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Making games is no fun for me?

Finalspace

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First of all this will be a weird post, but i have something to tell you guys which i have in my mind since a long time.

Since forever i am trying to make games, but for some reason i never finish a single one. Sure i get some raw prototypes done, but then i fully lose all my motivations and never touch it again - which really depresses me a lot.

To give some example, this community have recently started a "Challenges" system, where you can enter some challenge writing some simple games with a fixed set of rules in place - which is very great for learning. So i tried to challenge myself for the october and the november challenge and at the beginning i was very motivated and written a platformer from scratch in no time, but after i got everything working except for enemies i simply lost my motivation again. For the pong challenge its the same deal - i got collisions working and started to put in some CPU movement code and then i lost it again. Why is that? Am i so bad at making games? Why do i lose my motivation all the time, even though i am making steady progress? I dont understand.

The best progress i had so far, was my "Leverman" UE4 project where i finished my first MVP - which was fully playable, but even for this project i have no motivation anymore, because it needs a full remake due to the fact that i made a mistake in the 2D Pixel to UE Units scale and i lost pretty much all the progress i made after my MVP.

 

On the other side, i am making tools, applications, libraries all over the place and never have this kind of motivation problems there, especially at work where i write desktop and server applications. For example, i have written a media player called Xenorate from 1999 until 2011 and i mostly never had any motivation problems there.

 

So it seems that normal application development is more suited for me, isnt it?

 

But really i want to make games, not for making money or getting hired. I just want to proove myself that i can do it or something.



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Hm, there is a blurry line somewhere between keep-on-trying and acknowledgement of the wrong goals. maybe you're asking yourself the wrong question - why do you feel you have to prove that to yourself? if that has going on for a longer time, all you prove is that you can torture yourself over something without any tangible benefits to yourself (or to those around you).

If it's not for money, you do not need to finish anything, you do not need to do it all. Certainly not if it doesn't make your life better in any way.

Take a break, maybe play some games instead. If the passion comes back, so be it, if not - f* it.

Edited by ninnghazad

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Hi Finalspace!

This is a really difficult question to answer, but I have a recent story to tell which may help you (about a similar situation). I have a friend who wanted to work in games for a really long while now. He works as a software engineer so he always had a good basis to easily enter the game industry. He also lives kind-of nearby two small but interesting studios. Once, he tried to apply to one of them. The studio turned him down, saying, that he does not have much game programing related experience. They told him, to finish a small project just to be more fluent in the topic and re-apply. He was one part sad, but one part happy, because he saw a concrete goal. His "dream job" was in actual reach, he told me. At this point I stepped in and tried helping him out with my experiences on how to go about finishing a project, giving him some advice and tips how to approach it, asking about his project every few days and trying to motivate him, stuff like that. By actually trying to finish a game from start to finish he realized he is not that interested in the topic. By going through all the parts of a game (or a software), he soon realized, that actually making or finishing something does not motivate him at all. He "just" likes programming and working on interesting problems. And from that point of view whether it is a game or any other software on which he works on does not make that big of a difference...

I think this is cool. I mean some likes to work on games and some people actually like the technical/engineering challenge and not the actual end product or what it will be / how it is used by customers. My friend who I talked about never finished this tiny prototype program (it was indeed tiny, not much more complex than a pong game only a week or two full-time work maximum) and stopped looking for game programmer jobs. He learned something about game development (he probably romanticized it in his head before) and he learned something about himself. That is why I think this was a cool experience / experiment.

By this I'm NOT suggesting you to stop working on games, hell no. I'm just saying, that maybe you are a guy who thinks, that he wants to make games, but in reality you are not. You may still work on game engines or game middleware, tools etc... because you enjoy the technical challenges especially the requirements provided by games, but you may not be really interested in making a game. There is a huge difference in making an engine and making a game and I'm not talking about the "you should make games" advice, but about the difference in the daily work that goes into making a game and making an engine/middleware.

I suggest you think about this. I don't think motivation is something you "fight for". I think it is something you either have towards achieving a goal or you don't. I guess you could force yourself or artificially "create" motivation (e.g.: deposit some money somewhere which you can only access if you reach your end goal :D:P ... could work! ), if you really want to prove yourself, that you can do it, but than what  :| ? I don't know if it would work out well or if it would make you happy.

Just my 2 cents...

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I agree with the first two speakers. In addition, I think it's just a question about both motivation in general and procrastination. You can't certainly say for yourself If you like making finished games as long as you haven't done several games.

May be, it will be attractive for you but some aspects of finishing a game scare you even If you don't realize it. You can use a method of 25-minutes focused work, then an award for you, 25 minutes again, etc.
The second way is to hire a mentor. Pay him a big amount of money in order to be controlled by him. He will give you advices and critisize for mistakes. For example, a month's salary fee would be good motivation. You have already payed - why not to finish this fu**ing game?!
Edited by Marro de Hotland

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On 1.12.2017 at 2:02 PM, Spidi said:

Hi Finalspace!

