Author Topic: Let Go, Dude. Just Make The Game.  (Read 2581 times)

stepsoversnails

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Let Go, Dude. Just Make The Game.
« on: 12 Jul 2012, 23:22 »
So when i first found out about AGS, 3 years ago, i was very excited to make a game. I've since tried to design over 10 games, some big ideas and some small. I have this one great idea that i've become very protective of and feel, as an artist, it could be one of my greatest accomplishments. that being said, i've decided not to make it until i actually am better artistically and as a game designer. I'd hate to squander my great idea due to lack of experience. This thought led to the idea of making a "test game". But even when i try to make a game to simply test my skills, i get carried away. It's not like i'm over ambitious, which has been a problem before. it's more that i just want it to be a great game. even if it's just a test. I can't bring myself to let go of that and just freaking make something. I see people on these forums releasing great little games and i so badly want to contribute to that but i can't bring myself to lower expectations of myself and make something that i might not like in a few years time.
I suppose i just need some advice or something. Maybe somebody who understands can share their experience.

monkey0506

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Re: Let Go, Dude. Just Make The Game.
« Reply #1 on: 12 Jul 2012, 23:30 »
What you need to do is make an Oceanspirit Dennis game. When you're done, make another.

I actually feel similarly any time I try to implement "programmer's art". I feel like vomiting all over the keyboard and then burning the computer so it never again has to see the light of day.

Seeing as your main concerns are artistic skill and capabilities as a game designer, OSD is the perfect place to start, because seriously, in that universe, the worse your game is, the better.

Baron

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Re: Let Go, Dude. Just Make The Game.
« Reply #2 on: 12 Jul 2012, 23:46 »
Do a MAGS game with somebody.  If it's not just you there'll be more pressure to release it at the deadline, warts and all.  You know what da Vinci said: Art is never finished, only abandoned. 

Crimson Wizard

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Re: Let Go, Dude. Just Make The Game.
« Reply #3 on: 12 Jul 2012, 23:55 »
Do a MAGS game with somebody.  If it's not just you there'll be more pressure to release it at the deadline, warts and all.
That was actually how I made my only two games so far :)

Armageddon

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Re: Let Go, Dude. Just Make The Game.
« Reply #4 on: 12 Jul 2012, 23:58 »
I have the same problem, but not for AGS games. I have the idea that everything I make needs to be perfect, and when someone plays a game I made they will know how much work went into it. Something that has helped me along is to get the base of the game done, the menus, controls, coding, objects or anything that you will be reusing. And then worry about making the art and such. Just keep trying and learning, and someday you will make a pretty good game. MAGS and stuff is a good idea too.

KodiakBehr

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Re: Let Go, Dude. Just Make The Game.
« Reply #5 on: 13 Jul 2012, 05:16 »
I sincerely empathize with your feelings, as I'm sure every person here who has ever created any content does, but if your fear of imperfection is going to prevent you from learning and mastering a craft, then you had best start thinking of yourself as a critic rather than an artist.


ThreeOhFour

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Re: Let Go, Dude. Just Make The Game.
« Reply #6 on: 13 Jul 2012, 06:14 »
Something totally important to remember is that it's ok to show that you're learning.

The first game I coded myself I built in 3 days. The second took 5 days. The third a couple of weeks, the fourth a month, etc. When I play these I think "Oh god these animations are terrible" but at the time I had convinced myself to release a game with terrible animations because all of my other projects had died because I tried to do insanely complex animations and I was sick of people not playing my games.

Being protective of your ideas kinda makes sense... except you're a game designer, and therefore as soon as you finish one game you're bound to think of 10 more that you want to make. Ideas are so common and easy to come across that I laugh whenever people say "Hey, I'll join your team and be the one who comes up with the ideas" because I have too many gosh-darn ideas of my own and I will never be able to make/finish all of them! The problem of having so many dang ideas is so great that Terry Cavanagh made a new year's resolution at the start of the year to not work on any new ideas, just finish up all his old ones (has failed miserably, making something like 10 new games (including little jam games) so far for the year).

In 2008 I was working on a game called Lode and I loved it and put so much time into it and I thought it was the best idea and it never got done because I could never get the game good enough. Now? I think the idea behind Lode was dumb and lame, and the only thing that has stopped me from finishing the game up is that I have infinity other games that I think are based around better ideas. My project folder with all the different prototypes and demos that I've made and want to turn into a full game at some point has about 20 games in it, all based around totally different ideas. A coder asked me if I wanted a hand making something earlier in the year and I sent him 6 demos and said "pick one" basically.

Just try and make something in one room, with 4 puzzles and a very simple plot. You'll probably hate it a year later, but you'll have released something, and nothing inspires me to make more games than releasing a game and going "Right, let's make something so much better than that!"

