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Game Progression [motivational Article]


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#1 Glen

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 09:11 PM

Can't finish your games? Tired of failing to complete your projects? Thinking about quitting game maker because you can never get anything done? Ha. Here's an article I've written to point out some easy ways to keep your game on track and maybe introduce a new strategy to keep your project organized.

Nothing will ever get done if you don't take the time to plan out your game and focus on one thing at a time. If you're in a situation where you want to make a game, then ask yourself what kind of game you want and start simple. I prefer drawing pictures to get me going. That way I can picture what the game should look like when it's done. And from there I tend to make outlines of features added to the game. Before you know it, I have a story of what the game will be about and some sketches on what kind of graphics it will have. With that in mind, I believe it's safe to say everyone an get that far with a project. But once you get started on the coding, people get side tracked. One thing I would like to throw out there is be careful reviewing other games in different genres of the one you're making. The imagery of me planning my game was a simple task that anyone can do, but something that will kill your game production is doing all that planning and maybe some of the coding, and then looking at another game and wanting to make a different game... And so you say, I'll put this game aside and work on this new game for a little while. That is the first step to killing a project. You'll end up going back to it and give up again every time a new idea pops into your head. Stick to your original plan. Focus on a game and don't let anything side track you until it is done.

Get involved in your game. Talk to people, show them what your game is going to be like. If you have friends at home or in school, discuss some ideas and share your little notes about the plans you've made. Get motivated! If you put a lot of time and effort into a game, you're going to feel good about it and want to complete it. And if you take your time with the project, you're going to get greater results. If your game is taking forever to make, don't give up. No one ever said you could make a good game in a week, or a month. Sometimes, time is what a game needs. Just think about how your game will look after all the time you put into it. It's definitely rewarding to take your time and make sure you do things right. Just because other game developers on this forum making dozens of updates a week and have hundreds or even thousands of views on their project topic, does not mean that you should give up because you're not getting the same results. If you look at those topics, you'll notice that they were created several months or years ago. Time is rewarding. Don't let impatience ruin your game.

I mentioned earlier that I advise not playing so many games outside your current game project, for they give you ideas that couldn't/shouldn't be implemented into your game which would lead you to starting a different project. But, I do advise you playing games similar to the ideal game you're looking to make. Use them as motivational goals in which they have features that you are looking forward to implementing into your game, or maybe they have a style in their graphics that you wish to pick up on. It's good to look at what has been done and from there you learn and go beyond what has been done through sheer inspiration.

Procrastination is something you want to avoid. If you don't know the word, become familiar with it because I guarantee that you experience it quite frequently. To procrastinate is to lay things off and think to yourself "oh, I'll do it later." With an attitude like that you'll never get anything done. You may experience this when you know that you have something that's difficult to do or just very time consuming and you just don't feel like doing it at that moment but convince yourself that you'll get around to it another day. That's a big mistake. If you like to take things small and do the easy things, that's ok. But, when it comes to the long and complex stuff, don't let it bother you. Just break it down into smaller pieces and take a stab at it one piece at a time. You'll thank yourself in the end because all those small pieces add up to something you thought you could never complete. Don't let a difficult task bring you down. Break the task down, and overcome the hardest parts of your projects with ease.

To get a boost on your next project, maybe you should consider making a routine. A routine is something that I don't see often when it comes to game developing. An idea that I've been thinking about is have a particular part of your game worked on a certain day of the week. Mondays- Storyline/Scenes/Effects, Tuesdays- player, Wednesdays- AI, Thursdays- Environment/scenery, Fridays- GUI, etc... If you switched things up you would not get bored so easily while making your game. I hate trying to code the ai for a week or draw sprites for a week at a time. I'd rather spread it out and do a little bit of everything. That way your game as a whole progresses rather than just one area. A game who suffers in graphics is a game that doesn't give enough attention to images where as a game that lacks a decent computer AI system neglects their AI code. Progress your project as a whole. Don't fail to work on everything. Your game will suffer.

