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makuto

So I have the skill and the ideas, what next?

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I've been programming for three years now and am confident in my abilities to make two dimensional games. I also have lots of ideas for games that I want to develop.

 

The main problem I'm having is what to do next. I usually come up with an idea, mull it over for a few days, write it down, get excited about it, then get discouraged about the idea, my life, and various other things and abandon the idea. Remember that technology isn't the problem here.

 

What do you do once you have an idea you'd potentially like to explore, especially in a timely manner?

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I had this problem as a young writer. I would sit down and start writing a story and it would go well until a certain point, then I would stop and look at it and say to myself, "This is trash. Nobody will want to read this." When my friends would pester me to show my writing they would always act amazed and impressed, but I was certain they were just trying to encourage me and that my writing was really quite poor.

 

Then one day I went to college and signed up for the creative writing course (don't waste your money) because I wanted an easy credit that wouldn't interfere with my physics and calculus homework. Much to my amazement, the teacher and the other students thought I was an astounding writer and the criticism I was afraid they would give me ("This is bad," etc) actually turned out to be very positive ("This is great! What if you did such-and-such as well?").

 

Turns out that most authors and writers have this kind of feeling, and I see no reason why it wouldn't apply to other varieties of artist and content-creator as well. Most of us think that our own ideas stink.

 

That being said, I'm still not a professional writer. In the end the problem turned out to be the fact that I'm lazy. I don't want to sit down and take the time to do the work of drafting and reviews, etc, etc. I can write well, and I can shoot out a short story pretty quick, but after that I just lose interest. When I noticed that same thing starting to happen with my coding I decided not to allow it. It was actually a lot easier than I thought to change that habit. (For programming at least; I still refuse to redraft my stories.)

 

When it's time for me to code, I look at the project, see what I need to do. Sometimes I get that feeling that I don't want to go forward. The blank editor window is staring at me with that mocking expression, but I just flip it off and start putting down code. After a minute or so I'm right back in the swing of things and I can code for hours on end with no problems.

 

So...

 

tl;dr - just do it

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I have similar problems, and I think it's good to make sure you don't get to yourself too much.  It's like others say: you just have to do it, and push away certain feelings that you're doing it wrong, you don't know what you're doing, you'll never make it, etc.

 

I also won NaNoWriMo like Dinner mentioned (and I have to brag about it!), and it felt good (at times; sometimes it was exhausting, but worth it) to just push away "the censor" that tries to get you to do everything perfectly on the first try.  If you succumb to "the censor" then you'll probably end up crippling your progress.  Sometimes, you've just gotta do it and leave the polishing touches for later, or never if they're not really that necessary in the first place.

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I've been programming for three years now and am confident in my abilities to make two dimensional games. I also have lots of ideas for games that I want to develop.

 

The main problem I'm having is what to do next. I usually come up with an idea, mull it over for a few days, write it down, get excited about it, then get discouraged about the idea, my life, and various other things and abandon the idea. Remember that technology isn't the problem here.

 

What do you do once you have an idea you'd potentially like to explore, especially in a timely manner?

 

Well what do you want me to tell you? The obvious answer is to do it, but it seems like you're looking for something else. When you say things like "I get discouraged about the idea, my life, and various other things," it just sounds like you're depressed, not confused about what to do next. The underlying question is "I can't get motivated to actually program; what do I do?" And the answer is I dunno. Depends the type of person you are.

 

Before programming, I wanted to be an author. I wrote from childhood to my freshman year of college. Then I started to feel the way you do now. For me personally, it meant that I didn't really want to write. I had ideas, but I had no drive. It wasn't me, it was what I was trying to do. I'd just gotten over it at some point, and that was it. Then I found programming and was all of a sudden a totally different person. People said it was like I hit my head and forgot the unenthusiastic, mellow person I used to be. So maybe you're just kinda done with programming?

 

Then again, in programming, I've come against that wall at least once, that I can remember. I just pushed through it, got a project done, and ended up ten times better for having done it, and much more confident. I guess try this method first, and then if you just can't do it, maybe you don't wanna program? My only other advice is to try to limit yourself to only projects that are extremely exciting to you. They make you wanna wake up early and go to bed late, if at all. They make you go 12 hours straight without realizing you should maybe eat and, I dunno, stand up. Those are the projects you'll work on and finish. If it doesn't make you unreasonably excited, then you probably shouldn't waste your time. At some point you'll either give up, or be so bored you have to force yourself to finish.

 

Good luck.

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You're thinking too much. Just do it.

That's all, just do it - do it so you can do it better next time, do it so you can learn, do it for YOURSELF and so you don't become another "would be" game developer.

 

I suppose I do have the tendency to overthink things.

 

 

Another thing that helps me is to give myself certain features to implement in a certain time frame This may not be the best for everybody because it may take some of the fun away. For me, it keeps me on track and focused. When I get something completed I reward myself to keep myself inspired. If I get frustrated, then I take a break and reward myself for trying so I don't get discouraged.

 

I just realized that the only work I've done that ended up being really good was when I did game jams that gave strict deadlines. If I started setting my own deadlines like game jams do that might help the problem.

 

 

You need yourself smile.png

 

That's cryptic...

 

 

similar feelings so I'm trying for next year to do this challenge http://onegameamonth.com/ just a single month to do an idea from start to finish, so don't have time to dither about it and get discouraged.

