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Author Topic: Programming/Web Design psyche  (Read 3827 times)
mitchell
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« on: August 27, 2010, 11:27:56 AM »

Even though it was from a random person on a forum, I thought this was a good read.  His forum name is Freakenstein.

Quote
Alright people, I've heard it all, how when people see, find, play, or be with someone that is making a game, they get this idea that they will be great programmers for games. Now that's great and all, and I hope you do make great games in the near future. But ol' Freakenstein keeps hearing of this and he already knows that they will end up broken and confused, and most of all overwhelmed, on just how hard, time-consuming, and brain-twitching it is to make a game in its entirety.

Here are different classifications, how these will end up failing, and ways to cure this:

Wanna be Great game designer

"My game will have tons of locations, monsters, quests, items, NPC. In addition there will be unique [enter subsystem here]. You will be able to do everything you can do in real life (but better and more interesting). This will be the best game on the planet!"
Those people are to be pitied rather than scolded. They never finished any game and they never will. Their only strong point is the design ability, at least it is what they think. They do not know how to code, nor care to learn. They quit when they learn how much effort is needed to make a game. But the most important thing is that they have no slightest clue what "fun game" means, so their only strong point is their weakest point in fact.

If you fall into this category the recommended cure is: read something about game design, especially board games; make a board/card game and avoid making computer games first, these will let you understand how to design games; get some skills, there is no respect if you know only how to talk about making things, learn art at least so you could bring something into your team.

Bored

"I'm bored, so I will make a game". Unfortunately, making games is boring. No matter how enthusiastic programmer you are you will find parts of the code that are plain boring. No matter how bored you are switching channels in TV will be simpler and more fun than writing code. Writing game is not about making quests or monsters, inventing battle formulas or such. It is about finding where you forgot to put this dang semicolon or parenthesis.

Recommended cure: Make the game as quick as possible, in one day, a week max. Your only hope is to be quicker than your boredom.

Programmer

They have outstanding technical abilities, far, far more that required to make a website (by some called for a strange reason 'browser based game' or 'application'). They polished their skills for many years but for some reason... they never were able to finish even one game (but they started new projects many times).

Recommended cure: forget about standards, good programming techniques, optimizations, reusable code, proper documentation, making the code easy for further improvements. You are to make only one game and then throw away the source code and never use it again, never post it on any board, never show it to anyone. The source code shall be the underdog, merely a tool not the goal. Write rubbish code, full of bugs, bad coding practices and so on. Sounds tough? Well, not everyone has what it takes to finish a game Be ready to kill 'your baby', if you can not you will fail. Also tight schedule, deadlines and milestones are good ideas.

Righteous zealot

"I do not want masses, I want quality players. The game will have [The Only Right Interface/The Only Right Gameplay/etc]. The game will be the cure to all problems in the gaming industry. The game will educate players and show them the right way of playing." This kind of people are rare, if you are one you will finish the game without problems, but... after a while you will close the server when you learn that people are not to be reformed. Sorry, but people do not want to be preached, they want to be entertained. That's why they play games.

Recommended cure: You are not the GOD who watch over everything and everyone on this planet. You are to fulfill your part small only, that's enough. Fun has a value in itself, games are not just mindless entertainment. If your game can cheer up someone who is sad then this alone is worth it, right? People benefit from your game in many ways you would never though of (kids who lost family members and could get over thanks to your game, soldiers who claim that the community helps them keep the sanity, parents who could get better relationship with children through playing together), once you run your game a while you will be really surprised reading some messages from grateful players. There is no need to preach directly and this is not effective. If you want to, make it more subtle.  Just make a decent game without the bad stuff from other games, that is enough, no preaching required.

The "No time" man

"I want to make a game, but I do not have the time right now". Look, there might be many weirdos finishing games. Those who make it because they want to make neighbors jealous, or because they like orange so they make the whole game in orange colors, or those who stink at programming, or those who made a bet that they will make a game. Anything. They might be able to make a game, who knows, miracles happens. But if you do not have the time you can not make a game no matter what. It is as simple as that, no exceptions. You are lying to yourself. You don't have the time today, you won't have it tomorrow either. You will never have the time. No time = no game.

Recommended cure: MAKE TIME.

Money maker

"I want money". Those people have high chances of finishing a game and the game will be playable for sure. Actually, they seem to have the highest chances from all the people... If you want to make money you need to give something to people. You need to make a decent game, without too many bugs and fun enough. You already have the money to invest, so the server will be decent as well. You will never fall into the perfectionism trap, since you are doing it for money not for making the 'best game', the same goes for preaching. In short you will easily avoid many of the mistakes along the way. But there is a catch, right? Yes, you are right, there is a catch, there always is. The problem is that you can earn money easier by other means. There is not enough money in gaming industry and once you discover this, you will quit. The other problem is 'the call'. You know, you are doing fine, the game is OK, you are making some money and you get a call. A new position open in a great company and they want you. The payment is insane compared to the pennies you get from your game, they have social package and perks and bonuses... What will you do then? Which patch you choose?

Recommended cure: Hatred of working in an office, desire of being your own boss and general laziness are good cures. But these might not be enough, in the end you will need to ask yourself if money are really everything and if you want to live as a cash making machine (on the other hand, if you succeed on convincing yourself that money are not so important you might fall from the 'high chance of finishing a game' money maker group to some of the other groups and won't be able to make the game anymore. Yes, life is complicated...)

For myself to play

"I will make a game, then play it and have fun". At the first glance there is nothing wrong with this attitude. You make the game, you play it, if others like it they can play it as well, if this is online you can play together. But this is a very sneaky and vicious trap. You will soon notice that you don't like your game, you find it incomplete, something is missing. You will start rewriting it over and over again and never finish. If this is multiplayer you will be dragged into altering the gameplay to suit your style, or hide information so you could gain advantage (not intentional, not by ill will, rather it will just turn out like that somehow...). Of course there are exceptions, it might be good on local net with a few friends you know already. Or a quick card game to play on parties. But be careful, there is always a risk involved if you start playing your own creations, it might be hard to keep other people's fun as a priority then.

Recommended cure: Do not play your own game. If you have to, make a strong random factor, randomness will soften the predictability, also multiplayer is a must. Simple clear rules, high randomness (not exactly luck game, might be only random initial settings), limited multiplayer - these three are the best combination if you want to play your own game.

For my friends

"I want to make a game for my kids/friends/clan". Those people have a very straight priorities, the gameplay is to be expected top quality. The fun factor will be high as well. No problem finishing either. If you are here, make one game, then if you like it go pro (just add a bit of the programmer & money maker attitude). If I remember correctly, Pokemons were made this way, the guy who invented them made it for his kids, no surprise other kids like it too. Do not get discouraged, do not listen to the tech people who are pouring you their "wisdom", they are morons, they are not able to make a game, and probably they will never be. Making games is "making something for others", no more, no less. Just add to this free time and some programming skills and you can make a game anytime you want.

If you fall into any of these need-help categories, then you need to consult the cures, or you will indeed fail at making a game, or at least fail to make a game based on your expectations. It is very easy to think about the concept of the game, what will be in it, what the story will be, what the game will look like et cetera, et cetera, but the actual MAKING of the game is brutal. I admit, I have not even tried to make a game at all. I don't have the programming skills to make a man fly through the air eating cheezits, but with that means that I don't have any of these "habits" that destroy peoples' dreams of becoming a successful game designer.
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