Monday, May 28, 2012

i failed at being lazy today

I really tried not doing any work at all today. I read a bit more, slept a bit, went through and organized my stuff a little bit, played some video games.

At the end of the day, I wanted to write some code.

I may have just been the slightly more computer-sciencey nature of the problem at hand in my project (a specialized O(1) add/remove/access bi-directionally associative data structure, if you must know). It might also have been that I would really like to finish this game I'm working on soon, and getting this working is just one step closer to that of probably quite a few steps still left to go.

I've been intentionally trying to scope my projects small enough that they don't really need any sort of extensive planning and can thus benefit from a somewhat improvised approach. I have an idea of what features I'd like to get in, and maybe some idea of how much each of those might cost –  but in all honesty a lot of times the features are things that I've haven't done before either at all or in the specific context in which I'd like to implement them. I try to limit the number of things in any given project I take on that's like that, but there's always something. I'd go so far to say that if there weren't anything like that, the project wouldn't be very interesting to me, and I might not be motivated enough to finish it at all.

Here, in this game, so far, it's been a cube-shaped world, now it's random maze generation, and probably some kind of pathfinding AI. I've done random dungeon generation before (recently, actually – I may still have what I did on the test arcade page), but the whole area of procedural player space generation in general is still a bit new to me, and seems to have lots of caveats and things to get the hang of that maybe I haven't quite gotten the hang of just yet. Of course, once I get the hang of those things, I'll naturally want to move onto more challenging problems in PCG, and I'll be back here again.

In the end, my goal is to make a fun game that a lot of people, including myself, would be able to enjoy and find a lot of value in, preferably in as minimal of a time period as possible so that I can move onto to making more fun games that are just as good, if not better.  The difficulty of the problems I encounter in doing so seems a bit disconnected from this.  On one hand, a fun game is not necessarily very complicated or very innovative, although it very well could be.  On the other hand, a game that's not at all innovative (read: blatant clone) is probably not going to go very far, at least, not without a lot of marketing thrown at it, which even if I was able to do, I wouldn't be very comfortable in doing it. 

So it comes back to this drive I have to innovate, to make new things, new ways of having fun, of enjoying oneself. It just doesn't compute in my mind to throw out the same thing that's already out there, that in almost every case I can think of looks a lot better and is much better known to people simply because the people who made it had a lot more money at their disposal.  I do not have that advantage. I have to work with not having a lot of money to throw at things like marketing and licensing and paying people to do things for me. At least for now. That might change later. But right now it's just me, myself, and I throwing everything I've got at these games to make them fun and cool and worth people's whiles. That's my value proposition, so to speak.

Then again, there are plenty of examples of games that don't use cutting edge technology, but might still be considered very innovative, if not valuable. I'm sure they all still have a lot of hard work put into them in lots of the right places. Maybe that's the commonality of all this. Doing the right work in the right places. It seems like a very vague proposition, but I'm starting to get the feeling that it's more like riding a bicycle, and that once a person learns how to recognize the right things to work on and is able to just motivate themselves to keep working on them, it becomes like second nature. I can't say that I'm quite there yet, but maybe in recognizing what it is, I can move in that direction.

No comments:

Post a Comment