As I said in my weekly Thousander Club update, I was worried about making a game for IGF 2007.
Last year, I posted about my decision to enter the competition. Rereading the post, I found I became angry at myself. In October, I said “Iâ€™ll obviously need to have a game to submit, but I have the rest of the year to make one.” Well, a year is almost up, and it’s been a year since I first started working on Oracle’s Eye, and I have nothing to show for it but an engine that doesn’t play a game yet. According to my records, I’ve worked over 170 hours on game development-related tasks. I have created a simplified text-based boardgame simulation, which helped to secure my current day job and teach me about component-based development, so I guess that counts, but I am upset with myself for not having better results.
Something prevented me from acknowledging this anger at first. I think the problem was that I didn’t realize it was self-directed. It’s easy to get angry at the world, other people, or inanimate objects when you aren’t aware that your current situation is the result of your own actions. Blaming others is easy, but when you realize that you can take responsibility for your own actions, you feel empowered.
I get that. I might have taken it too far, though. I was angry at myself, but as soon as I even felt a hint of anger or frustration, I would dismiss it. “There is no point in getting angry as it is your own fault you are in that situation.” Meanwhile, my subconscious was probably screaming, “YES, YOU BEAUTIFUL MORON!” and then became even more frustrated since I wasn’t paying attention.
Sure, being angry with yourself isn’t going to be fruitful by itself, but you need to realize that there is something to be angry about in order to do something about it.
Now that I know that I am angry, what can I do about it?
I can face reality.
Last year I said would make a game and submit it to IGF, even though I had no specific game in mind to create. Months into it, I was thinking that I would make a game after I finish Oracle’s Eye. Months ago, I thought that OE might be the game to submit because there wouldn’t be time to make another. These past few weeks, I was hoping to have anything completed by the due date. Now, I think I will need to give up on my goal.
Was it too much to think that I could create a single game in a year? I don’t think so. If Game in a Day is possible, and it is, then I should be able to come up with something over an entire year. Was my project too ambitious? Maybe, but I cut a lot of features and left it with some really basic gameplay. I couldn’t seem to pull it together anyway.
Part of my problem was that I didn’t have a single focus. First I was working on OE. I found that small changes would require a lot of rework. After some time I decided that I should create a new engine to make development easier. A component-based framework would make game development almost as easy as editing a configuration file. Of course, creating one is more difficult than to hack away at a single game. The work is still there. It’s just moved from one end of development to another. I also took a little over a month to complete the boardgame simulation. While it was a good experience, I shouldn’t have taken such a long break from OE.
The bottom line: I’m not satisfied with my performance for the past year.
I’ve been taking some time to think about what I am really trying to do and how I am going to do it. I will post at least some of my plans on this blog. I’m not sure how I am going to improve my situation, but I am going to find out, and then I am going to do it. Wish me luck!