Determination and Dedication

Spindaboy

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Am I the only one who feels really discouraged at times when making a game? I have been working for a year and a half now on a project, but recently I have really hit a hard place. I no longer feel I can make my game as great as I imagined it. I work by myself and there are certain things I am not good at such as map design and re balancing enemies. Also, there are certain aspects of my game that require me to hire others to create custom plugins, sprites, and artwork and the pressure of trying to gather funds for these to make a better game is driving me mad. In addition to that I have had only a single person ever even play the demo for the game despite how much I have promoted it. I feel as though the hundreds of hours I have poured into making what I have dreamed of has been for naught. I no longer enjoy making my game like I used to because I can't see anyone enjoying or appreciating the final product. Yet I force myself to anyway because I want to. I want to make this game. I want people to enjoy it. But I can't do this alone anymore. Without help I'm afraid that I may run out of energy and eventually stop caring about my game.


I have just been so overwhelmed, do not feel satisfied with my work any longer, and am lacking the motivation to continue. I am losing hope.
 
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Dad3353

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Never mind...
 
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shockra

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I hear you.  I'm on my third attempt at the game I'm trying to make now.  The first two I wound up scrapping because the mechanics were lousy.  Working alone means complete creative freedom, but it also means that your own skill set matters more.


An important tip I heard recently when it comes to making games by yourself:  design the game around your strengths.  For instance, my graphic skills are weak, but my programming is pretty good.  So I focus on solid gameplay mechanics rather than making the game look artistic.  I may tweak the graphics at some point, but for now, I'm ensuring that the gameplay is appealing.


Which brings me to another point:  the mechanics of the game are more important than the content (story and graphics).  A game can have an awesome story and amazing graphics, but if playing it is boring, no one will hang around long enough to see them.


It's great that you're trying to make your own game.  But if you're hitting a roadblock, that may be a sign that you need to rethink your approach.  Take a little time to consider where any problems might be and address them.  And (you might not like hearing this part) if fixing the problem would require a huge revamp to your game, it may be easier to start over.  It's better to make a new machine than it is to try to fix one that is beyond repair.


But whatever you do, don't lose hope.  Losing hope is the only way you truly fail.  Ultimately, it's your game.  Don't give up on it.
 

kovak

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That's actually pretty normal but all you can do is to keep going or to give up. If you decide to quit, do not feel ashamed, take what you've learned with you and DO NOT DELETE YOUR PREVIOUS PROJECT. You never know when you gonna need stuff you've done before.


W.e don't you think that team size will speed up the process if the tasks are huge.
If you want it done you have to document what you want and need and don't stray away.


Make small play tests to see if what you've imagined works the way you want and place just the core mechanics on those play tests else there's no point on doing them.


Anything else you need will be just like labor work cuz the core mechanics are done, story, characters, art itself has nothing to do with those.


I've seen countless times people thinking that the visual aspec of the game is related to how to play the game. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING. Eyecandy **** just calls attention visually and that's it. Same goes for plot, characters and story, you will just see them, you can't play them, they are fix elements.


Mechanics on the other hand are what you play, they are the gameplay aspects, how the battle works, what you can customize, how the map (level designs) are...stick with those till the end cuz they needs to fit what kind of RPG you are making, they will define the pace of fun. Over half of players will quit your game if those are not clear and unfun within the 1st hour of gameplay.
 
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Wavelength

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The best bit of advice I could give you would be to be honest with yourself and figure out what reasonable things would make you motivated again, and then do absolutely everything in your power to make that thing happen.  For me it was similar as you seem to be thinking - getting outside help to tackle some of the biggest features that I felt the game needed but couldn't completely do on my own.
 
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Feliaria

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Haha- my game has evolved so many times since I've started it


It started as a companion to a book I've been trying to write, and now it has kinda stolen and changed the storyline... lol XD


The big thing is to not get discouraged! It's hard, I know. I'm single-handedly making my game, too! :)
 

Faytless

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@Spindaboy


Over the coarse of many, many years I have never finished a single RPG Maker Project.  I make up wonderful systems ( CBS, CMS, etc) but I always lose motivation to continue simply because I'm tired of working on it.  Maybe that just means that my heart truly wasn't in the project I was working on (and mind you I've been around since rm2k), but


I think that's the most important part when making anything.


Now personally, I would never play something or pay for a game that I can tell there isn't much heart in the game (like the many, many RTP Anime-Fan Spin offs out there), so when building my projects I feel like they need to be done with such high caliber.  And that's my biggest de-motivator that I'd never be able to finish something that someone will go "Wow, that was an amazing experience"


It also doesn't help that I'm terrible and story telling. 


