5 years ago
Hi guys, I've been struggling recently with overwhelming projects, and instead of actually starting a project, i'll obsess over the finer details. Sort of stuff like, which design patterns I could implement, how I'm going to handle game states, entity management, efficiency, understanding the engine documentation / codebase, etc.
I find I become overwhelmed by thinking about all the little things, and never actually start working on any of my game ideas.
I was wondering if anyone else has had this problem, and what might be some tips to get over them. "Just start", seems like the appropriate answer, but being analytical by nature, it's hard not to think about the bigger picture.
5 years ago
Perhaps try starting a simpler project that you find less overwhelming.
I'm making a game with a huge world map. But to start, I made the world as small as possible so I could quickly test each kind of feature I would have in the game. For example, in the mini world, I could play the whole game and solve it in a few minutes. In the release version it takes much longer and would have really slowed down production time to always test things in a huge world.
The creator of the game Braid had a unique concept for a platformer that allows the player to reverse time by pressing space bar. Every single creature retraces its steps. In the film Indie Game, you can see that he just started with placeholder graphics so he could focus on this one unique challenge. Once he had that figured out, only then did he move on to making the amazing graphics.
So try out your ideas in small test scenarios. Then tie them together.
5 years ago
I do that too when I am at my self-defeating best. I catch myself prioritizing code problems over game problems; architecture versus more levels, design patterns versus more puzzles. I think I've traced it to the root: it's because I have more faith in my ability to solve technical problems than I have faith in my ability to make a fun game. In short, for me, it's fear of failure.
I'm a perfectionist about my codebases and I've received a lot of positive reinforcement throughout my career that tells me that's the right problem to solve and that I'm good at it. It's not the case with my game, though. Finishing the game is the right problem to solve
. All else is secondary. And I'd rather my finished game fail with an audience than my half-finished game never see the light of day.
Ways I've distracted myself: start a game engine
, start a level editor
Code organization is only a problem when it's a problem. Performance is only a problem when it's a problem. Finishing the game is the only problem that matters.
All this to say: yup, right there with you. ( =
What helped me a lot is to make a list of things to do: player abilities to implement, how to save and load a game, menu system, etc. Each thing that I didn't think I could solve in about four hours I broke down into smaller bits. Once I had a few of those I reorganized them into "fun" and "maintenance". I do a fun thing to motivate me and build momentum, then I do a maintenance thing to make me feel better about my codebase.
I've been exactly in your spot. I've made game engines that sucked and all sorts of things other than actually making a game.
And then I went to a game jam.
Find one in your area.
Best thing that ever happened to me.
I had 48 hours to have something to show, and that got me going for real.
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