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Martin Brentnall

13 years and counting: Sometimes I feel like I'm never going to finish my game

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I admire your commitment. Our problem as hobbyists is that we don't know when to stop, since the value is in the journey. As long as it doesn't drain all your energy... I've found equilibrium in aggressively limiting features but committing to completing usable versions, while working on a very simple game engine, on and off, for about 3 years now...

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I stick w/turn based games. The scope is such that it only takes a month to hit a playable game state. Updates of course take years but.... at least you have something to play in the mean time.

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Yep, sounds pretty familiar to me :) 

One man alone is not enough to do everything himself, isn't it? But there are options like using libraries (e.g. a physics engine?), and of course... engines like Unity (just joking, haha!).

Also, decide if you want to make a game, or an engine that can be used to make games. If you focus on just one game and ignore all this 'it must be flexible, reusable, extendable, run any kind of game...' wishful thinking, you could produce results more likely and after that use what you have for the next game. This way you get games, and a more flexible engine for free. Doing the latter right just from start up is impossible anyways IMHO. (Refactoring is faster than starting from scratch - we just need to accept it's never perfect.)

I like your will to include editors. Community content is the best thing that can happen to a game.

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All too familiar to me too! :)

Trying to learn from my own mistakes, one thing I'm trying to convert to is release early and often. Make something playable, no matter how rubbish, and then improve it (or move on to another project).

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Nice story, something that I can very much relate to. I started coding a 2D fighting game back in 2012 and at the same time learning DX11 and the C++ language. The 2D sprite based fighting game idea soon evolved to 3D fighting game, with custom scripting language, fancy rendering techniques and physics simulation that it didn't really need. Around 2015-ish I completely scrapped the fighting game, stripped away the engine, refactored and open sourced the thing. I am still developing it under the name "Wicked Engine" and it now has an editor and multiple graphics APIs and also lua scripting. I am mainly using it to prototype whatever rendering technique I am interested in at the moment. Also, my portfolio heavily depended on it as I had no university degree. 

But bottom line is that I feel it was definitely worth the effort and I could easily get a job in the gamedev industry thanks to this. So keep going and do it because you enjoy it, that's my advice! :)

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Good to know, then 4-1/2 years and not even having a framework finished is an o.k thing then in the world of hobbiest's.

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I have a lot more abandoned failures than finished successes, but I think thats because I've become more a programmer than a game developer.  At best I have a 1-level demo and a prototype "choose your own adventure" android app to boast about( now working on a more professional version ).  Oh, there was a scrolling shoot-em-up I made many moons ago, but my programming skills were so dreadful at the time I now have trouble getting it to run on modern systems, so I tend to stick to demos these days...

I guess you just have to stick with it.  I personally build my demos around my current skills and don't enter a project until the "engine" and tools are in place.  When I'm in the project itself I want to be in "artist mode" and designing, and so hate distractions from the programming abyss.  When you are on your own you have to be disciplined and do things in stages and to a schedule.

Speaking of which, I fancy writing a Megadrive game but I'm still getting my head around SGDK and how the MD does its thing.  The joypad part of it was easy to learn, but the graphics was a hard slog.  Once I have the audio part sussed I think I can start to think about a demo or a small game...

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I joined a number of game developer communities since maybe '99 (GD.net since 2004), and I started coding around 2001, when I was in colleage. Since then I do a number of projects, but none of them really finnished. In fact most of them never leave a proof of concepts stage. I joined a game company in '05 for a year. The only game that I take parts of development and get published is Barnyard Blast (for Nintendo DS), which I only work on it in the demo stage ... I don't think my name is in it credit list though ...

Since then I have coded a number of custom game engine, but I've never managed to finish any of them. I trashed a few dozen of them engine since then. Recently I"ve just picked up Unity2D

I joined a local community as a composer, as I couldn't code at that time. The first project I joined  with the people there never leave design stage. ... 

I've foolishly think "well I can code, I can compose, I can do game design, ... what if I do the arts myself too?" even after a number of projects that never leave proof of concept stage. I started learning how to draw 2D arts a few years ago, and still terrible at it.

Sometime I feels like I am the protagonist of the manga 'Kakanai Mangaka', only as a game developer rather than the mangaka. ....

I think, what I'm lacking are 'commitment' and 'focus'....

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I use to have a similar problem. For my first 6 years I kept jumping from project to project; unable to finish a game.

It was when I made a simple match 3 puzzle game for a other developer that I finally snapped out of it. Making that small game, not following my own ideals and rules, I had the first taste of a successful game.

After that it was like some constraint had snapped. I could easily work on a project from start to end, it didn't even matter if I was keeping to my own ideals and rules; I realize how they fit in with everything else.

The only way I can think of describing it is like dislocating a joint, once it happens it is very easy to do it again. :)

 

The problem I think is we learn how to make games, but never actually learn how to finish them.

My advice is: make a small game, a clone of a small random mobile game or something. Just to prove to yourself that you can do it.

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