All in all, good games don't just happen. If you're not getting things done, you need to think about what's making you side tracked. If it's the random new ideas springing into your head that's bringing your games to a halt then try to implement them into your game if they fit the genre. Innovation is nice but if it doesn't fit the game, don't make a new game. Just forget about the idea. If organization is your problem, then try writing things down and talk to people around you. Bored much? Play a game similar to what your game is destined to be like. Get some inspiration. And lastly, I suggest you follow a routine so your game progresses as a whole leaving no room for discouragement. That's all I have to say. Stick to your plans and follow them through if you want any success. That's just the way of life.

Edited by Glen, 23 April 2009 - 07:47 PM.

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#2 Yal

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 09:57 PM

It's a good idea of you making this topic. I've identified some factors in myself having me having these eleven WIPs because I switched projects... And now I can get better at focusing! ;) Some of the ideas you have doesn't match my way of working, though, but the main idea works as good as having one's parents forcing one to do stuff. :) Thanks again.
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#3 Glen

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 10:15 PM

Some of the ideas you have doesn't match my way of working.

Can you go into more detail about this? For example, explaining what your way of working is?
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#4 chaz13

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 10:20 PM

I would never complete a game if I kept to a routine, but good thread.
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#5 Glen

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 10:40 PM

I would never complete a game if I kept to a routine, but good thread.

How do you keep your projects on track then? Not everyone works the same way. I'm interested in hearing your strategy.
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#6 chaz13

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 10:44 PM

I just... do ;)

I work on the easy parts of the game whenever I have some time to do a bit of work, then I work on harder things when I have more time. I tend to make everything very simply first, then build up on it. Sometimes I'll intergrate systems that I won't even use for months, like pathfinding.
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#7 Glen

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 10:50 PM

I just... do ;)

I work on the easy parts of the game whenever I have some time to do a bit of work, then I work on harder things when I have more time. I tend to make everything very simply first, then build up on it. Sometimes I'll intergrate systems that I won't even use for months, like pathfinding.


Doing the simple coding is always a good start. I tend to do basic movement and work my way up to collisions and complex physics. It's never a good idea to stress yourself out early in development. Keeping it simple is the way to go.
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#8 iluvfuz

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 12:00 AM

I always become demotivated in my projects, but I'm determined to finish Paroxysm this time. Also, compliments are a form of motivation, but it's hard to get from people if the game really isn't that good. You can't really help that.
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#9 Glen

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 01:28 AM

I always become demotivated in my projects, but I'm determined to finish Paroxysm this time. Also, compliments are a form of motivation, but it's hard to get from people if the game really isn't that good. You can't really help that.

Compliments are good, but they're not everything. Most of my motivation comes from my friends at school who like games. Their excitement is what inspires me. It's always good to talk to people. Posting your game on the forums and expecting feedback from complete strangers is not a good way to motivate yourself. lol, I actually saw someone post a game and said "Give me feedback or I quit". Avoid being someone like that. No one wants to talk to someone with that kind of attitude.
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#10 crunchy games

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 02:41 AM

Could you add something about not procrastinating?

I usually find myself doing the easiest stuff first, and I find myself not getting much done, because the easiest things are small. I then play another game, quit, get pessimistic, and never come back to it.

Glen, there was once a team request for writers for a Gm type of magazine. There's like 5 bucks an article, and you seem the perfect writer for it. I don't mean to advertise, I just want to compliment you on your awesome writing skills.
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#11 CalixJumi

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 03:19 AM

nice topic, im too one of the neverending -.-

My problem is the graphics-story, i mean for example im making a game (right now) that its 2D-platform, i have the storyline and my problems start here.
How to combine the storyline with the game, my character may wander in a city or village but when i start making a city or something its troublesome the graphics to create it (just cause im not good at graphics) and the dialogs they are going to say, how are they going to say, the reactions or emotions they have to show or in case the animation or scene they have to do. Thats my biggest alltime trouble.

please, i need your advice...
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#12 Glen

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 05:06 PM

procrastinating

I usually find myself doing the easiest stuff first, and I find myself not getting much done, because the easiest things are small. I then play another game, quit, get pessimistic, and never come back to it.