Maybe this won't work for you - heaven knows that there are tons of indie devs who never manage to deal with this simplification - but I hope it does because your artwork is beautiful and it always makes me smile when I look at your avatar or tumblr. Don't be afraid to ask for someone to help you with your first game, just to get something out of the door - you can always obsess over coding all of your other ideas right, and I am sure there'd be loads of people willing to help you make a little game (I would!). It doesn't hurt to compromise sometimes.

Good luck, and I look forward to playing your first game.  :cheesy:

Fitz

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Re: Let Go, Dude. Just Make The Game.
« Reply #7 on: 13 Jul 2012, 19:15 »
Ben's approach is probably the HEALTHIEST way to actually start getting things done. He has a point, too - every game he makes looks bigger and better than the last one (and pardon me for not commenting on the latest screenies, they're just MESMERIZING!). Meanwhile, it's been almost two years since I started working on my game -- and I'm still not QUITE done. I have a playable beta, and I can see the metaphorical finish line in the distance -- but it seems that I'm always two months away from getting there. But oh well, I'll get there. That's my mode of work. I like to push myself, see where my limits are. But I can't imagine working on my potential next game for another 2-3 years. I definitely need to scale it down.

See, I did a lot of creative stuff in my life. I used to write fiction, make comics... And I always started BIG, honing my skills in writing huge stories I could never finish -- or even keep them coherent. But then there'd come a moment of complete burnout. I'd leave everything -- and start writing something smaller. That's when I actually started getting them done. I'd write complete stories in two to five days. Eventually, the stories I wrote would get bigger -- and then I started writing actual novels (one that is actually fun, one that is huge in scope, but kinda flawed, and inbetween those, two that are utter crap with a bunch of cool ideas; none published, and not more than two people read them). After the last one -- a massive 600-pager -- I felt burned out again. I haven't written another in 5 years, and only a short story after finishing the last one. I desperately want to write something -- but I need to find a way to tame myself and not churn out another King-sized (pun intended) brick of a novel that'd take me 10 years to finish. The problem is, the story I have in mind definitely has the potential to be exactly that :P

So anyway, before my biography overloads the site... What I consider my greatest creative success is the ability to do something more humble once I've learnt what i can do and what takes too much time to bother. When I started my first webcomic, I spent five weeks drawing the first three-page episode -- and two weeks, seven days a week, 4-8 hours, on each consecutive page, until I reached such a level of photorealistm that someone thought these  were photos. After drawing 40 pages, I was -- again, and quite obviously - DRAINED. So then I stopped drawing for a while. Then I started working on a new comic - and saw that I'm trying to top myself - AGAIN. So I stopped and took a metaphorical U-turn. I scraped everything I drew -- and redrew it, with no shading, and only a hint of a background. And then again, making it even simplier -- until I drew this this . It's so simple that a four-year-old could draw it -- better than me! -- but it conveys the message AND has my trademark limited color palette (with complementary colors, no less). AND it took me mere minutes to do.

So, yes, simple can be fun, too -- for the player/reader, AND for the creator. So once I'm done with Gray, I'm going to make a one-room game! In 160 by 120! With two colors instead of four! No, wait! ONE color! And it's going to be an OSD game! ;)

And so should you! :D You have two hours! ;)
« Last Edit: 13 Jul 2012, 19:24 by Fitz »

Ascovel

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Re: Let Go, Dude. Just Make The Game.
« Reply #8 on: 14 Jul 2012, 02:38 »
Letting go won't work where you need drive.

To me it's all about what is the thing that drives you to finish and release a particular game - no matter if it's a complex long-term project, or just a quick test game. "Why do I want to see it done?" - that's the essential question that you should ask yourself for every project. I think very often we lie to ourselves that we want to "just make any small game" etc. when in reality we loath the very idea of playing it safe. You can't brainwash yourself to desire something like that.

To succeed at completing a game, your reasons for making that particular game must justify the amount of work you'll need to put into it, as well as the (unavoidable) weaknesses of the final outcome. So it's not just about accepting you will be unhappy with certain aspects of your work, and that you'll need to sacrifice things in it. It's about having a good enough reason to accept this. Not having a reason that's truly convincing = never completing the project.

And of course sometimes you simply lack the skill, or time, or resources to satisfy the reason that made you pick up a project. Then you either learn what you need, find the time and means, or you should at some point come to the conclusion that it's not going to work. It's there when you let it go. Better that than becoming permanently stuck.
« Last Edit: 14 Jul 2012, 02:45 by Ascovel »

Khris

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Re: Let Go, Dude. Just Make The Game.
« Reply #9 on: 14 Jul 2012, 09:41 »
The only thing that allowed me to actually finish the two games I've published so far: I've used existing assets. Get the Maniac Mansion Mania starter pack, or the RON pack, or like monkey said, the OSD pack.
That way, a) the standard of the final product is pretty much set in stone, and b) you can focus on game design and puzzles and don't have to add huge amounts of great sprites/backgrounds to the game.

Frito Master

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Re: Let Go, Dude. Just Make The Game.
« Reply #10 on: 14 Jul 2012, 09:53 »
What I do to keep my focused at least so far on a game is to start with realistic expectations.
Other then that thinking about it randomly and making up new stuff even if it isnt gonna be in the game helps too.



