ID:153440
 
It's that time again! That's right, it's that time of year when I conjure the motivation to start working on one of my unfinished projects amongst the legions of others.

This is when I began to question why I continuously lose motivation for the projects that I work on. Why? Lack of interest, right? It seems to me that a lot of people tend to bail out as soon as the core engine of their game is made. (This is evident in roguelikes moreso than other games ;))

Obviously, the more time that you put into your game, the more more 'depth' that the game will have. Therefore, it's not possible to make a really indepth game in a short amount of time. There's no way around putting a lot of work into the game. That's what so many of the well-known roguelikes took the better part of several years to create.

I think that game features are where most people get stuck. As I said above, a lot of people leave their projects once the core engine is done. No bells or whistles, just a nice foundation that is screaming out to be built upon. Perhaps this is the (read: my) problem. A nicely-trimmed engine with a huge daunting amount of space for expansion that will fill up the game. (Note: when I say 'game features' I'm referring to all of the additions to the game that are seperate from the core engine)

I've been blabbing on a lot about nothing, so I'll try to get to the meat of this topic, which I wasn't particularly sure of from the start. Perhaps I'm just in a rambling mood, hoping that somebody gets something out of this. ;)

When you -- assuming you are a developer -- work on your game(s), what order do you go about doing things? Do you write the game engine out in its entirity then plug in the game features, or do you add stuff in as you go along? If you have better luck with getting motivation than me, I'd like to ask how you stay on your project, and not waver onto an idea that's appealing 'at the moment'.

I look forward to hearing your secrets. :)
The games i make, i just start coding and then go with whats on my mind when i start. But the problem with that is that the games i make are more of a hobby than actually making games for people to play over byond. Thats why i usually leave the projects that i work on by myself alone for a while and then come back to them once i learned some more thing about the coding language.
But if im in a team, then all that needs to be done is to tell me what needs to be coded, then i'll be right on it. So it seems like i need outside influence to get me working on a game seriously.
I usually flesh out the engine as I go; it's much more fun that way, although it occasionally means you have to redo bits to make it all play nicely together. It also means you can test engine features as you go.

Of course, there is a point where the engine is completed and there's only content to fill in. I like that point. =) It doesn't happen in all projects; a board game, for example, is almost all engine (depending on what you classify as "engine"), whereas an RPG can have a significant amount of content (maps, items, etc.)
When you -- assuming you are a developer -- work on your game(s), what order do you go about doing things? Do you write the game engine out in its entirity then plug in the game features, or do you add stuff in as you go along? If you have better luck with getting motivation than me, I'd like to ask how you stay on your project, and not waver onto an idea that's appealing 'at the moment'.

The problem with my development is that I don't commit to my plans. I believe, personally, that I should do the former. Matter of factly, I do the latter. I've recently attempted to convince myself to work on the core first, and then add glitz later, and that worked for a while... until I started encountering errors in the core. These errors were demoralising, and I sought other forms of ways to relax -- which meant that I turned right back to adding glitz again.

In the time since the very strange bugs with Haven's second demo (which is an understatement), I've grafted in base code for the game's weather system and theology system. =P
Me, I rarely get past the graphics, and if I do, I usually stumble upon one of BYOND's limitations that, while it may be possible to work around it, destroys my motivation to continue. I'd love to have some fully functional engines to tamper with...
I find I have several differnt walls.
First, if I get tripped up by real life I'll drift away from the project. Ie, going on a holiday for a week.

Then I've got the lack of challange. I need to be either challanged or not thinking. So I can do a huge system and I can do filler work (such as making hundreds of items from a template), but I find it difficult to stick to the easy systems such as equip controls or shops.

Now I come to the big one, being distracted by new ideas. When I have an idea for a system and then find I can't use it in the current game I'll create a whole game in my head centered around the system.
I've also got about five game types I want to make. So I skip from type to type (I've got like ten RTS RPGs, ten team battle games, turn based RPGs all on the brink of being finished).

Also, I don't release my games until I've got past at least alpha. I prefere this because I don't like players playing an unfinished game, but as a side effect it stops be from being committed to a project. I can dump what I'm doing at any time and no one will notice, while if I had a community waiting for the next version I would work a little harder.
In response to DarkView (#5)
Oh, I forgot the most common reason I get bored of a project and dump it. I never feel like I'm making any progress.
I could work for twenty minutes and create half the game and it still wouldn't feel like I've made any progress. Why? Because I see it all changing. Sort of like if you've known someone since they were a kid, it never really registers that they don't look exactly like they did when they were little.
I try to build the engine to completion and then work on features. My problem is I'm the "ditch the project after the engine is complete type". I'll get the game working like I want and then never fill in the storyline, maps, icons, and whatever other monotonous tasks are associated with creating a game. If only there was a way to transfer thoughts to code and icons instantaneously, but then what would I do about the maps? It never ends.

Cadence

Edit: Using LummoxJR's SwapMap library I could create a game made from code and icons instantaneously generated from my thoughts.
Malver wrote:
When you -- assuming you are a developer -- work on your game(s), what order do you go about doing things? Do you write the game engine out in its entirity then plug in the game features, or do you add stuff in as you go along? If you have better luck with getting motivation than me, I'd like to ask how you stay on your project, and not waver onto an idea that's appealing 'at the moment'.

