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November 26, 2014, 03:09:12 AM
TIGSource ForumsDeveloperCreativeDesignGame-making philosophy, self-doubt, questions...
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stef1a
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« on: December 18, 2012, 07:01:54 PM »

Here's a snippet from my journal about making games that I felt I should share to see if I can get any advice:

(Also, before you read, note that Pressfield is the author of "The War of Art," and one of his main premises (which I refer to) is that if you feel self-doubt, fear, and "Resistance," you should do exactly what you fear.)

Quote
But I'm conflicted: how could I possibly take on all the roles that I claim are necessary for a game? How do I even know I want to make a game? (According to Pressfield, the very fact that I am frustrated by not making it is proof enough that I should go ahead and do it.) I have other questions for Pressfield: why do some people seem to naturally gravitate towards the activities they enjoy, and not worry about them or fear the outcome? That is, some people seem to say, "Screw doing what you don't enjoy. I'm just going to do what I love!", and they turn out to be extremely successful.

On the other hand, it seems like many others who've become extremely successful have done so as a result of pure effort. As Edison said, "Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." Carnegie, Rockefeller, Galt... Real and fake heroes always seem to make themselves successful by putting real, hard effort into their lives and their work.

...

Here are my fears and thoughts about making a game:
   - I keep coming back to the idea, but I haven't sat down and done anything major since last year. I keep thinking about the idea, but I don't have a precise idea laid out, other than finishing the roguelike / expanding on the concept of a small RPG or a very small-scale, simple-interface version of Dwarf Fortress.
   - I fear that it's too much work to do all the graphics and music, in addition to the programming. I know that I'm good at programming, and that I enjoy writing. Therefore, I could probably maintain coding and coming up with a story for the game, but I have little to no graphical or musical skills when it comes to creating stuff for games. (Possible resolutions to these problems are that I could 1. practice, 2. use extremely minimal graphics and music, and 3. recruit the help of others (probably in later projects.)
   - I fear that games look too silly and unprofessional. Despite this, the people I revere most are game designers, and games had a major impact on my childhood and, thus, probably on my personal development. Also despite this, I still dream of making games. (I dream of other things, too, though, like mastering archery, becoming a better swimmer, working out, learning new languages, traveling, and writing -- to name just a few.)
   - I fear failing.
   - I fear that what I make will look bad.
   - I fear that, ultimately, I'll be unsuccessful (i.e., financially and in the realm of my career and future work), and whatever I make will not contribute to my skill set in any way, and will (thus?) be a waste of time.
   - I fear that it will take a lot of time and stress me out. I have other things to worry about already!
   - I fear that it's not really what I want to do. It's painful to start, and I doubt myself in my actions. According to Pressfield, this means I should do it -- that it's something I truly want to, and am "destined," to do. But I don't know... (I was able to logically formulate a question relating to this earlier, but now I cannot. I'll keep thinking about this.)

What do you think?
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Erobotan
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« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2012, 08:08:23 PM »

Just do it, make a simple one for your first time. And during that time, DON'T quit your office job if you have any.

You can decide whether you're going to keep making games or stop after your first game.
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ஒழுக்கின்மை
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« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2012, 08:11:31 PM »

a common theme in that entry is fear; i'd suggest that if you are afraid of making games, if the fear of it is stronger then the love of it, then simply don't make them. it's like, nobody wants to play a game made out of fear rather than love. do something else that you aren't afraid to do
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Alec S.
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« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2012, 08:38:40 PM »

The solution to much of this is to stop worrying and make a game.  If you're having trouble with your idea, put it aside and make something small.  Ideas are, when you come down to it, a dime a dozen.  Being able to finish a game, however, is a valuable skill. 

The answer to the art problem is, well, all three.  Learn the basics of drawing, color theory, ect... and find a style (even if it's minimalistic) that you can work in, and actively seek out artists who you can collaborate with.

If a fear of failure keeps you from trying, then you have already failed.  Make games.  Game shitty games if you have to.  Being able to make a game from start to finish, no matter how small and shitty, is an important skill to learn.  Once you've made a game, you'll find your next effort will be easier and better.  Everything you make will contribute to your skillset in some way.

Everything is a step by step process.  You can't make a game all at once.  Start with a small project that you can break into even smaller pieces, then move on from there.  See what you can make given a week's time, then a month's.  You can sit around contemplating ideas forever, but if you want to make a game, you have to make a game.
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J-Snake
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« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2012, 08:49:23 PM »

Do every day a little and you will accomplish a lot.
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Gregg Williams
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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2012, 09:27:23 PM »

Your fears seem to come about because it is something you want to do, but also to do well, and be successful at. If you didn't care, you wouldn't fear the outcome.