We should have like a sprite day every XXXX and everyone makes a sprite of something and we pack them all in to a database or file or something.

« Last Edit: 14 Jul 2012, 09:56 by Frito Master »
Your favorite brandname chip friend.

ThreeOhFour

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Re: Let Go, Dude. Just Make The Game.
« Reply #11 on: 14 Jul 2012, 10:36 »
At one point I thought about making a set of assets similar to RON, with enough locations and characters to make games for people who don't want to do their own.

But then I thought "There's already RON, and it's probably easier for people to make their own stuff in RON style than needing to get a tablet and paint backgrounds" so I kinda doubted that there would be much interest in it, so I never did anything with it.

I don't think Stepsoversnails' problem is doing the art, though, his stuff is lovely. (I could be wrong!)

Crimson Wizard

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Re: Let Go, Dude. Just Make The Game.
« Reply #12 on: 14 Jul 2012, 14:39 »
I think my biggest problem always was that I needed to be sided by someone (or side someone, depending on angle of view). I don't know, maybe it's lack of self-confidence. I can do complex things for certain period of time and be full of enthusiasm, but as time passes I start to feel disappointment. At first I thought it's like I need people's attention, but that did not actually help. I found that I sometimes loose a will to continue working even if there are people who express positive opinions towards what I do.
However, things really change if I participate in something that is being actively worked upon by several other devs. It's like I need to feel myself a part of dedicated team all the time, to know that I am not alone who cares of the project. That's weird... Although I am a grown up man already, I still can't figure how to solve this problem.

Wesray

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Re: Let Go, Dude. Just Make The Game.
« Reply #13 on: 27 Jul 2012, 13:46 »
really
THE FAR CORNERS OF THE WORLD: Chapter 2 currrently in the works...

NickyNyce

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Re: Let Go, Dude. Just Make The Game.
« Reply #14 on: 27 Jul 2012, 20:41 »
Life is too short! Like the Nike commercials say....Just do it!

No game is perfect, no matter how great you map it out, no matter how long you wait to better gain your skills, you're always gonna say...I could have done it better. If you want to make a big game, do it, but just know that it's very tough and you might quit in the middle somewhere. There are lots of tough challenges with making long games, it's very easy to lose focus and start to lose interest. It does take a special someone to follow through and finish what they start....are you one of them?

When I made my first game I knew it wasn't nearly as good as some of these games out on AGS, but that's not why I made it. I did it to learn from it and to accomplish something, good or bad (I did it for the love of adventure games). I myself would rather try to make a game and have it turn out not as good as I thought than to not make a game at all, but want to. If you keep thinking this way you'll never start or finish anything....because nothing is perfect, you just make the best of it!

Even if your game turns out to not be what you expected, you'll still appreciate the fact that you hammered through it and finished it...good or bad. Just think of all the cool games that weren't made because people wanted them to be perfect when it's almost impossible to do so....what a shame!

Jaffles

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Re: Let Go, Dude. Just Make The Game.
« Reply #15 on: 27 Jul 2012, 21:08 »
Now I'm fairly new at this but, when I discovered AGS back in December, I had no clue whether I was going to finish a game or not, but much to my surprise I actually did. Here's what helped the most for me...

I'm a big list guy. When I'm feeling like a game is an overwhelming amount of work, I sit down, and list out everything that I need to do, then I just make myself do a couple of those things every time I to work on the game. Makes progress feel much more visible and manageable... at least for me.

As my music teacher says, the hardest note to practice is always the first. Sometimes you just gotta force yourself to see it through to the end.
   

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Re: Let Go, Dude. Just Make The Game.
« Reply #16 on: 27 Jul 2012, 21:37 »
I tend to bumble a lot myself, so a MAGS would be my suggestion to start and finish a game: You get drive and it's clear that even a small game will be quite an accomplishment. Releasing games is super-helpful if you are still developing style because you'll show your work and get good feedback.

For Chance Of The Dead I had a simple motivator, a grid of the month divided into four sections: framework, beta, polish, testing. Ticking of a day simply reminded me of the time I had to fish a certain task without being too specific. It was very helpful.

Also, we're hobbyists. These days the number of "quality" games has increased, but I think it's safe to say that no-one here would be terrible offended by a short solid game that lacks top-notch insert-feature-here.

I'd also like to mention that the best of us frequently admit how much their first games suck, in their eyes. It's only natural I think- we live and learn and improve (and then sit down and start making OSD games  (laugh) )

Snake

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Re: Let Go, Dude. Just Make The Game.
« Reply #17 on: 27 Jul 2012, 22:45 »
Quote from: Benji
...and I was sick of people not playing my games.
And NOW look at you! YOU MONSTER!!1
Grim: "You're making me want to quit smoking... stop it!;)"
miguel: "I second Grim, stop this nonsense! I love my cigarettes!"