Generally speaking, I definitely prefer developing the engine first; I do tend to develop stuff in a fairly modular fashion, but always in a back-to-front manner, working on all the background support stuff first and gradually fleshing it out. I'm a bit of a tinkerer and often end up working in a very hands-on, poke-this-and-see-what-it-does fashion, but this doesn't get you very far; I end up accomplishing more when I can just sit and build these elaborate frameworks with relatively little testing until the whole thing comes together (it's probably inadvisable to build the entire game this way, but on a module-by-module basis it works well).
In response to DarkView (#5)
i first think of the type of game i want to do, figure out what kind of things would be ok on it, brain storm with a few other people and then code the very basics and then start working on those features.
Malver wrote:
When you -- assuming you are a developer -- work on your game(s), what order do you go about doing things? Do you write the game engine out in its entirity then plug in the game features, or do you add stuff in as you go along? If you have better luck with getting motivation than me, I'd like to ask how you stay on your project, and not waver onto an idea that's appealing 'at the moment'.

I've been working on Intermundia for a long time now, and
have added absolutely no content so far
(Although a LITTLE glitz - Character creation, account
management, administrative commands, basic socials,
communication). My MUD has 3 rooms. The same 3 rooms it had
in the first day of development which I used fleshing out
the room and movement system.

In my case, working on pure engine has gotten pretty dull.
I've done it for nearly a year on and off, and I still have
some of the hardest things left to do (Better interactive
AI, migration, player-ruled cities).

What helps me keep myself alive when working on the core is
continually updating a Design document with possible ideas
for fleshing out the game, alongside the design document for the engine.

I've moved over to squashing some remaining bugs in the
core, then adding some amount of content to test the
existing game features (Like combat, groups, etc).

I think it depends on the game just as much as the person(s)
who are programming. I've rewritten Intermundia a total of
3 times. The first time I didn't develop the engine in a way
that made sense, and ended up with so many bugs I tossed it
all away and used it for reference.

The second time it got deleted by accident (And being the
smart programmer I am, I had a backup. Dated 7 months back.
Whoops!), but I developed content and engine alongside
eachother. It worked fine, but I ended up locking my options
by making certain irrational [From an engine-related view]
decisions that actually prevented me from further developing
certain content.

The third time (This time) I've developed pure engine the
entire time. I have roughly 75% of the *initial framework
done for the entire game to function, whereafter I can work
on pure content. I can now develop the content exactly like
I want it, in the fashion I want it, because the engine is
open-ended and structured well enough effeciency-wise to
allow it.

Im not sure on my motivation for Intermundia, exactly. Maybe
its because there are no real **MUD's on BYOND. Maybe its
because I have gotten much further on this game than any
other I have attempted. Maybe its because I love the games,
and the ability to focus so much more on design and content
than you can with a ***graphical counterpart.

<hr>
* I say initial because as an MMORPG, the framework is always continually updated to allow for new features to budge in.

** Please don't take up thread-space by arguing this point. I mean MUD in the sense that its been used for the last 20 years in the online RPG community, a telnet-capable text game starting back in the days of DIKU and its predecessors

*** I mean this in the sense that you don't spend time looking at graphical limitations and doing things related to graphics. Of course telnet-based games on BYOND have limitations as well, but those are bugs that I dearly hope get squashed at some point (AHEM!)
In response to Alathon (#10)
Alathon wrote:
Im not sure on my motivation for Intermundia, exactly. Maybe
its because there are no real **MUD's on BYOND. Maybe its
because I have gotten much further on this game than any
other I have attempted. Maybe its because I love the games,
and the ability to focus so much more on design and content
than you can with a ***graphical counterpart.
<hr>
> *** I mean this in the sense that you don't spend time looking at graphical limitations and doing things related to graphics. Of course telnet-based games on BYOND have limitations as well, but those are bugs that I dearly hope get squashed at some point (AHEM!)


I definitely agree on this count. Graphically-based games can display information to the player in a much faster, more precise, and more time-sensitive manner than text-based games can (particularly telnet or telnet-style games), but text is so much more fluid and freeform in the types of information it can convey. DM (like basically any other language/platform) is much handier at dynamically putting together text than it is dynamically putting together icons.
I've been working on A Game of Kings for a year, year and ah half now ( I spend maybe 5mins a day on it but it adds up...) and I find the lack of motivation for me to be in the byond system... it's limitations ground me to have to just accept and deal with things, which disapoints me.

Then there's the factor that graphics make up probably 50% of is it good or not (look at now day games... mostly graphics!) probably not as much on byond but still if you can't do good graphics and everything looks like crap then you become unmotivated because it doesn't look professional...
In response to Leftley (#11)
Leftley wrote:
DM (like basically any other language/platform) is much handier at dynamically putting together text than it is dynamically putting together icons.

Lexy's game is a good example of that. Its a lot easier to describe a gamma radiated gargantuan robot with a sawed-off shotgun than it is to make the graphics for one. :P