distract you. Stick some music on (if you like), set a timer, and get to work. Once you've done your time, go nuts and check you email, social media stuff, look at cats, whatever. Just remember to set another timer for, say, 10 minutes. After that, get back to work for another block smile.png

 

Practice doing this several times a week (every day if possible), every time you need to get something done (homework, writing CVs, programming, educational reading, etc). While this might sound boring there is another way to look at it. Say you have homework to do. You can spend 2 hours working at it, checking email, chatting with friends and feeling like you're wasting your time and would rather be doing something else. Or... you can get it out of the way with one solid 30 minute block of work and spend the rest of the evening happily doing something else.

 

A final tip is constructive procrastination. If you don't feel like doing programming then distract yourself by reading a book about it instead, or by looking up programming stuff on the internet, or researching games and game theory, or try out a game that has a feature you're trying to reproduce in your project. Sure you're not working on programming as such, but you will be feeding your head with ideas to try out next time you want to do some work.

 

Right, that's enough waffle from me, hope some of it helps. I should really get back to work (doh!) ;)


Edited by Tim Cooper, 07 March 2013 - 08:50 AM.

Tim Cooper - software developer, project manager and aspiring iPhone app developer.
 

Creative Shadows Ltd - My company website

 

iTunes Link - Doodlemate - Create animated gif's from your iPhone.

iTunes Link - Aeolus / Aeolus Lite - Land balloons in a simple, fun and slightly addictive game.


#11 lion123   Members   -  Reputation: 111

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 10:51 AM

   When you start a new game, the first thing you usually do is thinking a lot about whole game's organization, write a lot of code, but it doesn't give any visible results. You can't play your game yet, all you have is just lines of code. And this is what usually demotivates me.

   I like to think about my projects for several days WITHOUT any coding, keeping an idea in my mind while doing some regular stuff. And then, after a few days, when I'm in a right mood, do "excessive programming" for a couple of hours (or more).



#12 Dennisvb   Members   -  Reputation: 160

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 01:15 PM

Thanks everybody! All your comments will help me for sure! I have no time to respond to all of you now, because I have no time at the moment. Just wanted to let you know I read all your comments!

#13 Cthuga   Members   -  Reputation: 132

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 12:50 AM

When I have a lot of energy and passion because of learning, programming and creating my own projects - I can spend many many hours each day. Unfortunately we are only humans, and the day, when our body would say "I need a break" and "I don't want to do it, please, do something else" would come. It is signal which we can't ignore - it says, that something is terribly wrong.

 

I believe that our motivation is resultant of our healthy lifestyle, clear vision of our targets, making small ( remember SMALL, but well-judged ) steps every day. There is one more in our passion - the most difficult to accomplish: look out for overwhelming problems. However there is a lot of unpleasure stuff we have to learn/make. I believe that key to success is good plan for those steps - split it to small problems, and for each give You some time and space.

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Geek Message Blog

The steps I take to make a dream come true:

 

http://geekmessage.wordpress.com


Edited by Cthuga, 08 March 2013 - 01:00 AM.


#14 TheSasquatch   Members   -  Reputation: 452

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 01:07 AM

Carry a notebook with you. No seriously. All the time, everywhere. Make sure at most it's a run to your car to get your notebook. Life is demanding, and you can't always be at a computer. Its not healthy to always be at a computer. But make sure you have a way of writing down ideas you have as soon as they come to you. I have a notebook filled up with personal monologues about the theories behind my game's design, why I chose certain features, the backbones, the structures, the thing my artist needs to do his job. Writing it down will not only help you remember, but it will also give you a better method of processing your ideas instead of just thinking of it once, and trying to program later.

 

That's a good tip. I started carrying a pocket-sized sketchbook with me a few months back, initially with the intent of practicing drawing to avoid losing the skills I picked up in architecture school. I ended up mostly just writing in it as you described (there's an illustration page here and there, too). It increased my productivity greatly; I remember my ideas more easily if I write them down, and if I don't remember, I can just read them again. I tend to adhere to goals I set for myself better if I write them down, too.

 

Anyway, thanks for posting this topic, as I'm currently experiencing a total loss of motivation myself and finding these answers useful. Got my XNA-based 2D tile platformer's collision detection working, it's loading and displaying levels correctly, and now I guess I'm bored with it; no desire to work on it at all. I think I'll take a break from this project and read Frank Luna's 3D Game Programming with DirectX11 and Ian Millington's Game Physics Engine Development, which have been sitting on my desk for weeks, taunting me with their fancy math and much-coveted third dimension. There's also the matter of coming up with assets for the 2D game. By the time I'm done with all that, hopefully my interest will have... recharged.



#15 AniMerrill   Members   -  Reputation: 203

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 11:13 AM

I think I'll take a break from this project and read Frank Luna's 3D Game Programming with DirectX11 and Ian Millington's Game Physics Engine Development, which have been sitting on my desk for weeks, taunting me with their fancy math and much-coveted third dimension.

 

Actually on my journey getting to this point, me and my artist were contemplating using the Unreal Engine... actually that was the last one we tried before, after getting fed up with their scripting system, we were just like "Fuck it. I'll make my own 2d engine. With Blackjack and hookers." I was actually surprised when I was planning things for my 2d game I had actually learned a whole lot from a 3d engine, not just 3d concepts but general game design concepts, that have now influenced a lot of the current designs of my project. Not to mention, it kind of helped me imagine what the "pseudo-third dimension" would look like in 3d space if the character could traverse objects drawn at different levels of the screen.

 

Good luck man, hope you get your motivation back soon.


AniMerrill, a.k.a. Ethan Merrill





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