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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:50 am 
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This issue has been kind of pledging me for the whole year, and I kind of want to get it off of my chest.

I've been in a continual state of wishing that I would make a game on the NES, but I always set the goals and requirements so lofty that I don't even properly begin. It always ends up as just being another exercise in rewriting init and video update code. For example the project I started out with was "a simple space shooter because Action 52 had 'too many shooters'" and ended up becoming "A space shooter with meticulously designed scenarios like Ikaruga or Gradius V, with background animation so complex it would literally be a precomputed FMV". Given the complexity of what that idea became and the resources that it would take, it would have a release date of no sooner then 2020, and would require that I contract a pixel animator and chiptune musician.

I feel like quitting nesdev outright, but I do not have a potential audience anywhere else. Not where I live, not from the college I graduated from, and definitely not from any other independent game development community.

I know that really the core issue is that I'm not disciplined in getting computer things done and published. That much is clear from my portfolio of unfinished and unpublished things for the past 11 years. People in my life may praise me for being the "computer guy" but what's that worth when things I set out to do don't get done, and when I can't even get my own shit together why should I expect myself to work with anyone else. Because ultimately it's not about me or my grand ideas, it's about how I can help everyone I meet.

I don't know where I'm going with this, but maybe just me typing this block of text is how will begin to get out of this rut of doing nothing.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:06 pm 
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JRoatch wrote:
I feel like quitting nesdev outright, but I do not have a potential audience anywhere else. [...] definitely not from any other independent game development community.

Why not? I've always found the indie game community very welcoming.

Anyway, this is a really common problem that I'd guess almost everyone on this board is afflicted with, to some degree or another. It's really common among programmers (and creative types) in general I think.

There's not a whole lot to do except to try to teach yourself discipline and stay focused. It doesn't have anything to do with NESDev - ambitions are like a gas, they'll expand to fill whatever container you give them.

Maybe try doing a quick game jam like Ludum Dare, if you can find time? A time constraint like that can keep you from losing interest or from allowing your ideas to get to grandiose, and the feeling of accomplishment you can get if you finish can be really empowering. And if you can't finish, it'll help you re-calibrate your sense of the possible for next time.

Also - and I apologize if this is a weird or too-personal suggestion - I also think that chatting with a therapist about some of this (and whatever else) might be helpful.

Incidentally, where are you located? You'd be surprised at how many places have indie game scenes, and I think having a real life community connection to people interested in your project/around to bounce ideas off of/work together with can be pretty powerful too.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:14 pm 
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IDK what it's worth, and these types of inner conflict often depend on the person. Big projects are tough to complete, period. I'm no pro at this, but the best way I've found to tackle the challenges of a large project is forming habits. If I can get myself in a DAILY habit of working on the project it becomes much easier to work on.

Figuring out what barriers in your daily life are keeping you from spending 30mins working on the project and mitigating/breaking down those barriers was necessary for me. I often guilted myself out of working on long term projects because I had a handful short term urgent tasks. In my mind if I could just get my task list done, I could start working on my long term project. The reality is that task list never gets done, so I kept myself from working on those long term projects. I had to get into the habit of knocking out one or two items on my task list, and then freeing myself to work on the fun long term projects for the remainder of the day/evening guilt free. I had to figure out a daily habit that allowed me to overcome my barriers.

When I'm in the habit of working on a project everyday, the benefits are not just additive of the time spent; they're more like exponential. I find myself thinking about your current problems in the project when doing otherwise worthless tasks like driving, washing the dishes, etc. I fall asleep with a bug I can't squash and suddenly waking up with the cause and fix in the morning. Without long breaks between working on the project I don't have to spend time reviewing commit logs from months/weeks ago just to recall what the next task is I should be working on. Maybe even better than getting in the habit of working on the project on a daily basis, would be to get in the habit of making a repo commit once a day however small/insignificant it might seem. When I'm in a daily habit of working on a project it's fun to tend to instead of getting the feeling like it's glooming over me and I'm unlikely to complete it. Personally that's huge, as I start to feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel because I see the progress every day.

