Author Topic: Concentrating on an old game  (Read 8779 times)

v6v

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Concentrating on an old game
« on: 2011-08-09, 10:25:59 AM »
Since I was 12, Ive been making games with SGDK and SGDK2. I made 100+ games, but the real issue was, was only able to complete 6 of the 100.

The real issue is- Is it hard for anyone else to finish a game? Its like everytime I work on one as an indie garage developer, I get quarterway or halfway, lose intrest and begin another one..

Even up to now, I keep jumping projects... anyone suffering from this disorder have any advice or solutions? I cant seem to keep my intrest sparked long enough to finish most of my games...

SmartBoy16

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Re: Concentrating on an old game
« Reply #1 on: 2011-08-09, 07:53:43 PM »
This will happen for every game you develop, you WILL get bored of it. It's just something you will have to deal with and move right along. There are a few things that can help you overcome this:

* Use concept art so you will know exactly how the gameplay and graphic elements to your game will go. This will reduce "down times" because you will know exactly how something should go.

* Show off what you do to others; the internet and real-life friends are the best examples. It will make them excited for what you are doing and you have set yourself a goal to show off your work. And if it's really good, your friends will show it off to other friends and they will show it to their friends. Word of mouth is THE best way of determining exactly how great a game will be (Like Minecraft, for example)

* See if you can get others to help you out. Working by yourself is very boring especially for something as long and tedious as developing games. Working as a team will help out with most of these issues and it may turn out better in a shorter amount of time. Although it may seem more impressive to develop games strictly on your own, working on the same thing for 5 years in a row is a really long time.

* Set goals for yourself. Try to piece together each part of your game one part at a time, do not try to do it all at once. This way, you can focus on keeping a schedule while getting progress done.

* Playtest, playtest, PLAYTEST!!! This is THE most important part of your game. If the graphics are impressive, but the gameplay is flawed, nobody will play it. Not only do you have to play your game yourself, but have others like your friends, family, even those who are not really interested in games, and the internet to help you out with this. This is also the time where you can iron out bugs in your gameplay and get ideas from others. One way to playtest is to let the person play the game and have them figure out how to play without the use of manuals and not telling them how to do ANY levels or puzzles to see what you can do to improve on them.

* MAKE BACKUPS! Almost, if not, all game engines will crash and lose data. Make sure you have regular (daily, even hourly) backups ready in case this happens (one of the reasons that I halted RANAT).

It is hard to develop games using any engine. There will be times where you will be bored of it. You just have to keep at it and in the end it will be all worth it.


With love, hatred and respect,
Joel Green
AKA SmartBoy16
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bluemonkmn

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Re: Concentrating on an old game
« Reply #2 on: 2011-08-10, 05:25:20 AM »
I have the same problem, although I don't think I've worked on as many games as you.  But actually I think it's a healthy thing in some circumstances.  You have to be able to give up on the ideas that don't truly inspire you in order to move along to those that do, and when you hit on just the right worthwhile idea, your inspiration should be able to carry you to the end.  Here are some ideas for getting to the end of more projects:
1. Combine work that you have done in previous projects if appropriate.  Keep the best bits of what you have done, where appropriate, rather than starting from scratch each time.
2. Start with a small, simple goal.  When you complete a simple project, there are two productive possibilities:  a) You can move on to the next project knowing what it feels like to complete something, or b) you can expand on your project with sequels or additional levels.
3. Re-play (or review) a number of your old games (partial projects, whatever) to see what your favorite parts are... allow yourself to be re-inspired by your old ideas using a fresh perspective on them.  Going back to look at them you may see that some ideas weren't as great as you thought they were when they first inspired you, but you may be re-inspired by bits you forgot.  When you have played enough to get re-inspired, you may be able to combine the best ideas into something really worthwhile enough to carry to completion.  I suspect that the evolution of good ideas thrives on natural selection -- mating the best ideas with each other to come up with something you couldn't have thought of all at once.

In the end, giving up is not a bad thing... pushing yourself forward on something that doesn't inspire you may be a worse waste of time.  But you do need to have some degree of dedication... it can be hard to find the balance the tells you when to give up and when to stick to it.

Edit: Oh, and don't be afraid to play *other* games too.  You don't want to steal ideas, but keeping an open mind to the other kinds of gameplay that exist might expand your ideas and inspire you too.
« Last Edit: 2011-08-10, 05:29:41 AM by bluemonkmn »

Vincent

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Re: Concentrating on an old game
« Reply #3 on: 2011-08-10, 05:47:17 AM »
I agree with SmartBoy.

Some other tricks of mine:

*work iteratively.  This means, make a first version of your game that is very small but playable and complete.  For example, in LoK:Revival, I made a first complete playable level and when I made a second level, I added pushables boxes.  And then another level and I added wind streams and conveyors belts.  When some of these levels were done, I came back to add some of this new stuff in the previous levels.  That way, you always have a new stimulating challenge in front of you and it's not always repetition.  Also, when the going gets rough, you take a short break (couple of minutes/hours), play the levels that are already done and see why you're working on this project: hey the first level is amazing, completed and the next ones are going to be even better!

