Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Results of MiniLD20: A little introspection

Warning: This blog post has a lot of introspection and very little technical things, you can skip it if you're just interested in how games are made by other people.

As strange as it sounds I actually made a game.
Well.. it can barely be called a game and I'm not proud of it in the slightest.
I have to admit the theme kind of screwed me over since I'm no good with abstract themes, but still I probably could've done better.
The "game" was a small non animated tank with a drill on it going through a series of letters that spelled "GREED" and they disappeared when it touched them. I didn't even add particle effects. After destroying all of them a big "you win" creen appeared and that's it.
It was complete and utter piece of shit that would probably make this world better if it never existed.
So... why I am blogging about it?
Well... Once I made and submitted it it occured to me that it actually works as a poof of concept for my engine. I didn't have any problems making it. The coding party took only a few minutes and while I did it in an hour, most of that time was spent chatting on Ludumdare IRC channel and watching youtube videos.
So... what does "proof of concept" mean to me? Well, I realized how easy is to add new mechanics in my engine, and I saw how all those time made my engine better and better!
Then why didn't I made more games on it?
The problem is with me getting caught in the details, and not being able to complete a project on my own. I have lots of Ideas for new gameplay mechanics and I can apply them quickly but that's about it for me. I love developing new stuff more than I like polishing it and working with it for longer periods of time. I also invent new mechanics without thinking of how they can be used in the actual game, rather than just a toy to play around with.
For example: after spending some hours programming after I've released my miniLD20 piece of crap (AKA "game" ) I made a small prototype where you controlled a kind of protozoar with to tails.
Here's a screenie:

And that was about it.
I really can't think of any interesting gameplay for it, I'm only good in adding new feature/mechanic and then letting it go without using it again.

Another new mechanic I added was kind of a gravity field, it's kind of a coming back to roots thing as I've done that already before on my old version of the engine (while it was still called El_Poho). But then I've lost my will to use it.

So... why can't I continue working on something and then eventually turn it into a game?
I have a few theories.
The main one is that I need leadership. I've noticed that when I work in teams during classes I make a very bad leader, and a very bad follower, however being the right hand mand of the leader is the perfect spot for me: I get my share of power so I can expand my creativity,but the leader is always directing my actions so I don't get sidetracked so easily. Any other position for me ends up badly. I love to be where the action is and I love challenges but it's hard for me to know what to do next.

Second reason is that I want to do new innovative stuff. But as soon as I implement the hardest part of it it stops looking so innovative for me and I get bored with it. And since I work alone on my project there's noone telling me "you need to finish doing this game/project". Although I shouldn't, I rely heavily on outside influence when I see other people stop caring about what I do I stop as well, and fall into procrastination.

There's probably a few other reaasons to my lack of finished projects but This post is already long as it is.
Sorry for making you read about myself but sometimes I need to vent my anxieties somewhere.


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