Monday, January 23, 2012

Only When Done Will I Know

Game development has proven itself time and time again to be a dreadful leech of motivation. In the beginning of the process one is excited. Ideas whiz about in the mind and the soul gets giddy at the potential. These feelings combine to make the designer feel that the game they are about to make is going to be one of the greatest every. This is fine. All creative types need to experience this initial momentum. However, it is at this point, from my personal experience, that one's emotions regarding their project can go one of two ways. Either the ecstasy inflates the ideas to a point where the vision is impossible to realize or the rationality and cynicism downplays the ambition so that what the designer is working on becomes uninteresting.

To succeed, a balance must be found between these two to keep the game designer motivated until the very end.

Recently, I have been keeping this balance by challenging myself to add new elements into my game that require me to go out of the way to learn something new. Whether it is using trigonometry to write more complex drawing algorithms or experimenting with art styles and animation, challenging myself keeps my mind busy enough that I do not worry about the current, incomplete state of my game. Overcoming these problems provides me with enough satisfaction and confidence that I keep the will to push onward. Only until the game is done will one know if their vision has been fully realized. Prototyping helps to give a taste of this, but it is only that; a taste. Visions fade and the mind starts to doubt the game's potential. This is dangerous for the game designer!

These pitfalls I describe are particularly starting to inflict me hard on my current project. This is not to whine; I am just trying to keep myself self aware and accountable. With this game, much of the experience relies on everything tying together to form one, large cohesive whole. Unfortunately, I need to build this experience with small, individual parts. This process is long and awkward.

I have been continuing work on the prototype. There has been so much added since I last posted: stage headers, balloons, new clocks, etc. I probably should have kept a list of revisions, but I am an amateur who is working alone, so I think I can let that pass on this project.

An image, to delight and inform:

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