*improvement: maybe a bonus side effect of working iteratively.  Since you're going through all stages of game development many separate times by working iteratively (work on player sprite, work on obstacles, work on level design, work on graphics, work on sound and music, work on special effects, start over for the next level), you're going to improve each time and while working on a step further down the road, you might get new good ideas for the previous stages.  But since you know you're going back on this step for the next level eventually, there's no need to undo anything, you add this stuff later on: new challenges and motivation.

*stop working when it's easy or fun / keep working through the hard times.  This one I sort of stumble upon by accident.  I realized that when I invest a couple of hours on my game, it's important to stop this work session when what you are doing is fun or easy (even if you don't want to), but never stop working when what you're doing is annoying or difficult.  This way, when you have time to work on your game again, you know that it will be easy and fun right away, you will want to continue working on this as soon as possible.  But if you know that what is waiting for you is difficult or annoying, you're going to postpone and find excuses not to work on the game.

*find out what motivates your project: it's best to start working on a project that interests you on many levels (that is a way to determine which project to work on before you start).  For example, I did Lok:Revival because it was interesting technically (I learned more C#), storywise (I love Lok series and wanted to write an ending to it) and gameplay (I love metroidvanias, so making one was fun all along).  This way, when the going gets rough on one point ("pfff!  learning C#: who cares!" or "Lok story...  whatever, it's dull"), you still have the other unrelated aspects of the game to keep you motivated.  Also, this is to make sure your new project is not the "taste of the hour" that will motivate you like a wildfire: hot and strong for a short time and nothing left after.  It's better for it to burn less hard but last long enough for you to complete the project.

*Never stop working for a long period of time (never more than one or two weeks): this way, you won't forget about it and forget what you love about it.  If you really really have no time to invest, then just open the project and fool around with it.  Or draw levels on paper, take notes, anything.  Just don't let the project out of your mind.

I thinks that's about it.

By the way, when you complete a project: the accomplishment is quite a buzz!  :)

Have fun!
Legacy of Kain: Revival completed!
http://lokrevival.webs.com

See also my company website:
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SmartBoy16

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Re: Concentrating on an old game
« Reply #4 on: 2011-08-10, 02:28:44 PM »
*stop working when it's easy or fun / keep working through the hard times.  This one I sort of stumble upon by accident.  I realized that when I invest a couple of hours on my game, it's important to stop this work session when what you are doing is fun or easy (even if you don't want to), but never stop working when what you're doing is annoying or difficult.  This way, when you have time to work on your game again, you know that it will be easy and fun right away, you will want to continue working on this as soon as possible.  But if you know that what is waiting for you is difficult or annoying, you're going to postpone and find excuses not to work on the game.


Hey, I never thought of that! It's kinda funny that that's kind of how RANAT ended, it crashed on me, I never made backups, manually deleting the bad parts was a pain to correct at the time (Converting the files to XML and using notepad to edit it...except at the time (Windows ME) notepad would only work with documents up to 2 MB), and I was too mad to even think about finishing it. Now that I look back at it, I shouldn't have let a ridiculous mistake like that stop me because now I have little to no time to start anything! Maybe once I'm done with college I can finally start on my older projects.....*sigh*
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Vincent

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Re: Concentrating on an old game
« Reply #5 on: 2011-08-11, 05:46:14 AM »
@smartBoy16
Yeah, I see why you didn't go back to your project if you knew you had to do a boring and annoying clean up job.
Anyway, I think that "stop working when it's easy or fun / keep working through the hard times" is one of the key elements that allowed me to finish my game.  It takes a little discipline, but it's definitely worth it.

My wife is a writer and she's using a similar principle when she's writing: she always stops her writing session halfway through a sentence.  For example, she would write something like: "The pirate dashed at her enemies.  She raised her sword and ".  And then she closes her computer right there.  So when she goes back to her work, she's already in the story, she doesn't have to start from scratch to get in the mood, she has an incomplete sentence to finish.

It's funny that we found out a similar trick that works well in both cases. :)
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http://lokrevival.webs.com

See also my company website:
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v6v

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Re: Concentrating on an old game
« Reply #6 on: 2011-08-12, 06:12:14 PM »
Yeah, thanks for the wonderful advice
I broadcast my games to others but the issue is...
That usually does nothing but let them down when I cant finish a project
(I tried my hand at Android Game Devving and got pretty far until I realized I had to learn OpenGL ES to get past some rendering issues... Long story short, I still dont know GL ES. I have the motivation, I just couldnt learn.)
... and that let down all the teachers and friends I told.
I dont even bother telling anymore, getting people's hopes up for nothing

 But, the SIMPLE thing is useful. I scrapped that complicated Neuro game, (Sorry and feel free to delete the Thread, or even ask if you wanted a download) and I started simple.
Just a Platform game. No Complicated gameplay values. Just a guy jumping around. No complicated attacks. Just direct gameplay. 8 Bit music, No special effects.
I learned its easier to get motivated in a simple game. (Who knew)

