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Not motivated at all

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Finalspace

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It seems since the last months i have a deep motivation problem so i basically get nothing noticable done at all.

I work all day (+40 hours each week) and even when i have spare time - i just fool around doing nothing at all.

But when i have time and start to code i just compile the code a hundred times, and watch the results over and over again.

And then starting to see that my results are shit and i want to start from the very beginning, again and again.
Or i get distracted by starting another project...

-> Endless circulation of getting nothing done.

Since years its always the same :-(


Fortunatly at work i dont have this problems, writing code there just works and i mostly dont have to think at all, because its just stupid high level programming - relying on nothing else than 3rd party libraries nor learning or getting challenged at all.


I am frustrated right now...

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Maybe finish one project will give you some motivation.

 

Like do a really simple game ( the most simple you can ) and when it's finished publish it.

 

Then you'll get motivation to do something more complex.

 

I don't know if you published a game before, but i think this point of view can help.

 

Take care.

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Maybe finish one project will give you some motivation.

 

Like do a really simple game ( the most simple you can ) and when it's finished publish it.

 

Then you'll get motivation to do something more complex.

 

I don't know if you published a game before, but i think this point of view can help.

 

Take care.

 

I never finished a full game, but i made a ton of prototypes - some successful some not.

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Maybe thinking about to get feedback of your projects could be a motivation, even if they are prototype. Or finish a prototype to see how many players you can get.

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Goals and planning are really what keeps me going. I work full time as well, and the only thing that gets me to spend time on my game when I get home is already having a list of small tasks that I can work on and see progress.

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Finalspace, I really appreciate your post.  Endlessly compiling stuff just to watch what happens.  I spend way to much time doing that too.

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I work and study, is hard to find time. Archduke, i think the point to see progress is the issue that motivate all the developers.
Maybe the hard part is when there's not enough progress.

Talking about how to be motivated, everyone need to find something.

I have a poster of my favourite anime film, that reminds me how is a good finished product of entertainment.

When i feel down i look at it.

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I work and study, is hard to find time. Archduke, i think the point to see progress is the issue that motivate all the developers.
Maybe the hard part is when there's not enough progress.

Talking about how to be motivated, everyone need to find something.

I have a poster of my favourite anime film, that reminds me how is a good finished product of entertainment.

When i feel down i look at it.

 

How is that movie called?

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This may not be the advice you want to hear: Maybe you're not all that into game development right now? For me the interest waxes and wanes to be substituted for any number of other hobbies or endeavors. Even though I hardly ever finish any game project, it's still a gratifying activity as I do learn as much or more from my time playing at game development as I do in my day job writing apps that people actually use. 

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Do you have another hobby than coding?

I used to code 16 hours a day.. first at work then when I got home.. I ended up getting burned out.. Then I bought a sailboat that I am refurbishing.. after not coding for a while I started getting back the interest for it.. get a hobby before you get burned out for real.. :)

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Do you have another hobby than coding?
I used to code 16 hours a day.. first at work then when I got home.. I ended up getting burned out.. Then I bought a sailboat that I am refurbishing.. after not coding for a while I started getting back the interest for it.. get a hobby before you get burned out for real.. :)

 
Sure, i play with my children or watch anime or play games in the evenings.
So i have plenty things i can do when i dont feel like coding.
 

This may not be the advice you want to hear: Maybe you're not all that into game development right now? For me the interest waxes and wanes to be substituted for any number of other hobbies or endeavors. Even though I hardly ever finish any game project, it's still a gratifying activity as I do learn as much or more from my time playing at game development as I do in my day job writing apps that people actually use.


Sometimes, i think i am not fit to be a game developer at all and should rather create applications only,
but on the other side when i have a blast and see results very often i enjoy it very much.
Especially when i have done everything myself, without relying on third party libraries. Its a incredible good feeling.

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"work" and "my hobby game" are different things, at least that's my experience. I generally know how to do work after 2 days of figuring it out. Then it's understood, and it's just coding to the end, as fast as possible.

"my hobby game" is much bigger than anything in work, and more complicated. There is also a bigger drive to do it really good, since it's my program. Finally, there is a much less clear end-goal. It must become a game, but what does that mean exactly?

 

So while work is relatively easy, my hobby game is much more difficult. In time, you first spend a full day coding, and then try to make progress on this really big and complicated thing, mostly figuring out the next step. That is a big mental effort after 8 hours of intensive coding already.

Looking at it, I am not that surprised game programming doesn't quite work. I try to make it work by splitting mental effort from coding, so I can do thinking on the next steps eg in the weekend or any other longer period, and coding in the hours after work (which is mostly just spending time writing code-lines without major thinking). The current problem I am fighting is switch overhead. I find it difficult to remember what to do next after I sit down. I have to go back to what I did the last time, get the global idea again of where the code should end, and only then I can start writing code. My current approach is to leave "// XXX next step, code X functionality" comments just before I stop writing. It's not really working well, I am thinking about a different strategy here, but haven't found one yet.

Maybe I should start with setting out a concrete idea of "it must do X, for a very concrete value of X". That seems closer to work, where you can simply focus on getting X implemented, and that seems to work.

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biggest motivation kill for me is not knowing what to do next. so i do the same thing: compile same code 100th time, check same results again, see it is still not quite right, browse internet.. 

and my solution is to make a to do list. which itself is a task that takes a lot of time. if i have a to do list with concrete items in it, which could be completed in preferably 1 coding session, then I feel great and I do great... Otherwise, it is just more internet browsing, checking other peoples games' screen shots and pity myself :)

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Maybe you need to motivate yourself at home like you do at work.  Like write out a design document, set milestones, and have rewards/consequences for (not)meeting those goals.  For example, if you meet a major milestone, you buy yourself a new game.  If you miss 2 milestones in a row you have to abandon the project for 6 months (you got fired) and cant go near the computer at home at all for 4 weeks (job search).  Then you have to work exclusively on some other project, chosen at random (new job).

