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TIGSource ForumsCommunityTownhallForum IssuesArchived subforums (read only)CreativeA Pile of Steaming Games - Why I cannot finish anything.
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Author Topic: A Pile of Steaming Games - Why I cannot finish anything.  (Read 7862 times)
Stwelin
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« on: October 02, 2007, 02:01:20 PM »

Watching this year's Indie Game Summit panel got me thinking... I was listening to Gabler talk about creating games. "Create hundreds of them and do not fall in love."

It hasn't seemed to work for me.

The majority of these game files started out as legitimate games. Something i had an idea for, and spent about a week of free time on, and ended up abandoning. (yes, there are a lot of duplicates.) This folder of week-long projects is merely a fraction of what i have created over time. (I never bother saving them when I reformat my hard drive.)

I have been 'developing' games for a few years now. About 4 maybe. And i have not released a single noteworthy product. I can get a partial ways into the development of a game, and then for some reason, I either have a different idea I want to pursue, or I just abandon it as a lost cause.

It is really hard for me to understand why I cannot turn a single idea into more than vaporware. Does anyone else have situations like this?

--edit: Sorry, didn't really know where this would be appropriate to post, i figured "general" was vague enough.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2007, 08:37:54 PM by Stwelin » Logged
moshboy
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2007, 02:22:53 PM »

If this is your way of telling us that you abandoned that platformer you posted in the feedback section, you did a really bad job! (haha)
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gustav
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« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2007, 02:30:52 PM »

I've been in this situation ever since i started making games. Gabler's method doesn't work for me. I am a whore and i never fall in love. As soon as i see something new and sexy i pin it down and start grinding it to bits. Then i get bored and abandon it.

My advice is to start making something relatively simplistic that keeps you entertained and throws moderately refreshing challenges at you and just force yourself to fall in love.
This is the code i'm following atm. and things seem to be progressing pretty well.

I had set a 4 week deadline for my current project which has now increased to 8... which will probably grow to 12. But i will finish this damn game if i so die trying... So yeah, just hang in there, guy!

Your list is PUNY!
« Last Edit: October 02, 2007, 02:34:02 PM by gustav » Logged

Alex May
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« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2007, 03:30:13 PM »

Here's my advice/experience and it may not work for you, but i'd like to give it anyway.

I made two games, a buggy as hell tetris game and a half decent asteroids game in 1999/2000, then i got into the games industry for a job and haven't finished anything since. the only things i've done since then are in the last few months - generic slash for the 3dp, which isn't remotely finished in any way, and doom cottage which is unbalanced and buggy but there's absolutely no chance of me going back to it. Anyway, this is a digression - my point is, those five or so years of personal drought were absolutely awful and I felt the same way you do now. So enter some competitions, or set yourself some fearful deadlines and some completable projects.

Don't fuck around with prototypes. Do something you know you can complete. Don't experiment until you know how to finish a game. Then you will have the freedom to mess around with stuff and take it to its logical conclusion.

And for the love of God, don't get a job in the industry. It'll kill your creativity dead.
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« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2007, 04:54:32 PM »

The majority of these game files started out as legitimate games. Something i had an idea for, and spent about a week of free time on, and ended up abandoning. (yes, there are a lot of duplicates.) This folder of week-long projects is merely a fraction of what i have created over time. (I never bother saving them when I reformat my hard drive.)

I have been 'developing' games for a few years now. About 4 maybe. And i have not released a single noteworthy product. I can get a partial ways into the development of a game, and then for some reason, I either have a different idea I want to pursue, or I just abandon it as a lost cause.

I could copy and paste this post and call it my own. In about 5 years time I have yet to finish a game. If you're anything like me, the game either reaches a point where you realize you can not finish it like you originally intended, or you just become indifferent to that once great idea and hooked on something newer and shiny. It really is a vicious circle, something I've been struggling with on my own.

In my experience, I guess I am just incapable of releasing something I'm not 100% proud of, as if it was the last piece of work that everyone would define me by. It's stupid artist crap I know, but unfortunately, I can't really get around it. Over the years, I've learned to try and focus my efforts on 2 things: Games I really, really like and not just a cool idea that strikes me at the moment and games I can realistically finish. The rub lies in #2 of course, as sometimes I don't realize what that means until it's too late.