Sure I'll add something about procrastinating. Procrastination will kill everybody one day. It's definitely something that everyone should consider changing if they suffer from it. I procrastinate a lot and I wish I wouldn't so much. It puts too much pressure on you in the end and you lose all your motivation to finish anything.

My problem is the graphics-story, i mean for example im making a game (right now) that its 2D-platform, i have the storyline and my problems start here.
How to combine the storyline with the game, my character may wander in a city or village but when i start making a city or something its troublesome the graphics to create it (just cause im not good at graphics) and the dialogs they are going to say, how are they going to say, the reactions or emotions they have to show or in case the animation or scene they have to do. Thats my biggest alltime trouble.

please, i need your advice...


A simple solution to your graphics problem would be to just practice. Look around for some tutorials on the style you want. I know from experience that practice always helped me and there's plenty of resources on the internet with step by step tutorials. Drawing can be a put down for some. Not everyone is an artist, but everyone has the potential to be one. :)

Your problem with the dialogs and scenes is just a lack of creativity. Just take some time to think about how other games do it. When you're walking around and you come across an NPC the dialog will appear with the name of the npc, possibly a picture of the npc's face, and the words they're saying. With scenes you could make dialogs appear the way comic books do it using bubble messages. If a design is the problem, then just create a topic on ideas for implementing dialog into scenes, or something of the like. That's what this forum is for. Discuss a problem and hear other peoples' ideas.

I encourage everyone to use this forum to their advantage, as well as the other forums dedicated to helping. Doing everything yourself may impact your ability to get things done. Talking to others will defiantly boost your motivation to try harder and learn new things. Your project will benefit from it.
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#13 copperdragon

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 06:17 PM

Well, I've been making many topics about games which I worked on, but haven't finished them. I recently decided not to make WIP topic unless I have practically finished game. And I finally made it, the only thing left was correcting some bugs and language mistakes. Oh, and following players suggestions. Maybe that is something - make game to make WIP topic instead of making WIP topic to get motivation to making game. Fortunately I had successfull will saving throws and when I tought about sending topic with not finished project, I stopped myself ("not yet, not yet..."). :)

I also wonder about one more thing: not leaving game for too long time. I mean: maybe have a break with game for few days, but return to it after not too long time, so you remember what these variables were for. And don't get frustrated, when you really don't want to create game, give up for some time, imagine how this game will look when you finally finish it, talk to people :D and return to it with conviction that this is worth this time you spend on it.

Of course, this probably won't work for every people - there are creaters which can keep routine and creaters which need positive thinking (probably most of creaters need some of these elements).
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#14 GeEom

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 06:40 PM

careful planning is infact, to my opinion, NOT the way to ecorage yourself to progress, as it only serves to remind one the one has yet more and more to do, and also constrains the evolution of your game, if you have a fluid objective you are more likely to explore the limits of the potential for the game...
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#15 Glen

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 10:13 PM

careful planning is infact, to my opinion, NOT the way to ecorage yourself to progress, as it only serves to remind one the one has yet more and more to do, and also constrains the evolution of your game, if you have a fluid objective you are more likely to explore the limits of the potential for the game...

I can see where you're going with this. If you're the type of person who doesn't want to be reminded about how much work is ahead then yes, a fluid objective might be the way to go with things. It's just that some people may not know where their project is going if they don't have a plan. A fluid approach would mean to just make it up as you go and where ever your game ends up is where it ends. You could end up with a completely different outcome. If you have an idea of what you want your game to look like then you should at least plan out what you have to do, such as the big features of the game. If long lists of things to do steals your motivation away then make smaller outlines of what you're about to get yourself into. That way you're following some kind of path that will all in all lead your project in the way it should be going. Planning just keeps things organized. Without a plan, projects can get chaotic and all hope is lost.
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#16 Glen

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 01:16 PM

Another thing that I would like to add is, if people say your game sucks, use that as motivation to make it better. If they continue to think it sucks, continue to improve it until there's no reason for people to complain about it. Make it a challenge for you. You're looking to impress people and get them to play your game. If they're not happy, you're not happy. And when you actually get to the point where people are starting to change their minds, don't stop improving. No one is ever completely satisfied.
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