This is a really difficult question to answer, but I have a recent story to tell which may help you (about a similar situation). I have a friend who wanted to work in games for a really long while now. He works as a software engineer so he always had a good basis to easily enter the game industry. He also lives kind-of nearby two small but interesting studios. Once, he tried to apply to one of them. The studio turned him down, saying, that he does not have much game programing related experience. They told him, to finish a small project just to be more fluent in the topic and re-apply. He was one part sad, but one part happy, because he saw a concrete goal. His "dream job" was in actual reach, he told me. At this point I stepped in and tried helping him out with my experiences on how to go about finishing a project, giving him some advice and tips how to approach it, asking about his project every few days and trying to motivate him, stuff like that. By actually trying to finish a game from start to finish he realized he is not that interested in the topic. By going through all the parts of a game (or a software), he soon realized, that actually making or finishing something does not motivate him at all. He "just" likes programming and working on interesting problems. And from that point of view whether it is a game or any other software on which he works on does not make that big of a difference...

I think this is cool. I mean some likes to work on games and some people actually like the technical/engineering challenge and not the actual end product or what it will be / how it is used by customers. My friend who I talked about never finished this tiny prototype program (it was indeed tiny, not much more complex than a pong game only a week or two full-time work maximum) and stopped looking for game programmer jobs. He learned something about game development (he probably romanticized it in his head before) and he learned something about himself. That is why I think this was a cool experience / experiment.

By this I'm NOT suggesting you to stop working on games, hell no. I'm just saying, that maybe you are a guy who thinks, that he wants to make games, but in reality you are not. You may still work on game engines or game middleware, tools etc... because you enjoy the technical challenges especially the requirements provided by games, but you may not be really interested in making a game. There is a huge difference in making an engine and making a game and I'm not talking about the "you should make games" advice, but about the difference in the daily work that goes into making a game and making an engine/middleware.

I suggest you think about this. I don't think motivation is something you "fight for". I think it is something you either have towards achieving a goal or you don't. I guess you could force yourself or artificially "create" motivation (e.g.: deposit some money somewhere which you can only access if you reach your end goal :D:P ... could work! ), if you really want to prove yourself, that you can do it, but than what  :| ? I don't know if it would work out well or if it would make you happy.

Just my 2 cents...

Thats a very interesting story, thanks for sharing!

It seems since the very beginning, i enjoy the technology side of things much more than actually writing games.
But it still depresses me - because i have made so much progress in my prototypes and it is not that much left to actually finish one.

Regarding motivation, thinking many years back - i actually had someone who pushed me in various directions, making me actually finish my stuff. Without him i never would have finished any project at all or would still be lost in the dark.

I owe him a lot!

Unfortunatly we dont see each other very often anymore, due to the fact that we both work fulltime, have both family and in addition he is not interested in making any private projects at all.
But i should contact him much more often, there is no excuse why i dont. We both are still good friends and we dont live that far away.

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Hi there,

great post and great replies. I like to add my own experience. I tried to develop games for almost seven years and always got stuck and stopped the gamedev journey. 

     I read a lot of psychological books. And one day I saw myself in the descriptions of a "detached person" as Karen Horney (Psychologist) says in her book. 

    It hit me in the face. I was totally averse to the effort. So I said to me: well, I have to do more, try harder and do not lean back ever again.

    Then I started Unity courses again. This time with a different approach in mind: only real effort can make a difference. I have to work hard.

    Four months later, 8 hours a day learning and testing Unity and now I have my first game delivered. I know I have to do better. But I know too that if I didn't read that book I would have tried and given up once more.

     My advice:  struggle and finish one game (a simple one even), publish it, put it on social media, get feedback. Only then you will be able to understand the full circle of game development.

     Here is a link to Karen Horney's theory. The book:  'Neurosis and Human Growth' by Karen Horney.

     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Horney#Three_categories_of_needs 

Other topics:

     There is a wrong assumption of yours that a friend can make you complete projects. That can lead to a big mistake in life. You can not depend on others to give you a boost. Sometimes it is ok. But you can not assume it as a rule. 

      

 Keep on going, man. 

 

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It is very famously easy to start working on a game and very hard to actually finish a game.  In the hobbyist game industry we had the saying "you won't be there when the player opens the box".  This was meant to remind you just how complete the game needed to be in the end, the players need to be able to figure out how to play it without you being there to answer their questions.  This is a lot more work than you think it is going into it, when you think you are close to being finished you are probably only about half way there.

You might just be encountering this barrier that all new game designers face, the realization of how complete it all needs to be in the end.  The first half of coming up with a game is the fun part, just coming up with ideas and making characters, weapons, vehicles, etc.  The second half, making that all work together in a good way, is where it starts to become work and the fun goes away.  Also, it's easy to keep coming up with a lot of cool stuff and then never bothering to make it actually work together as a game.  

Anyone who plays games can do the first part, only people who were meant to make games ever make it through the second part.  It's easy to come up with characters and weapons and stuff, making it all work together as a fun game that people want to play is where you find out if this is something that you can actually do or not. 

So you are right realizing that you've never actually made a game until you've finished one to the point that you don't need to be there when the player opens the box for them to be able to play it.  I'm not trying to discourage you, this was all just a very well known phenomena in the hobbyist game business.

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