I've tried the time limit thing and half way through I gave up because I knew I would never finish in time with something playable at my standards. I've tried asking for help to split the load and ended up deciding I wanted to go in a different direction and leaving the other person hanging.

The positive I take away from it all is that I've become really good at prototyping (and to a lesser extent, programming). I've realized that a solid, working prototype is key in giving a game idea any momentum, and currently that's my focus. But ultimately it comes down to discipline.
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Melly
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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2007, 06:24:45 PM »

I'm probably not the best person to give advice in this, but there are a couple of things I've heard people doing to solve that issue. The biggest is focus and discipline, really. How exactly you'll improve on that I'm not certain, but it's something you should think about.

Another is distractions. Sometimes you have to forcibly remove as many distractions as you can in order to finish your first projects, maybe after them you will get hooked on the feeling of having actually accomplished something.

Then there is the fact you should focus on the future, on how awesome it would be to get even that simple, but loveable idea fully up and running and polished into a shining diamond.

But that's just my opinion.
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« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2007, 08:39:47 AM »

after them you will get hooked on the feeling of having actually accomplished something...

I cant agree more! After you have completed a few small crappy games (for comps or on your own), it is just awesome to say, "hey, here is a finished product! Enjoy (or not)!"

That is what keeps me going. The best part for me about game development is coming up with the ideas and game mechanics. The other best part is seeing people play and enjoy your game, the rest is semi-fun fluff (for me).

All my previous games were made in 1-2 months, while Roach Toaster 2 has been going now for +-13 months. The original "spark" is long gone, but the end is going to be totally awesome! During this time (filling in the fluff), I keep my mind busy by fleshing out future projects, playing with different ideas in my mind.

I already have the design for Roach Toaster 3 75% done. Tongue
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Arne
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« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2007, 07:08:11 PM »

I don't know what you people are even talking about.

...

Okay, maybe I do.. a little... a lot... I must have started many hundreds of projects. I thrive on the 1% inspiration part and flee head over heels when the 99% perspiration bit rears its ugly head.

Try documenting your stuff for a third person, at least that way you have a chance of being able to return to the project some day, to build upon it or revise.
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« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2007, 01:34:32 AM »

Your not the only one doing this, ive done it a few times when motivation is really low. So what ive learnd is to always have something that motivates you. The motivation that i think is the moast effective for me is that always have a graphic artist working by you your side, when he finnish new concepts, characters, items etc and see them in the game, it gives you an extra boos to keep working on the game.

It also works with good critics from friends and forums, maybe you put up a developer diary or maybe writing som design document to get yoursef motivated again. It's also important to keep working  even if your motivation is low cus it's gonna turn after a while and you will get motivated again,

I don think there is someone who keept his motivation a 100% under a whole production time of a game, every project has it's up's an downs. But just keep hangin on!

*EDIT*
Just saw that this was posted in the art and design part of the forum. Im a programer so maybe it's not all the same but i think if i was a graphic artist i would be motivated to see my work "in game".
« Last Edit: October 04, 2007, 01:39:52 AM by Henrik.Flink » Logged

renkin
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« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2007, 06:28:44 AM »

I have been 'developing' games for a few years now. About 4 maybe. And i have not released a single noteworthy product.

Don't feel bad. I've been "developing games" for about a decade.
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« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2007, 03:46:56 AM »



I win. And there is also a my documents folder + a gm4 folder on other pc. Sad


Allthough I must say more then half those files are gb1 and savefiles. Tongue
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« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2007, 05:31:30 AM »

Wow! 0_o, that's a lot!
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« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2007, 06:57:02 AM »

Wow now I really want to see what that imgonnakillcactus.gm6 is all about.
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« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2007, 07:41:21 AM »

and codename corpseless...
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« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2007, 08:23:54 AM »

I'm with Gabler. Better to make hundreds of games and not fall in love with any single idea.

I don't know if my opinion counts, but I've tried most of the stuff suggested here.