Make games, but be ready for that persistance part, few artisans start out creating masterpieces.
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ink.inc
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2012, 10:26:55 PM »

a common theme in that entry is fear; i'd suggest that if you are afraid of making games, if the fear of it is stronger then the love of it, then simply don't make them. it's like, nobody wants to play a game made out of fear rather than love. do something else that you aren't afraid to do

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keo
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2012, 10:37:51 PM »

work hard
« Last Edit: December 19, 2012, 08:58:55 AM by minnow » Logged

Muz
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« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2012, 11:07:02 PM »

Just find someone who is making a similar game. Join up with them, ask for a salary. They take all the risks. You get to build something you like. You get relevant experience. Flaws and mistakes won't cost as much, but you'll know them the next time you go for it.

You should expect to fail in your first few games. Don't plan to fail ofc, but statistically, you've got no chance of creating a masterpiece on your first attempt. Everyone goes through the painful learning curve to succeed.

Everything you do will contribute to your skill set - IMO, the most important skills in life are the ability to learn and the ability to be proactive. People who have both are able to succeed in vastly different genres. And failing that, you'd still probably make some contacts.


Also, IMO, the whole "do what you love" mentality is foolish. Every 'fun' field is oversaturated - entertainment, art, music, wine, fashion, etc. It's very important to love what you do, but it doesn't mean you'd love it when first entering it. Going in with the "I'm doing what I love" mentality will pull you into a cutthroat industry, and you'll end up hating what you once loved. Unless you're willing to spend a few hundred thousand on it, accept that there are tons of people with ivy league/professional training who are better than you, who are backed by angel investors, and that you'll be a bottom feeder for at least 5 years straight. (even if you want to point at Minecraft/DF as indie legends, look at the qualifications of their creators)
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baconman
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« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2012, 12:26:37 PM »

I think the only things you're really afraid of, is how time-consuming graphic and music production are (they're both far simpler than you'd expect, especially if you have programming down), and competition or your ability to measure up to it; without considering that many of these people producing the more polished content have been working a lot longer on development than you, and only can do so now because they've already hit the bumps in the road.

I should know, I get a little of that, too; even though I know I should know better. Well, that, and just what order to put it all together in. Start with minimals, just about everything you make will be something you remake a few times to get right anyways.
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stef1a
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« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2012, 03:45:21 PM »

Wow. Thanks for all the replies, everyone!

I'll just say for now that I have made several prototypes in the past -- maybe five or six small projects. I haven't taken anything to the point of completion, but I have "enjoyed" almost all of them. And the first one was the most fun -- I learned so much and had so much internal motivation that it felt almost effortless, even though I struggled a lot.

I wonder if anyone has come up with a list of habits of behaviors that are simple to institute and that make sitting down and working on a game / project easier (e.g., working right after waking up, working in a different location, disabling your Internet connection...)... Or if the TIG community could come up with such a list.
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baconman
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« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2012, 03:51:19 PM »

I'm sure somebody's working on a game that teaches that. Wink
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keo
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« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2012, 04:21:09 PM »

I liked what this had to say, http://doodlealley.com/
this talks about art mostly but most of it applies to anything
setting goals, where do you want to be in a year
what steps are you going to take to get there
be realistic about your shortcomings and ways to improve them
developing discipline
assess your progress or lack of progress
don't waddle with the same base of knowledge but experiment and grow and get better and think differently approach a situation from all angles, get to the point where all of this comes naturally
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ClayB
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« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2012, 05:17:20 PM »

donnie darko.

also, don't be afraid of failure, be afraid of never realizing your full potential. that's why i keep at this
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« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2012, 08:11:44 PM »

Quote
I fear that it's too much work to do all the graphics and music, in addition to the programming. I know that I'm good at programming, and that I enjoy writing. Therefore, I could probably maintain coding and coming up with a story for the game, but I have little to no graphical or musical skills when it comes to creating stuff for games. (Possible resolutions to these problems are that I could 1. practice, 2. use extremely minimal graphics and music, and 3. recruit the help of others (probably in later projects.)

I think that it would be very difficult to maintain development on a game like Dwarf Fortress--that is, a game you are constantly adding new content to for years to come--if you are not doing the graphics yourself. Because what happens when during those 10+ years your artist ups and quits?