Beyond that there's probably plenty of advice about setting obtainable project goals that are worthwhile. But for me regardless of how obtainable the project was, It's unlikely I'll complete something if I can't get in a daily habit of working on it. Creating project constraints before even starting can be helpful, and then keeping that scope commitment to yourself. But I think that's one of the biggest reasons people choose the NES for game development.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:37 pm 
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You don't need discipline to finish things. You just need to pick projects that can be finished in days, rather than weeks. Or months. Or years.

Anyone can remain focused for a few days. Figure out how long you can focus and then pick a project that takes half as long.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:05 pm 
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adam_smasher wrote:
Incidentally, where are you located? You'd be surprised at how many places have indie game scenes

I often joked to myself that "If people of the internet knew where I lived, they would surely kill me".
With that aside, I live about a 20 minute drive from Keyser, WV, USA

adam_smasher wrote:
Also - and I apologize if this is a weird or too-personal suggestion - I also think that chatting with a therapist about some of this (and whatever else) might be helpful.

That's alright to ask, I was expecting someone would ask this while I starting writing about quitting, and I do realize there's bunch of backlog behind all my words in this thread.
Seeing how most of the doctors around here essentially play Doctor Mario with their patients in physical health matters, I shudder to think on how mental health may be treated.

adam_smasher wrote:
Maybe try doing a quick game jam like Ludum Dare, if you can find time? A time constraint like that can keep you from losing interest or from allowing your ideas to get to grandiose, and the feeling of accomplishment you can get if you finish can be really empowering. And if you can't finish, it'll help you re-calibrate your sense of the possible for next time.

The next one of these type of things I'm going to try to do is TINS 2017, maybe there's many more Ludum Dare type things going one that I'm unaware of?

infiniteneslives wrote:
Big projects are tough to complete, period.

Brad Smith: "Making games is hard, by the way. I don't know if your mother ever told you."

infiniteneslives wrote:
I'm no pro at this, but the best way I've found to tackle the challenges of a large project is forming habits. If I can get myself in a DAILY habit of working on the project it becomes much easier to work on.

Pretty much why I said I'm not disciplined, because I don't consciously form daily habits. Something I just have to always work at.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:13 pm 
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JRoatch wrote:

"Sorry, you're not authorized to view these Tweets."


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:25 pm 
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JRoatch wrote:
infiniteneslives wrote:
I'm no pro at this, but the best way I've found to tackle the challenges of a large project is forming habits. If I can get myself in a DAILY habit of working on the project it becomes much easier to work on.

Pretty much why I said I'm not disciplined, because I don't consciously form daily habits. Something I just have to always work at.


Forming habits can be challenging as it often requires breaking other habits at the same time. Beauty of it being a habit though is that it gets easier to maintain as the habit is built. That's really where the power of the habit comes from. So try to keep that in mind when struggling to build the habit.

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If you're gonna play the Game Boy, you gotta learn to play it right. -Kenny Rogers


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:15 pm 
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JRoatch wrote:
I often joked to myself that "If people of the internet knew where I lived, they would surely kill me".
With that aside, I live about a 20 minute drive from Keyser, WV, USA

In many jurisdictions, if you sell things or have advertisements on your website, you're required by law to publish your physical address. See "Regulatory and compliance documents" on SiteTruth webmaster guide.

tokumaru wrote:
JRoatch wrote:

"Sorry, you're not authorized to view these Tweets."

Can you see anything in rainwarrior's microblog on Twitter? Or mine? If you're logged into a Twitter account, could you try a Private Browsing or Incognito window in order to get the logged-out view?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:28 pm 
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tepples wrote:
In many jurisdictions, if you sell things or have advertisements on your website, you're required by law to publish your physical address. See "Regulatory and compliance documents" on SiteTruth webmaster guide.

I still don't have ads
Nor am I selling stuff now
IANAL but I'm not located in the EU nor California
When I will accept money, third party payment processors already requires such information
How is this relevant to this topic anyway? I was trying to convey how a assumption that my opinion equals the opinion of the people in my location can cause somebody to react negatively to me. Because guilt by association sure seems to be the hot thing to do in 2016/2017.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:16 pm 
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I know how you feel. Lots of projects I started were thrown in the trash.

