I haven't seen that much activity around 4E5 lately. I'm hoping it's because everyone is busy working on their games, not they've pulled out of the competion (like I have, sadly).
I was going to post a long journal entry regarding my thoughts of how I could overcome my tendency for projects to get unstuck, but to be honest I'm not sure I can express those thoughts down in a logical chain. So I might ramble on a bit and not come to a specific conclusion. But I've put some thought into where I've been going wrong and what I can do to correct that.
The first question I had to ask myself is; why am I making games? Yes, they can be fun to make. And yes, they're also challenging (which is appealling in a way). But on their own that's not strong enough; there's plenty of other things that are fun and challenging.
For me though, I think I want to make games purely because that's what I've always wanted to do. I remember making my own games of all types when I was a kid, and while that spirit dwindled as I've got older it never really died. There's something about games of all sorts; not just computer games but board games, card games, sports etc.; that fascinates me. And deep down I think I just want to make games because that's just what I've got to do.
Where I think where I'm going wrong is there's a large part of me that wants to do something grand; something that will make my game stand out above all the rest. It's the same part of me that's forces me to try and consider overly elegant software architecture schemes and is never happy with my artwork. It also looks at all the amazing projects you fellow GameDevers are working on and sets a very high standard as one to aim for.
In one sense that feeling useful in that it can push you to ensure that everything is as perfect as you can make it. However it also leads to despondency when you don't at present have the skills to match the ambition. It also leads to paralysation in projects when you are too worried about making mistakes to create anything.
So I'm trying to work with the mindset that it doesn't really matter if everything isn't just right as long as the project is going roughly in the right direction. While it's not the snappiest of philosophies, so far it's working not too bad. I'm finding I'm still putting in enough effort to ensure the code is reasonably written, it's just I don't get hung up about whether I'm approaching things the right way. Maybe I'll have to rewrite things in the future, but that's all part of the learning experience.
One of the other things I'm trying out is to work on several projects simultaneously. The idea is when I get frustrated in one project I can switch to the other for a while until my head clears enough to rationally tackle the problem.
Given I need to work on music composition, I've decided to use that as my break from programming for Ice Slider. Ice Slider itself isn't quite formulised enough for me to work on music for that, so I'm helping out Stompy by working on some tunes for Blocky Man (check Stompy's journal for the game details). Hopefully I can get the music for Level 1 done by the end of the weekend. I've got a rough draft of the first 8 bars down, so I'll just need to rework that and add a bit more into a slightly longer scrolling loop.
I'm also hopeful that I can get the graphics subsystem of the "Penguin Engine" for Ice Slider done on the weekend. Once that's done I can phase in art asset creation as another task to do, and hopefully it can also act as anothing interesting diversion when I get stuck on programming issues.