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I also used to lose motivation on previous projects. I am now woking on a solo project for almost two years and I did not run into this problem yet. After I read your post, I was thinking about why is that. There are two connected reasons: 1. Life expectancy of my code went rapidly up. I am using code that I wrote year ago and I often don't feel, that it needs rewrites or refactoring. So when I write new code, I make sure that the API is optimal to be sure, that the resulting code will be long lasting contribution to the project. 2. I percieve my project as a complex structure of relatively independent parts. There is lots of parts and system that I can work on. I can focus solely on art for few weeks and I know that it is worth it even if it was the only succesful part of my game. Because I could use that part in another, simpler game or I could publish it as standalone art.

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I work all day (+40 hours each week) and even when i have spare time - i just fool around doing nothing at all.

I don't think this is a problem. It's good for your brain to unwind after a workday/week, so that you avoid "hitting the wall". :)

 

But when i have time and start to code i just compile the code a hundred times, and watch the results over and over again.

And then starting to see that my results are shit and i want to start from the very beginning, again and again.
Or i get distracted by starting another project...

I think this is related to the goals you set up for yourself, as a hobby/sparetime developer. Either they are too big, too vague, or a combination of the two. In both cases you will eventually lose track and get discouraged/unmotivated. You should also be realistic about the time you have to spend. The 40h/week work does not compare with working an hour here and there in your sparetime, so you cannot expect the same progress on a hobby project.

I used to have the same problem with goals and motivation. I'm also working 40h/week, have a girlfriend and a dog. I have a lot of ideas popping up in my head all the time, usually related to games but also to other things. I know I will never have time to finish them all.. So how do I deal with it?

1) As soon as I get an idea, I write it down in an "idea list". I describe just enough about each idea just so that I remember what it was about (not more). I also like to write down the date when I first thought of the idea, but this is not really needed.

2) Before implementing ANY of the ideas, I always describe/answer these things: Vision (why am I doing this?), Method (how should I do it?), Expected result (what do I imagine the end result will look like?). I keep it very short - only one or two sentences to answer each question. If I'm not able to answer all three, I either postpone or discard the idea.

3) Once I have answered all three questions, I continue to break down the "Method" and "Expected result" into smaller pieces. I try to keep this breakdown very brief as well, i.e. don't spend time on describing the details. The breakdown becomes my "roadmap" for how to reach the vision (final goal). I only continue with implementation after I'm pleased with the breakdown. It doesn't have to be perfect the first time, but I try to make sure it is at least complete so that there are no "holes".

I have been trying this out for two of my ideas and it's been working very well. One of the projects have been going on (on-and-off, mostly off) for roughly 2 years now. I have managed to achieve many of the sub-goals I was going for, and it's very satisfying each time I do. It's almost like "gamification" of the work.

I usually go back every now and then to refine the vision/method/expected results and roadmap. If I haven't been working on the project for a long time, I especially like to go back and read the vision (the "why?") to remember what I was doing. This approach is probably not for everyone, but it has worked well for me. Give it a try if you like. :)

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First off, i want to thank you guys for all the comment, i really appreciate it! There was a few good tips i may try.

Also i think i nailed down my problems:

- I the past i never planned anything at all, so i never knew what i could do or what i can do next. Sure i had a todo list, but this was a simple todo list with vague descriptions nothing more > I should start planning things more and write down how something works, so i can look up after i forgot it which happens for me all the time - especially when there is math involved.

- Stopping coding for too long are really bad for my motivation > I should start finding additional fixed time frame i can work on my game regurlary

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Planning and goals helps. Also:

-I think it also helps to show people what you're working on--talk about the projects with others who are interested. It may vary by personality, but this can be a BIG help. 

-Setting realistic goals is important.

-By goals I don't mean time-based deadlines. Leave that crap for the day job and just focus on forward momentum.

-Another idea is to have both difficult and easy goals. Focus on the hard problems when starting or when more motivated, and put those on hold and switch to easier ones at other times. Keeping some forward momentum (even if small) should help.

-When you're stuck on a difficult goal, seek another perspective from people here. If you're procrastinating on something maybe it's not a lack of motivation, but an inability to "prime the pump" and get started on a solution. I'm experiencing this one myself right now. Ugh!

-Perfection is the enemy of the good (and the completed)! If it's working, but not quite perfect yet and you're reaching a burnout point, accept it as good enough for now and move on to something more interesting! You can always come back to it later and refactor and improve. Besides, you never know when work at a later stage might impact something you just perfected earlier, negating all that effort you spent making it perfect. Not saying to throw things together like crap, but it's similar to premature work on optimization. It's not generally productive to polish and fine tune things until your overall product is feature complete.

I experience some of the same problems, although in my case it's even more silly - I have a tendency to waste time "playing around" with and watching what I've built so far. Physics engines are entertaining things. Still haven't figured out a solution to that one yet. ^_^

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Games are useless and fun. If you're not finding it rewarding find something that is useful for everybody. Or else don't try so hard and make crap but interesting ones that test out new concepts. Games may be just a way to develop the skills and knowledge and insight to make new discoveries and innovations and the ability to make useful things. Also writing clear clean code and being able to work through problems and develop complex things and efficiently. Also helps with imagination and general problem solving skills.

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