It's funny I made this Category so late, I barely talk about game making on my website and a lot of you are probably looking for some actual in-flash knowledge rather then me always babbling on about my life. I've never given direct tips because I feel like I'm learning myself as I go all the time and any advice I give may become outdated or just simply be a bad way of doing it. Though I figure why the hell not, I'll stick to some basic tips to start off with for game design in a general sense and hopefully someone gets something out of it. So I'll start with some random tips I can think of for now. More detailed articles can come later.
- Plans don't always make the best games : When you hear the term think outside the box, that goes for your own ideas as well. Think outside the box on the stuff you've written down later. Expand as you go. A plans a rough guide. Ever heard the expression "I'm reading the book as I write it"
- It's not a bug it's a feature! Instead of dealing with the problem, sometimes it's more creative and easier to just work on top of it and make it into something as long as it's not too tacky!
- Beware of filters, glows and drop shadows. They make it polishy, but also tacky. Find a balance.
- If you're unmotivated to work on the main engine that day, make the menu or some other random part instead, you'd be surprised how it motivates you to keep going on the rest of the game. No matter how small the task complete, it's always rewarding
- Make what you want to play. If you try make what you think people will like, it just won't work. You have to make what you will find fun yourself and the game will take on life of it's own.
- Programming doesn't have to always be complex, remember no ones going to see the behind the scenes but you unless you partner with someone. Shortcuts save time, this may sound cheap, but it's better to shortcut then to never finish it at all from bugs overload.
- Keep flash open and minimised and look at your game all the time. Sometimes you'll get an urge to just quickly fix one problem you see.. then all of a sudden a few hours have gone past.
- Procrastination is all in the head. Theres a million rules to beat it, but the best is always, do 5mins work and then decide wether to do a days work or stop for the entire day. All you say is ONLY 5MINS THATS IT. The rest will take care of itself naturally
- Stop trying to game make and just game make
- Make everything you want even if you think it will be stupid, my most stupidest ideas have turned into my biggest hits strangely enough, and the ideas I thought would be the best have only done okish.
- Don't try and make a big thing straight up or you'll fail and never come back. Build on each game one bit by bit. Each game I finished was another 20 lessons I learnt in programming things. Turn each lesson into a game. Some of the most popular guitar riffs in the world come from simply a famous guitarist learning a new scale and messing around with it, just like messing around with a new game engine.
- If the engines not fun, then it won't be fun with awesome graphics later
- Try condense ideas into smaller ones. Big ideas lead to big disasters unless you're a great planner
- Don't multi-task projects. One at a time. Pour your creativity into one thing and if you have a new game idea, put that idea into the games level instead. Don't feel like your creativity will "run out" it doesn't work like that. It will respark when you start that new idea later on.
- Stop procrastinating by reading this and go open Flash.
I want to write an article about depression, it's what I've been going through and essentially turned my life upside down and to shreds. I'm finally getting back on my feet, very goddamn slowly. I finally feel like I'm getting to the end of the tunnel. Not many people really understand what it's like to be depressed. It's more than just being sad, It's the feeling of complete and overwhelming mental pain. It's so intense that you'll do anything to escape it. Nothing is fun anymore, food doesn't taste good. You fake it on the outside to your friends because it's easier than admitting defeat.
This article as with my other articles is always to achieve three things. 1. People with depression to have someone to relate too with a different point of view. 2. People without it to get an understanding. 3. To get this out of my head and into something that's not a complete waste. Worrying and dwelling on things is literally the definition of pointless, and yet even though I'm smart enough to realise this with my logical brain, my emotional brain doesn't connect the same way.
Depression is impossible to put into words. Most people will tell you just snap out of it and be happy. It's not as simple as this unfortunately. It's taken me various meds, positive thinking, forced work and a lot of time. There's usually an underlying issue, mine was a big combination of things that finally made me cave under a huge amount of stress. My health problems I fight everyday get me down and usually I can shrug this off, but once you add financial stress on top it gets a lot harder. Even then I usually powered through, but the straw on the camels back was my girlfriend I loved dearly breaking up with me. It was like a light switch turned off. I couldn't see the point in anything anymore. Even to get out of bed and make dinner was the biggest effort that left me literally exausted sometimes.
it's like a heavy weight sitting on your back and you're carrying it around all day. I get jealous of all the other people bouncing around happily care free and sometimes wonder why I can't be like that. From a movie on depression I recommend seeing called "Prozac Nation" the saying goes "Depression begins gradually, and then suddenly" And when it finally lifts, it's a similiar feeling in reverse. You wake up, and literally dread the day, week, month and year ahead. Everything is now ten times harder. Medication helped, but it doesn't solve the issue. Also having stopped making games for so long started to spiral me worse downhill, I felt like I didn't know who I was anymore.
Depression is like losing everything you ever knew about feelings. You slowly learn and grow up from them as you get older, and it's like they all just vanish right in front of you. All that confidence and self esteem pulled out from under your feet. Stuck inside a glass box, wanting to SCREAM, but nothing comes out.
You have to fake happyness to your friends. It's like being the best actor in the entire world. Faking every emotion or feeling till you dunno how to act anymore. You feel terrible you're lying inside to your friends but then you feel worse if you just acted sad around them all day and they didn't want to be around you anymore.
Anxiety is also the silent killer. It is literally fear put into a physical manifestation. It's so lame. I didn't realise how bad I had it till I took medication and drugs that made it go away. I realised how much of my life I had lived in fear trapped inside my own head. Scared of life itself. It's not easy for someone to overcome. It doesn't matter if you're the most amazing actor celebrity on the planet, or a lowlife hobo. It's equally just as hard to deal with.
