Purchased Bioshock today after confirming that it ran satisfactorily on my machine. I can run it with most of the goodies enabled, but only at 800x600. Certainly more than good enough. The game is gorgeous, and the atmosphere is absolutely stellar. I'm amazed at how much research and thought has gone into the levels, characters, environment, graphics and audio. Bioshock feels surreal. I've only managed to knock off two Big Daddies so far, but I'll take down more as I get a better grip on the physics/controls. }
The whole physics fiasco with Gloom really left a bad taste in my mouth. But more importantly, it made me realize how inexperienced I am with physics programming. To me, one of the most important factors in writing a game is ensuring that the game is at the right difficulty level for me. If it's too easy, I'll quickly get bored and can it. If it's too hard, I'll get stuck frequently during development and get too frustrated to work on it.
The other factor is choosing a genre/theme that interests me in a long-term manner. By this, I refer to that fleeting sensation that we game developers get after playing a really awesome game for a day or two, and become very motivated to write a game similar to this. This is a mistake! I cannot stress that enough. For those of you with a bit of memory, my last project attempt after I finished Membrane Massacre was called RavenKeep, a roguelike hack/slash. I had just finished playing Diablo for several days with Dean, and so my motivation for it was *flying*. Of course, motivation like that is entirely short-term, which results in the game crashing+burning as interest wanes. Gloom got its motivational-boost from Deus Ex and Neuromancer, which kept me going for a while. However, like RavenKeep, it's juice ran out too. The end result? No game project once again.
The most important things, one can then conclude, is that: a) the game idea is not too far above or below one's abilities as a developer; and b) the game's theme/genre must be one that the developer has had a long-term interest in, to ensure motivation does not dry up after a few weeks.
And that's where I stand. I feel really crummy at junking another potentially awesome project, but I'd much rather take on something like how I took on Membrane Massacre: by using a basis that I've always enjoyed (free-floating Asteroids controls and a destructible environment), and then giving it my own original direction to take it in. I didn't take any huge development risks either; I stuck to things that I knew (reasonably well) that I could implement. Same idea for my other completed games.
Thus, some serious pondering will take place, and I'll try and get some groundwork done before I go announcing what I'm working on. Clear skies ahead! [smile]
The entry at the new Dev-Journal location.