So I spent five minutes at the end of work trying to decide if I should take my laptop home again and if I do whether it would just sit in my bag overnight as usual or will I actually use it. I always have the intention to hook it up to my home office (which in reality is just a computer desk in my bedroom) but too often I get distracted by Netflix, Facebook and my tablet to actually get around to coding, and when I do get in the mood it’s often too late to do anything except go to bed to avoid being grumpy at work the next morning.
But tonight I have taken it out of the bag, hooked it up and started coding, because that’s what I want to do.
Well honestly I set it up, played some Marvel Puzzle Quest on the iPad, checked Facebook and tried to copy up some old music to play. But the intention is there. Once I finish updating this Blog and nip out to the shops and get dinner.
When I have such low willpower I often wonder whether I want to be a games developer or not? If I truly wanted it would I be trying to code whenever I get a chance. After all, when I put my mind to it I do enjoy it. I’m just not very good at following through.
I guess it’s what I want to do because that’s what I’m thinking about. When I’m in meetings at work. When I’m playing other games. When I’m cycling. When I’m trying to sleep. Especially when I’m trying to sleep. I come up with ideas, and mechanics, and really cool tricks to get certain effects and solve interesting problems even if I don’t know how to actually code the solutions I come up with.
It’s been going on for years. I first started coding games on the ZX Spectrum out of magazines and 30 years later I still want to develop games. I just haven’t gotten around to learning how yet. To be honest that’s probably not quite true. I’ve spent a few years learning code, getting disheartened, forgetting how to code, learn to code another language, forgetting how to code that, etc. etc. I think the problem is I get ideas of what I want to produce in my head and all the tutorials are read never take me anywhere near to where I want to be.
I still haven’t written a game yet.
One of the best pieces of advice I have seen for writers is response to the question “How do I become a writer?”. The answer, of course, is “Write a book.”
[I’ve just fired up Hearthstone while typing this. Typical. Back in a minute.]
Some other advice I had from a friend of mine who wanted to be a writer was to meet more writers. He started going writing meets and when he started he felt like a fraud, as though he was working at his craft he hadn’t published anything at that time. He is now published but part of him still thinks he’s a fraud. Since starting to follow lots of authors on twitter I’ve heard this feeling never truly goes away.
So I’ve started to follow some of this advice but it’s hard. I’ve started going to Indie dev meets, reading blogs and following devs on twitter but I still feel like a fraud. I guess it doesn’t help that I live in a town with several successful development studios and count several professional developers amongst my friends. I want to do this by myself and don’t want them pester them for constant advice and help as I know how irritating it is from my line of work. I also don’t want them to laugh at my code, which no doubt looks like a child’s scribble compared to picasso. (I’m sure they won’t really).
Well this has gone off the rails a bit and a bit dark, so how about some of the more positive points. Why do I still think I can do this?
Well a big one is that I still haven’t seen a lot of my ideas out there in the market. So I like to think they are new and unique. Kevin Smith once said that the only audience you should make films for is yourself. Because if you like it there’s sure to be some other weirdos who like it too. Or something like that.
Another is that often I get stuck on the most basic things. Well at least to me they are basic ideas. I am always surprised when trawling through hours and pages of tutorials that it appears that no-one has had these ideas before or is trying to make the same thing. Unfortunately this leads into one of my biggest fears when asking for help. I’m not the fastest coder so I’m frightened that if I do explain my new idea to someone they could knock up a full working prototype in a weekend and take the credit for it while I’m still struggling. Not very trusting but I never said these weren’t irrational fears. Oops. Negative again.
So what can I do about it? Taking some advice I’ve seen, I’m going to put my current project to one side and create a game this weekend. On Monday I will post it on here for people to play.
At least then I can say that I have written a game. 🙂