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Trying to keep things churning...

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Trapper Zoid


I never got around to doing a proper weekly report this Monday with that long post on SVG, so I'll give a quick update now on the state of my present project now in the coding stage, "Project Penguin".

If I were an optimist, I would say the progress is going "slow and steady". However, since I find pessimism to be a more accurate reflection of reality, I would expand that to "way too slowly and steadily heading towards fatally stalling."

While I had several days of good solid work, the last few days have been terrible. This is mostly due to my low alterness and energy levels translating to an inabilitiy to concentrate on coding when the day rolls around to the time when I crack open Code::Blocks for more engine writing. I expect this is just a phase and with a bit of effort I will overcome it, but it's annoying me right now. I spend hours quibbling over stupid little details like what would be the best class and function names in the interfaces.

Judging from my previous failed projects this year, this is the time when I have to ensure that I don't get distracted. For some reason when I am tired and have troubles with the start of coding a project my brain starts churning through game concepts. It is as if my subconscious is trying to get me to drop the project by tempting me with fascinating game ideas. Previously I have gotten caught up in this and switched projects, only to switch projects again a couple of weeks later, but this time round I now see this as a problem.

So when I'm too exhausted to get any proper coding or art done but I still feel I need to work on my project, I have been writing down these game ideas along with all my other previous concepts that I still fancy into a large collection of game concepts for safe keeping and organisation. Nothing too fancy: just a project code name, short paragraph descripition, brief list of features and technical requirements and a highly inaccurate guage of how long I think the project would take. While this is still procrasitinating from doing the hard work of engine design, at least this is more useful than just idly browsing the internet. My hope is that after I finish my present project I can take these ideas, organise some of them into a logical ordering of complexity, and then easily figure out what would be best for my next big game; thus saving me weeks of wondering what to do next.

The other interesting thing about writing this list is that shows how damn easy (and lazy) the "dreaming up a game concept" stage is. I keep seeing game designer wanabees in the forums thinking the game concept is some significant fraction of the work, but given I can churn out a dozen or two game ideas in a few hours when I'm feeling too stupid to do any real work (and given the awesome skills I've seen in other people here at GameDev I doubt I'm alone in this) shows how little each individual idea is worth on its own.

But I really need to make more headway on the engine writeup, given that this was a core thing I want to learn how to do. To brainstorm in text: I'll start forcing myself to work harder on getting each component up and working even if that means hacking together a few shortcuts. Then once all the core classes are down I can run a few simple tests, clean up the class interfaces if need be and make sure things a solid. Then I can start work on things that can actually be shown in screenshots.

20,000 View Milestone!
Forgot to add: Sometime in the last few days this journal hit 20,000 views. I'm willing to bet that a full half of those were from me checking for comments.
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Aye, keeping on track and focused to completion on a project is one the hardest things to do

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Sir Sapo and I are currently dealing with a guy in our class who fancies himself an idea-man, and who constantly critiques Angels 22 in ways that make it obvious he has no idea what he's talking about(like "why'd [Sir Sapo] put that bug in there?").

And comments are very, very addictive, I know. [grin]

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