Pick a smaller project. Maybe submit a game for the nesdev compo. Last year we had a ton of submissions, and I was glad to play every game. And, when I finally get to play your game, I'll be happy to play that.

I kinda wish there were more people making NES games. Even smaller games.

So. Keep at it.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:08 pm 
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The essence of what I would have said nearly 100% mirrors infiniteneslives above. Building a habit of progressing on something truly is powerful.

Also:
    -Keeping a simple journal can be a powerful part of building a habit of consistently progressing on a project. Write down the date and then state your intention for the evening/afternoon etc. "Today I hope to implement the yadayada enemy/boss/routine/etc."

    -Break down larger tasks into several steps. Write DONE as you finish each step.

    -Do not punish yourself when nothing gets done. If ALL you have done is write something in your journal, that's progress. Sometimes that's necessary when you're not sure the direction you want to go, either with engine development or game design decisions. You just gotta "incubate" longer, but writing in the journal still is an act of "putting one foot in front of the other." Fun, exhilarating coding marathons happen naturally at various points in a project.

    -Feel free to just blather, or even complain in the journal. The journal is your therapist. I have more than one swear word in my journal :lol:

It's also valuable to understand really clearly why you want to make a game. A lot of folks fail to identify this, but it's very important. Once you understand why, and how important it is to you, it can help you determine whether it's worth developing the discipline needed to complete a project.

For me it's just become (next to loved ones) the #1 most important thing in my life; I cannot imagine not working on NES games in my free time, I wouldn't be whole. I probably didn't realize this until later...


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:43 pm 
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GradualGames wrote:
-Break down larger tasks into several steps. Write DONE as you finish each step.

This is the big one. Each item needs to be concrete and doable in a sitting. If you expect a step to take longer than 15 minutes to complete, break it up further.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:50 pm 
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Two words: feature creep. If you ever want to get anything done, make sure you never, ever, move the goalposts. Keep it simple, keep it short, and know when to say "IT'S DONE" and kick it out the door.

That time is not "good". Your project will never be "good". The day you call something you made "good" is the day you stop improving. So settle for "good enough" instead, and make the next project "better".

Sorry for the tryhard post, but that's what worked for me. YMMV.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:42 pm 
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^^^ I agree, though there s a thing I might note: if you consider something you might add later, for which you need to add a hook o r partial thing now, adding that partial now can be nice. But it will also probably slow you down a bit, if you didn't design it in from the start.

It is indeed a common feeling.

Doing something each day is important. Writing in your design journal (including breaking things down, puzzling out what features require what) can be progress. I am not a practitioner of good time management, though…

also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_goals


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:27 pm 
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JRoatch wrote:
This issue has been kind of pledging me for the whole year, and I kind of want to get it off of my chest.
[...]

Well, everything you said is actually just normal. Many of us are in the same case.

Quote:
A space shooter with meticulously designed scenarios like Ikaruga or Gradius V, with background animation so complex it would literally be a precomputed FMV".

Sounds great, but it does not sound like the NES would be the best platform to handle that - although fitting this on a NES might be a nice challenge. That MMC5 shooter game (was it called Uuchi Keibitai SDF or something like that) should be close to what you have in mind.

Quote:
Given the complexity of what that idea became and the resources that it would take, it would have a release date of no sooner then 2020

Honnestly if you can release a game in 3 years then it's just fine. I've been developing my 1st NES game since 2004, still not finished to this day.

Quote:
I feel like quitting nesdev outright

If you really feel so then I guess nothing can stop you ?

Quote:
You don't need discipline to finish things. You just need to pick projects that can be finished in days, rather than weeks. Or months. Or years.

But you have to admit there's more pride in releasing a game that feels like a Mega Man 2 clone than a game that feels like yet another Pong clone.

Quote:
Two words: feature creep. If you ever want to get anything done, make sure you never, ever, move the goalposts.

Well in the case of the game I've been on since 2004, I actually removed some planned features (including some that were already coded in the game), but that didn't help to get the game done faster.


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