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Rise and fall of the hobbyist game programmer

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#61 Chokki   Members   


Posted 14 July 2004 - 05:30 PM

how appropriate that i respond to this thread. you see, i am the fallen hobbyist programmer.

after reading this, i have been thinking about trying programming again. but first, an analysis of where i went wrong.

first of all, kudos to evolutional. you know what you're talking about. thats the spot i used to be in. i was just starting with C... i had a fairly good grasp of the language itself. i screwed myself over though when i tried to start doing projects with graphics. i tried to learn it all at once and make a game in the meantime.

needless to say it didn't work to well.

i moved out of programming and more into game design. this wasn't a bad move. you can have the best programming skills in the world, but a game without a good design is just as pointless. now that i've become more educated in ways of story and design, i'm returning to the programming aspect.

if the intent of this thread was to spur former programmers back into action, mission accomplished.

thanks, guys.

#62 evolutional   Moderators   


Posted 14 July 2004 - 07:38 PM

I'm not really sure that this thread had a point when I originally posted, if anything I wanted to feel as if I wasn't alone in thinking I was over complicating my software. I started to think of ways I could work in order to avoid the problems I was having (project spiralling out of control, losing focus, etc). I'm still not positive I can avoid such problems, but at least I've recognised that fact that I will never be up there with the greats and should just do things for fun and for myself.

With that in mind I started a new game, leaving my old trouble-spot on the back burner for now - it's going ok, we'll see if I ever 'finish' it, but it's already as playable as my other failed attempts and doesn't suffer from any of the overengineering problems.

So to get to my point (again, I like to ramble), I think I started this thread with a mind to kicking me back to action and hopefully allowing others to see that it's not all 'engine, engine, engine' in the terms of making something that will impress the world and be used by every man and his dog - but as hobbyist programmers we have pretty much free creative freedom to exploit the game areas we want. We don't have to bow down to market pressures, we don't have to make games that push back the boundaries of technology - we can make the games we want, when we want to. That's a great feeling ;)

I'm glad you've started programming again - I hope that you have more success in it this time round, perhaps the discipline gained from your design time will be beneficial to you (a big failure of hobbyists like us is that we don't 'design/plan' our games because of the very freedom that allows us to make them).

Good luck ;)

#63 teamonkey   Members   


Posted 14 July 2004 - 07:48 PM

Original post by evolutional
I was reading this ancient article on Loonygames and it got me thinking about how things have changed so much since I started programming.

<SPAN CLASS=smallfont>quote:

Professional game programming and hobbyist game programming have become widely separated. And yet people don''t seem to realize this, or they seem unwilling to acknowledge it. The bitter battles on Usenet about the importance of C++ and other hot topics: those are the concerns of people who have to follow the accepted standards for professional programming in team environments. They have different concerns than the after-hours game designer. Some hobbyists don''t want to admit they are hobbyists, they try to follow the professionals, and they are never heard from again. Oh, they''ll write part of a hot 3D engine and get all the "in" opinions, but except in very rare cases you never see their name on a finished game. And that''s too bad, because when you''re working on your own you can be creative and different and do things according to your own vision.

That''s the only reason for being a hobbyist in the first place.


So, apart from Usenet becoming less popular, exactly what has changed?

#64 thedevdan   Members   


Posted 14 July 2004 - 07:48 PM

DrewCaliburClark, I just read your reply. Thanks for taking the time to post that; we could all take a lesson from you.

Not giving is not stealing.

#65 Heaven   Members   


Posted 15 July 2004 - 10:43 AM

I'm in similar shoes. I started work years ago, and to date have nothing to show for it. Game wise, at least.

My problem is I end up trying to make Warcraft IV when all I should be trying to do is make Warcraft I! Incidentally, does anyone remember Warcraft I? Heh heh.

So yeah, you're not alone. There are plenty of us out here who find ourselves reaching too high, striving for too much "tech", that our main goal is lost by the wayside. The goal of making a playable game!

With that said I still want 3D terrain in my Warcraft I clone....


Take care.
Florida, USA
Current Project
Jesus is LORD!

#66 DrewCaliburClark   Members   


Posted 19 July 2004 - 04:58 AM

Thanks DevDan,
I almost think this thread should be a sticky in the help wanted thread. I think a lot of posters there should read through and think about some of the issues brought up here by evolutional and others.
Reaching the blessed goal of an actual completed game is much more difficult than most new comers would believe.
*sigh* is any game ever truely "finished" though? Or do we just choose a point where you have to say "good enough, is good enough"?

#67 evolutional   Moderators   


Posted 19 July 2004 - 06:09 AM

Whilst I do agree with oyu Drew, I remember what I was like when starting a new project in the early days. I wouldn't let anyone or anything convince me that I can't achieve my dream. I was thinking that 'I have the idea, why can't I make it reality?'.

I think one way to truly learn is the 'hard' way; that is starting out and failing a few times, having to pick yourself up and try again. I'm also seeing that even though we have small projects on the go, a lot of us are lacking the management discipline in keeping the project on track and correctly prioritising things. One thing you said Drew was that we have to release it at a certain point, even if it's not done - again, that's a management decision.

I think this is especially important in commericial enterprises, yet us hobbyists are perhaps spoiled by the fact that we can get away with many beta releases before we consider it done. We really are running on two entirely different tracks; from development processes down to even target audiences - many people these days don't want to play 'crappy freeware games', which puts us hobbyists into a difficult place.

I wish those that try to straddle the two fields the best of luck, but I think that I am finally content with calling myself a hobbyist and not worry about trying to compete in a market in which I wouldn't belong :)

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