Finally gradually forcing myself to exercise, eat properly, work on my games and other hobbies such as guitar. Talking to friends. I slowly came back up, I'm still not fully there, not even close to how I used to feel, but I actually have motivation to write this which even seemed like an impossible task before in the black cloud. I took drugs to try escape my problems for 2 years, in the end this made things a lot worse and left me 20 steps backwards financially and physically. It was a nice break however and I had many wild adventures and stories now to tell people, but all in all it was not worth it. Specially for losing my girlfriend. I've always been very caring about others underneath because I find it hard to express it like I do typing. That's why I love typing these articles. Just so it's somewhere out there, somewhere someone might read it.
If you're reading this and have depression, don't give up. Please don't. I still find it hard to move on, but fuck it I'm still going too and one day overcome all this shit. When life gives you lemons, spit back in its face and punch life out. Demand a refund, and bloody get it. Change your lemon into a bloody goldmine of happyness. I'm still fighting the black dog day to day with a knife in my mouth, but I'll win. I will learn from my mistakes and get a new girlfriend and not go back to the easy way out in life like before.
It's all going to be ok.
Most of the people that visit here are American or other :P but it's AUSSIE DAY! Happy Australian Day! too any aussies that read this.
And too the non-aussies. Were all riding kangaroos down the street calling each other mates drinking beer.
Happy aussie day.
Looking over the topics I made a while back, I'm glad I put this Mix of Stuff topic in I realised. Just because I feel like writing but don't know what to write on specifically. It's a weird feeling, like an urge to create but too lazy to work on a game, too sad to make a comic and too brain fogged to program. So for some reason writing is a good stress outlet. A way of dumping feelings and thoughts out.
Life's been strange lately, after being sobre now my brain is taking a long time to adjust if you read my earlier drug post. Things all feel and look different. It's quite annoying, no stable point. A constant limbo of sorts. I'll be making some huge life changes soon. Like a part time job. It'll be interesting one day if I become very happy and look back on this more depressive posts. I also get anxiety more lately, it's a horrible thing. Even anxiety about writing this post, how weirds that! hah! I really hope I'm happy one day again... It's what I long for the most now.
Been playing Knights of the Old Republic Online to sorta fill in the time till I feel a bit better again. I loved the old KOTOR games, this was almost close, unfortunately the WoW influence has made it into a bit of a clone. However I'm still enjoying it for now and wouldn't say it's anywhere near as addicting as WoW, but maybe that's just because your first MMORPG is sorta like breaking your virginity into that area of games. You never really can live up to that first game :P I really hope developers for MMO's stop copying WoW and start trying some brand new things. Stop going the raid/instance copout and really start challenging new concepts where we all have to actually fight together in a more complex strategy way instead of button mashing.
I think a normal job with more social interaction is gonna be good for me, heh who knows. Money as well to do what I want again. It's annoying cause it still sorta feels like a step backwards even though it isn't, it used too when I made games full time. Now things are different I guess, growing older having bills, the health problems on top of it making the pressure too much for me to really make a good game. I realised my games got worse the more stress I added. Once I deal with them personal problems maybe I can try again, but right now I can't feel bad about it, it has to be a step forwards. My latest game Super Joe is so much smaller then I would normally do and feels like it's not up to my personal standards at all, but I HAD to release something before going back to a normal job. I had to break that barrier in my mind first. A personal goal of sorts.
I'll be visiting my dad in Perth soon for a couple weeks, it helps get my mind clear again and work out what I really want. Also to work for him for a while doing some carpentry stuff, good old fashioned work to clear my mind and just relax and think. I always miss my family there as I live in a small town 6 hours away called Albany. Theres really nothing to do here. I dunno why I stay anymore actually. Maybe moving will be the big life change. Not sure yet.
Well this was a fun dump of thoughts into a random post. Still playing HON here and there. Addictive game! it's everything in one when I'm bored, quick match join, no commitment, competition, social and leveling up aspect. It kinda makes me not progress though and play other games, this is a bad thing. I've learnt some sayings from people like "Familiar is comfort but it's also never changing" very true, and change is what I mostly need right now.
Another sad part is that I registered Eggys Games as proper business and all, this just happened to be as I went into depression. So on a bad side I have to unregister it all etc for now. On the good side at least I learnt what needs to be done if I ever do turn it into a proper business. I am only young I guess at the age of 23 at the moment. I probably shouldn't worry so much and be happy in knowing how much I've already accomplished at an age younger then other game developers. It's still never comforting ENOUGH though, heh.
Oh life, when did you become so complicated.
I hate writing anything online that's sad though instead of happy. I like to inspire people to make games themselves. In no way should anyone ever take this as an excuse to give up. It should be taken as a piece of learning material on what happens when doing things the way I did. I'd like people to never give up there dreams, but always have a backup plan B with another job at same time. Never delve 100% in until you are completely sure you're gonna be fine in health and money. Cause being creative is almost like you're not trying to make something, but as if it just flows out of you unaided. As soon as you try force creativity for money it will show in your work and make it a lot worse. It's so much the money either, it's just the stress you put on yourself. It's something I'm learning to just let go of. The more popular my games got and the more money I got was actually my downfall it made it all seem so real so quickly.
Didn't mean for this to become so long but ah well. Another good story update on my life, wether it be sad or happy, I just hope it's interesting to read to people. :P