Well that's the dilemma I'm in. DF might be able to get away with ascii art, but my project won't. It will be a romance game and appealing art is expected from a romance game where, after all, appearances are an important part of attraction. But with a development model patterned after DF, I'll be in the position of having to do the art myself. (I don't have the capital to pay for an artist anyway) So I'll be going with a combination of solution 1 and 2, but will it be good enough? What am I getting myself into?   Giggle
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« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2012, 11:31:21 PM »

All the great achievements in my life came not out of fear but out of love and all the big disappointments came not out of love but out of fear. Which amounts to "Pressfield is a moron".

The thing is that certain people find certain activities PLEASURABLE whereas other people find these same activities FEARFUL. And so, it may seem like the first group of people is putting up with fear -- but they are not! they are just having a different taste in life.

Fear is that which tells you to stop. Love is that which tells you to go on. This applies universally and it's as simple as that. What's then possible is not to "love fear" (which is contradictio in adjecto) but to turn what you used to fear into something that you now love. But I have to admit I have no fucking idea how this process occurs! What I know, however, is that I experienced such a change many times before in my life and it always occured spontaneously without me trying to do much about it.

My advice then would be to simply give up on making games and do something you CURRENTLY love. Then, perhaps, sometime in the future you'll feel that proper urge to make games once again and all the problems you currently have would cease to exist.
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ink.inc
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« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2012, 02:31:49 AM »

All the great achievements in my life came not out of fear but out of love and all the big disappointments came not out of love but out of fear. Which amounts to "Pressfield is a moron".

The thing is that certain people find certain activities PLEASURABLE whereas other people find these same activities FEARFUL. And so, it may seem like the first group of people is putting up with fear -- but they are not! they are just having a different taste in life.

Fear is that which tells you to stop. Love is that which tells you to go on. This applies universally and it's as simple as that. What's then possible is not to "love fear" (which is contradictio in adjecto) but to turn what you used to fear into something that you now love. But I have to admit I have no fucking idea how this process occurs! What I know, however, is that I experienced such a change many times before in my life and it always occured spontaneously without me trying to do much about it.

My advice then would be to simply give up on making games and do something you CURRENTLY love. Then, perhaps, sometime in the future you'll feel that proper urge to make games once again and all the problems you currently have would cease to exist.

sometimes i doubt my commitment to sparkle motion
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mscottweber
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« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2012, 12:00:38 PM »

Ira Glass on creativity and productivity and being awesome:

"Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, itís just not that good. Itís trying to be good, it has potential, but itís not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesnít have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone Iíve ever met. Itís gonna take awhile. Itís normal to take awhile. Youíve just gotta fight your way through."
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Graham-
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« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2012, 06:30:58 AM »

Wow. Thanks for all the replies, everyone!

I'll just say for now that I have made several prototypes in the past -- maybe five or six small projects. I haven't taken anything to the point of completion, but I have "enjoyed" almost all of them. And the first one was the most fun -- I learned so much and had so much internal motivation that it felt almost effortless, even though I struggled a lot.

I wonder if anyone has come up with a list of habits of behaviors that are simple to institute and that make sitting down and working on a game / project easier (e.g., working right after waking up, working in a different location, disabling your Internet connection...)... Or if the TIG community could come up with such a list.

It's not that simple.

Please professional soccer player give me a list of the things that made you as good as you are.

Make sense?

I:
  . work every day
  . seek out inspiration regularly
  . compare my results to those of others (regularly (i.e. successful games, to see how well I am doing))
  . pursue the work I can apply myself to

Over-coming the barriers between you and becoming what you want is a personal journey. You have to try, reflect, improve. Your solution will be unique. The biggest mistake you can make is to think there is some simple way. There is none.

I will give one piece of advice. Always be asking yourself this question:
  . Do I believe that I am improving?
Be honest.

----

Reading your op...

Make a smaller game. Getting stuff done will answer your questions. There is no other way.
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stef1a
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« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2012, 08:38:11 AM »

Actually, Graham., I believe there are specific behaviors that are small and able to be replicated* that separate those who don't get stuff done from those who do get stuff done. Maybe not everyone uses the exact same ones, but they certainly exist in a wide variety of endeavors. For example, professional basketball players often practice very small skills with great deliberation (like shoulder-tucking while shooting), whereas amateur players just play games without much self-awareness, so they never (or only haphazardly) improve their vital skills and behaviors.

Working every day is certainly a helpful skill, but it's not very specific -- what do you do every day? How do you start? Do you first review your to-do list, then disable your Internet connection? Or perhaps something else? (I'm asking these questions rhetorically -- you might do things in an entirely different fashion.)

*I'm not saying they're easy to do. However, spending time breaking them down into very small, concrete actions helps.
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