As experienced in graphic design as I am... I always do Concept, that never really helped lol... idk why
All notes... well lets just say all notes are documented and I take them to the grave in a little file cabinet called my mind
Reusing- For every platformer game Ive made with SGDK2 Ive built it off the stickman sprite template (Thanks whoever made that)
Replaying- I do it every 10 seconds. Thanks for the advice, I actually learned to set smaller goals


tprime

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Re: Concentrating on an old game
« Reply #7 on: 2011-08-13, 05:13:07 PM »
Quote
I broadcast my games to others but the issue is...
That usually does nothing but let them down when I cant finish a project
(I tried my hand at Android Game Devving and got pretty far until I realized I had to learn OpenGL ES to get past some rendering issues... Long story short, I still dont know GL ES. I have the motivation, I just couldnt learn.)
... and that let down all the teachers and friends I told.
I dont even bother telling anymore, getting people's hopes up for nothing

I know how you feel, I've done that in the past too. But you gotta remember, it's not an unusual event. This happens all the time in the game industry, and sometimes letting down a whoolle huugge fanbase. But know that those friends and teachers are perhaps the closest you have to a fanbase before you make it big. So let them in on your progress, good or bad, and they will udnerstand. :)

bluemonkmn

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Re: Concentrating on an old game
« Reply #8 on: 2011-08-14, 06:19:49 AM »
Three words: Duke Nukem Forever.
Just because you give up on a project now doesn't mean you can't pick it up again later.  Duke Nukem was picked up a few times by different developers over its 12 years in development.

SmartBoy16

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Re: Concentrating on an old game
« Reply #9 on: 2011-08-14, 11:16:35 AM »
Three words: Duke Nukem Forever.
Just because you give up on a project now doesn't mean you can't pick it up again later.  Duke Nukem was picked up a few times by different developers over its 12 years in development.

Also Team Fortress 2, which the series itself started from a Quake mod which Valve hired the original developers to make the game in their own engine and called it Team Fortress Classic which then TF2 was beginning development which became one of the more famous vaporware until 2007 when TF2 was made. #wikipediaAllNight
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tprime

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Re: Concentrating on an old game
« Reply #10 on: 2011-08-16, 01:18:08 AM »
Three words: Duke Nukem Forever.
Just because you give up on a project now doesn't mean you can't pick it up again later.  Duke Nukem was picked up a few times by different developers over its 12 years in development.

Wish there was a "like" button here.

durnurd

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Re: Concentrating on an old game
« Reply #11 on: 2011-08-16, 10:44:16 PM »
Three words: Duke Nukem Forever.
Three words: Universally bad reviews
Not to say that a long-lived project can't work, but in the case of Duke Nukem Forever, the metascore hovers around 50 out of 100.  It's probably due to changing hands, story arcs, platforms, game engines, and release dates so many times, and even being canceled once.

The 12-year development cycle was probably the worst of the problems, because if they had stuck to the original game engine, it would look like Duke Nukem 3D.  Which wasn't bad for its time, but now?  Well, that's probably the reason they kept changing game engines.  In the case of game developers using SGDK2, I think that anybody working on a game for 12 years straight might find that their measly SGDK2 engine doesn't stand a chance against SGDK9 ;)
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SmartBoy16

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Re: Concentrating on an old game
« Reply #12 on: 2011-08-16, 11:57:33 PM »
The 12-year development cycle was probably the worst of the problems, because if they had stuck to the original game engine, it would look like Duke Nukem 3D.  Which wasn't bad for its time, but now?  Well, that's probably the reason they kept changing game engines.  In the case of game developers using SGDK2, I think that anybody working on a game for 12 years straight might find that their measly SGDK2 engine doesn't stand a chance against SGDK9 ;)

That's not always the case. I hear from many of my classmates who have developed in Unreal Engine before college that they like using UT2004 over UT3. From personal experience, I can see where the engine developers gave up on a few features and never fully implemented them. For example, you can only make ladders facing North or they will not work properly, even after rotating them. Also, some of the terrain editing options are just eye candy and don't even have a function (they have names though :P ).

Unfortunately, that's how the real world works and you just have to work with what you got.
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bluemonkmn

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Re: Concentrating on an old game
« Reply #13 on: 2011-08-17, 05:18:40 AM »
I think independent games have more leeway than commercial products.  Duke Nukem Forever may have gotten bad reviews as an industry leading game, but I think it would have been pretty well respected as an independent game.  You don't see industry leaders producing platform games any more, but people still like to play them.  A huge expensive commercial product has to be wildly popular to compete and recover its cost, but an independent game has little to no cost and can be considered a success if even a few people enjoy it enough to play it all the way through.  And there are enough people who still enjoy simple games that I expect even 12 years from now there will still be people interested in playing whatever independent game developers can produce, even if they are using decade-old technology.

Vincent

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Re: Concentrating on an old game
« Reply #14 on: 2011-08-17, 05:42:11 AM »
Well, personnaly, each time I dropped a project, I never came back to it.  I really wouldn't follow DN4 example, it would never work for me. :death:
Legacy of Kain: Revival completed!
http://lokrevival.webs.com

See also my company website:
http://chivalrousgames.com