Making a good game.

Making a good game

You know when you’re writing a story, and then you have absolutely no idea where to take it, or when you look at it you just wonder, couldn’t I make this better? Then you look at solutions or new ideas, but you’re demotivated because those ideas are hard to implement or because you don’t have the expertise to do it properly? Or you look at something so neat and tidy, and you see that some really ugly stuff showed up between those tidy things, and suddenly all you want to do is restart the damn thing?

I call that being brain-stuck.

It’s not a scientific term. It’s just a name I’ve given to it so I don’t have to explain to myself why the heck am I using such a long description. And that’s exactly what’s happening to me right now. Allow me to explain further…

Try as you might (and oy! I’ve tried), you will never be able to push through a project without bumps. Even if you’re in a strict project where nothing goes without a client’s input, you will always reach the point where you can’t look at what you’re doing anymore. It started out as being good, great even! But as time passes by, the quality slider in your brain just starts decreasing and decreasing its value, until you look at the whole product, and the brain gets stuck.

I’m feeling that with Killplex.

It started out as having good code, great even! But as time passed by, the code’s quality and feature consistency just started decreasing and decreasing, until I looked at what I have, and now I got stuck. It’s up to a point where I have so much code that I don’t even remember half of it. And that’s why games get canned, sometimes.

Now, relax. I’m not canning Killplex. I’m just brain-stuck.

I’ve had people (ahem, @Nundril, @NimikEd) giving me wonderful feedback. The problem is, I only have concrete feedback from three, maybe four people, tops. When I ask about the game to any other person, the indifference factor just goes through the roof, some even hating the mere idea of even trying the game. And that crippled my brain. A lot.

Now, I’m not complaining that I should get good feedback. The only complaint here is that I should be at a stage where bad or null feedback would encourage me to work harder and make this game a lot better. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening, and Nundril was a witness to a lot of the brooding I’ve been doing these last couple of weeks. I’ve been tired to a point where I can’t even look at Visual Studio, because it reminds me of a project that has failed to captivate.

Maybe it’s too soon, maybe it’s not complete yet, maybe it’s this, maybe it’s that. I can run around on these all day. So I’m deciding: to hell with it.

I’m an optimization junkie. I can’t live without taking my own code apart and making it run faster. But if that means that more time and brain power will be lost because of it, then I’m forcing myself to shatter that notion, and just rolling with the punches. Does that make me a bad developer? Maybe. Maybe I won’t think so thoroughly about a feature I want to include, perhaps I will structure stuff that later will require rewrites, but if it means I will have fun coding again, then screw it.

It all comes down to fun. And I want to make Killplex a fun game to play. Now I just need to implement these (and then Beta 1 will automagically transform into Beta 2):

  • Capture the Flag
  • Payload (based on TF2)
  • Hunting (based on Hidden: Source)
  • Server management

I will try to release v17 tomorrow, with some fixes and changes. And then, it’s fun modes for all.

One thought on “Making a good game.”

  1. Well, let me try to comment your post in correct English… 😉

    As you stated above, there is no such thing as a project without bumps. Even if it’s a simple, closed HTML page, sometimes something goes haywire (clients… why do they exist?!) and we need to change the whole damn thing. As far as I can say, the frustration level can be directly proportional to the complexity of the project, or the task we undertake. But, the feeling of accomplishment, recognition and satisfaction in the end, is way bigger.

    I totally agree that the lack of feedback can be frustrating, and theoretically we all should be encouraged to work harder, and show the world “ah ah! i did it suckers”… but that’s not the way it is. Sometimes, we do feel tired and frustrated, and just want to throw in the towel. What I usually do (and with some success) in these situations, is try to hang on only to the positive feedback (as little as it can be), and transform that into small personal victories. It works for me 🙂

    Don’t fool yourself, you have accomplisehd more than some people (myself included) ever managed to do, and you’re 12 (yes twelve… sigh) years younger than me (did you noticed how I deliberately not revealed our age? I can be 15 and you’re like… 3 years old…. no one knows! ahh! ;-). And yes, you really do like to optimize your code, but I sincerely don’t see that as a bad thing. As far as you don’t take it to the point of delaying some deadlines (not the case I think), or lose the will to carry on with other game features just because you’re in too deep optimizing some part of the code. If you need to know when to take a break in optimization, I’m just a table away! 5 days a week 😉

    Remember: think big (you did), start small (you did, remember http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R56drH-75gc ?), grow (you did) or (please don’t…) kill fast.

    I have no doubt in my mind that you will accomplish your goals, and that Killplex will be as fun to code as it is to play!

    Now… open that Visual Studio window and start coding!! 😉

    Cheers!

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