 

I think I'll join you on this. It sounds like a good idea.

 

 

just push away "the censor" that tries to get you to do everything perfectly on the first try. If you succumb to "the censor" then you'll probably end up crippling your progress. Sometimes, you've just gotta do it and leave the polishing touches for later, or never if they're not really that necessary in the first place.

 

Yeah, I guess I fear I will fail too much. It's always easier to me when I give myself a very short bit of time to make the game so I'm not as concerned about failing.

 

 

My only other advice is to try to limit yourself to only projects that are extremely exciting to you. They make you wanna wake up early and go to bed late, if at all. They make you go 12 hours straight without realizing you should maybe eat and, I dunno, stand up. Those are the projects you'll work on and finish. If it doesn't make you unreasonably excited, then you probably shouldn't waste your time. At some point you'll either give up, or be so bored you have to force yourself to finish.

 

The only game I ever finished was in response to Ludum Dare 24, which really helped to motivate me to finish the game. I wasn't really excited about the game itself but I was excited about the competition, so I kept working on the game (which did get extremely tedious seeing that it wasn't all that exciting to me).

 

Usually the excitement seems to fade after two or so days once I start to think about failure, implementation problems, etcetera. Maybe if I made a prototype immediately once I get an exciting idea I will be able to see if it's worth pursuing and if it will be exciting to make. If it's as fun to make as it is to play I think I could end up working really hard and getting a pretty good game out of the effort (as well as learning a ton along the way).

 

What do you guys think?

Edited by makuto
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Well at the core it sounds like an issue with self-motivation. I struggle with this a fair bit in my life: there are so many things I want to do, and am perfectly capable of doing, but there's something holding me back (read: myself). Working a day job really compounds the problem (or at least that's what I tell myself) -- after a long day at work I don't necessarily have the energy to work on something, even if it's something I'm passionate about.

If you aren't able to look inward for motivation then you can always try looking outward: join a team of motivated individuals, post your work on message boards for feedback/criticism/encouragement, join competitions, etc. Some people are great at motivating others in a positive manner; try to surround yourself with these types of people and remove any sources of negativity from your life.

Also, try not to think too big. The more "little successes" you have the easier it will be to eventually work your way up to something bigger, and at the end of the day you'll feel a lot better about yourself/your work having actually completed a few projects.

Good luck :)

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[quote name='snugsound' timestamp='1356369889' post='5013977']
Well at the core it sounds like an issue with self-motivation. I struggle with this a fair bit in my life: there are so many things I want to do, and am perfectly capable of doing, but there's something holding me back (read: myself).
[/quote]

That definitely sounds like me :).

 

[quote name='snugsound' timestamp='1356369889' post='5013977']
Some people are great at motivating others in a positive manner; try to surround yourself with these types of people and remove any sources of negativity from your life.
[/quote]

My friends do tend to be a little to pessimistic and competitive (negatively). This is a little difficult to solve; maybe I shouldn't talk about my projects to them at all and avoid the possibility of those responses (while also limiting congratulatory responses as well). That is a little extreme though :)

 

[quote name='snugsound' timestamp='1356369889' post='5013977']
Also, try not to think too big. The more "little successes" you have the easier it will be to eventually work your way up to something bigger, and at the end of the day you'll feel a lot better about yourself/your work having actually completed a few projects.
[/quote]

It is definitely hard for me to not think so big. My ideas (that I don't ever put into code) tend to grow into massively complex systems that don't necessarily have to be there. I should probably avoid any projects that may be out of my skill range/available time and just save them for later.

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I've been programming for three years now and am confident in my abilities to make two dimensional games. I also have lots of ideas for games that I want to develop.
 
The main problem I'm having is what to do next. I usually come up with an idea, mull it over for a few days, write it down, get excited about it, then get discouraged about the idea, my life, and various other things and abandon the idea. Remember that technology isn't the problem here.
 
What do you do once you have an idea you'd potentially like to explore, especially in a timely manner?
Random ideas come and go, and aren't worth anything. Just work on the ideas that DON'T fade away after a few days. All this stuff becomes grunt work after the initial rush wears off. You won't follow through on a random idea for the same reason you aren't going to take up random chores that don't need to be done.

And when you do get a good idea that lasts. Make a small proof of concept for it first. It's only a bit of work and it will let you know if the idea is worth pursuing. It might turn out that your game mechanics don't work logically (only magically in your head), or that it's not fun, or that it will take so much work to actually complete, that it's not worth your time, or needs to be dialed back.
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[quote name='Daaark' timestamp='1356573316' post='5014574']
Random ideas come and go, and aren't worth anything. Just work on the ideas that DON'T fade away after a few days. All this stuff becomes grunt work after the initial rush wears off. You won't follow through on a random idea for the same reason you aren't going to take up random chores that don't need to be done.
[/quote]

So ideas that I think about weeks after their inception?

 

[quote name='Daaark' timestamp='1356573316' post='5014574']
And when you do get a good idea that lasts. Make a small proof of concept for it first. It's only a bit of work and it will let you know if the idea is worth pursuing. It might turn out that your game mechanics don't work logically (only magically in your head), or that it's not fun, or that it will take so much work to actually complete, that it's not worth your time, or needs to be dialed back.
[/quote]

That's when I make quick prototypes. Do you mean I should give ideas a few weeks to cook and if I think they're worth it get a prototype as soon as possible?

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