During my yearly QBasic years I never got anything finished and rarely got anything playable together. During the very late QBasic years I got couple of games finished and then I decided that no more fucking around, I'll do one game and I'll do it properly. That game never got finished (it was somewhat playable, but nothing special) and working only on that nearly game killed my interest in game development.

I figured that it was the QBasic part that killed that game. So I learned some real programming languages and started working on another "proper" game, with C++ and everything. I fell for the "you have to have a proper engine" -trap and started coding my own game engine. Needless to say that game never finished either.

Then I started doing prototypes (the EGP -style) and releasing them and right now it's the way I prefer doing things. At least for me this way there's a way to test those ideas and more importantly kill them off before I fall in love with them.

I have to point out that I've made couple of "bigger" games and I didn't enjoy the developing them much. At least compared to developing a game in under 7 days. Making a proper game is a real pain in the ass progress and I'm pretty sure it's not what most people want. Cranking a game out in a week, may be somewhat painful, but it's only 7 days of pain compared to two years of torment.

So my advice is to create a loads of games and release them, because it's more fun and because it's hard to know which ideas actually work if you don't test them on players.
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Petri Purho
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« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2007, 09:55:33 AM »

I usually don't abandon a game (or anything really) completely unless I absolutely hate it. Instead, I stop working on it until I get some good enough inspiration to get back into it. And I'm inspired everyday, so it's never really a problem for me.
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Melly
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« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2007, 11:01:13 AM »

I personally like the idea of doing heavy prototyping, and if you see one that is simply too awesome not to become a game, you should focus on it.

The biggest problem, I guess, is the loss of focus on the end result. Maybe if you focus on your end result and believe in it, you'll eventually find a way to get there. You shouldn't stress yourself over it either. If something isn't working, do something else, or take a breather.

I guess another way to fully enjoy making games is to have your games focus on the parts of game development you enjoy doing. If you love coding but simply can't stand making graphics and sounds, by all means go ahead and make a roguelike. Tongue
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« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2007, 05:05:15 PM »

First way to get over this is not to make games alone if you can help it. Make games in 2 or 3 person teams of friends, and as long as everyone on the team cares about the project it will go through. It's easy to slack off if nobody else sees you doing it. In my experience, the easier it is to hide laziness, the more lazy someone is.

Second thing is to get playtesters early, so you'll want to keep working on it to show them what you've improved. Posting something in forum's feedback section is probably a good idea, even when it's very early. And putting up a new version every week or two after doing so.

Third thing to work on it every day that you have time, even one tiny improvement that takes 5 minutes if that's all you have time for. And keep a log of this, something like LiveJournal, and preferably a new screenshot each day of the change you made to it. Momentum is important, taking even one or two days off could be fatal to a project. There's a saying that goes "How does a project get delayed for a year? One day at a time."

Fourth thing is to realize that you don't *have* to work on it -- or anything else for that matter. The moment something feels like you have to do it, it stops being fun. So realize, each day as you sit down to work on something, that you can always not do it and do something less interesting if you want. In fact, do something else if you want, just to understand that that something else is less rewarding. See the things you normally do as procrastination as work, and see work as play and goofing off and taking a break from the more serious work of procrastination. Making that mental switch is pretty interesting.
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« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2007, 05:07:53 PM »

Fourth thing is to realize that you don't *have* to work on it -- or anything else for that matter. The moment something feels like you have to do it, it stops being fun. So realize, each day as you sit down to work on something, that you can always not do it and do something less interesting if you want. In fact, do something else if you want, just to understand that that something else is less rewarding. See the things you normally do as procrastination as work, and see work as play and goofing off and taking a break from the more serious work of procrastination. Making that mental switch is pretty interesting.

That is totally badass!
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Stwelin
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« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2007, 05:51:40 PM »

Thanks for all the feedback, everyone. This has really been helpful.
(Also, jwaap, holy shit!)

I am starting to realize that my practice has not been in vein. Every time i start something now, i can prototype it faster than before, and it becomes much easier to get my ideas out. I am working on a few small games, that will hopefully be seeing some playable releases soon.

I have come to terms with not being able to sustain the 'one-man-band' mentality. I really was a little too ambitious.

Again, i really appreciate the input from all of you. Praise be to TIGS for keeping me (semi)sane.
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