Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Staying focused

Here's a good topic to talk about. I struggle with it all the time. I'm the creative type that writes things down and then moves on to the next idea going back later to maybe go off on the idea. These ideas build and build and before you know it I have a whole new game idea that I want to try out! Then I remember that I already have a game that I'm working on...I've been working on it for 8 months now...I've put money into designing resources for it...and I've written out a complete script with large amounts of notes fixing different storyline/gameplay issues or giving better details about them...and yet when I sit down to work on the game there are times when I can't bring myself to because I can't seem to focus or get excited like I did in the beginning or up until now.

Sound like you? Been there, ALOT. But that mentality doesn't get anything done, it just has a lot of ideas. What helps me focus when I'm feeling like that? I'll give you three things:

1. Pride. Pride in excess is one of the seven deadly sins, but in this case it's a good thing. You need to have pride in yourself and your work. To all you other would-be designers out there reading this, have enough pride in your game to not let yourself down. Maybe you've worked really hard. Days upon days, weeks upon weeks, jotting down notes on your cell phone or notepads, drinking gallons of coffee/espressos from starbucks while using their wifi to listen to music/check your facebook while working on your game, blogging about it, reading game dev threads to the end and books cover to cover, sifting through scripts or working out your own to fit the gameplay mechanics you've designed, and the list goes on. Game making is hard, anyone who tells you different is lying or selling something. But it's fun. And when you are done it feels like you've reached that light at the end of the tunnel! You step back and say "#$@%, i'm good." We all have our reasons for making games but in the end we all want to stand with pride along side our peers and call ourselves game designers. Before that can happen, before we can realize our dreams of starting a game studio or building a portfolio impressive enough to get noticed/hired by a game studio, we have to finish. Don't let yourself down, you've come too far to stop now. It is not a waste a time, trust me.

2. I spent money on this. I don't know about you, but I've spent a bit of money on the resources for my game and will continue to do so. Why? So that I can walk away from my game saying "Wow, isn't she sexy." ;) That and I plan on selling it commercially. Original artwork and audio is kind of a given. Will I make my investment back? Who knows? Probably not, but the experience was more than worth it. The point though, is that I've invested not only my time but also my hard earned money into this project. If I backed out of it now, I would not only be letting myself down but also my wallet. All the coffee/espressos/five hour energy drinks I've bought to make this game happen. All the expensive resources I purchased exclusive rights to. All the game development theory books I've bought and read. If I'm not going to finish the game, what was the point in all that? That money could have gone to something else. It didn't though, it went to making this game happen. So, make it happen otherwise you're just wasting your money.

3. You owe it to the people you've shared the idea with and are rooting for you. I have family and friends that tell me that they believe that I can do this. I can make my dreams come true and this is the first step in that direction. Having people like that in your life to make you accountable is important, especially if you are the creative-write-it-down-go-to-the-next-one type like me. Not only do you want to not let yourself down, touch back on that pride thing, but you don't want to let the people who believe in you down either. Personal experience: I have an ex-gf that told me when breaking up with me that I will never finish anything, I talk and talk and talk but I never do. She believed that, as I was then, I'd never accomplish my dreams. Harsh? Yes, but I needed to hear that. Not only do I have a burning passion to prove to myself that she was wrong about me but now I have this sense of accountability to anyone else I talk about my game with. They may not say it to my face like she did, but if I drop this project to pick up yet another idea I'm sure they will think it and hesitate to believe in me in the future. You don't want that.

In conclusion, stop talking about it or putting it off and do it. Don't give up just because you've lost the excitement you had in the beginning. The idea you had is solid and you owe it to yourself, those who support you, and possibly your wallet to finish what you started. I'll talk next time about setting goals and following through. Thanks for reading. Leave your comments and questions in the section below :)

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