The best advice I can give you though is to find friends and other people you can talk to and collaborate with, even if they're not directly helping you with your games.  Talk about it with people, help others on the forums, and be someone in the community.  Learn from others, and teach what you know.  Play some of projects that are available so you can get a sense of how you want your project you want to be.  And if you do end up losing motivation, maybe the project wasn't really what it turned out to be.  You should reassess your project to see if its something you want to continue with or start a new one.  I can't tell you how big my project folders are lol.


Anyways,  I can ramble for days about this topic.  Hope everything works out for you.
 

watermark

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@Spindaboy I have managed to finish and publish 5 RPG Maker games+1 demo in the decade that I've been at this. I'm not saying they're great games (my best is still to come!)  :guffaw:  But regardless of the game quality, I've consistently managed to finish and publish games. 4 of them you can still play on our website www.watermarkrpg.com , while the other two were made in RM2K, the sites that hosted them no longer exist, and they don't run on today's systems anyway. So I got some experience with this. Let me give you 3 pieces of advice:


1. Hopeless is normal. Welcome to game dev! This is a perfectly normal and necessary thing that all game devs will experience at some point. This is to be expected because you've already played and replayed this game so many times that nothing is fresh to you anymore. But hang in there and push on through. The most difficult part is grinding out this final stretch, when you have to deal with boring bugs, boring replays, boring looks you get from play testers. It will be tough. Sometimes: 


  - you may have to cut features or scenes.


  - it helps if you take a (short) hiatus and come back to it in like a week or two. 


  - think of all that wasted time if it never gets published, even if in a cra**y form. Hey, at least you can get people to complain about it.  :rock-left:


So Just Do It. Then you will hit euphoria. Once you publish I tell you that joy will come back.


2. Know when and what to cut. I've published 6 games but I have like 30+ unpublished RPG Maker projects. Some have been worked on for only a few days while there are others where months (and prob years) of work have gone into it. The thing is you must decide which ideas you want to keep and which you think may not work. Let me talk about my most recent project as an example: Shadow Song, which you can find here:




According to Steam I must've poured at least 200 hours into this baby. And this doesn't even count the outside planning time. When I first started I was all hyped up about making a D&D like game, but once the demo's completed and I played through it myself, I found that it wasn't as fun as I expected. I mean it's ok, but not as awesome as I thought it would be. So it's very likely that this game will end at the demo stage and no further development will go into it. However, much of the code and structure of this game will live on in other projects. So as you can see here even though I put a lot of time into this, if I don't see a future, I will end it and put time into another project that I believe will have more potential. Sometimes you must know when to quit.


3. Being in a team helps. I am part of a team now so it helps but in the first couple of years it was just me. Going solo is tougher but definitely doable.


Hope that helps! Have heart! You can do it!
 

Wavelength

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When I first started I was all hyped up about making a D&D like game, but once the demo's completed and I played through it myself, I found that it wasn't as fun as I expected. I mean it's ok, but not as awesome as I thought it would be. So it's very likely that this game will end at the demo stage and no further development will go into it. However, much of the code and structure of this game will live on in other projects.



Don't get discouraged by this alone!  Sometimes when you're on the inside and you "know how the sausage is made", the thing you produce will hold a lot less wonder and fun for you than it will for other people.  Show the project to other people you trust, and ask them for their honest opinion.  If possible, watch them play the game in real time.  It's certainly a possibility that your game simply isn't as awesome in practice as you dreamed it, but it's also possible that it's only spoiled for you and that someone coming in fresh will actually enjoy it a lot.
 

Henryetha

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Which brings me to another point:  the mechanics of the game are more important than the content (story and graphics).  A game can have an awesome story and amazing graphics, but if playing it is boring, no one will hang around long enough to see them.



I rather have the impression, it's the story.


I've put tons of effort in the game mechanics and sure it has alot to offer.


The Story is poor tho and what I hear is "this, this and that is all great, but without propper story.. sorry that's not enough for me to play it."


I try now to make a more appropiate description, not calling it RPG at all anymore, rather a "fighting game". But I have many doubts, too.. that anyone would enjoy to play it ever.


Simply because of the fact, it is made with RPG Maker, I guess people expect sth like a visual novel yet.
 

Faytless

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I think that a lot of the difficulty does come from the stigma of all RPG maker games.  Esp on Steam,  Not that that community is any less toxic or anything lol.   I'm the same way @Henryetha  I spend 90% of my time making game mechanics the best story I can come up with is about a magic-bottle-man.  I'm that lame -- but what I'm thankful for is the active community here.  It's the only thing pushing me forward :D
 

Spindaboy

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Thank you everyone so much for your support. I'm now trying to assemble a team to work with me so I can have some assistance in the areas I am weak at :)
 

Henryetha

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@Faytless Lol, it hurts my gamer heart when I see people reducing games so much only to its story.


I might be able to write good stories - I did in the past, but.. I've never been a big fan of visual novel type games, which imo comes closer to an interactive e-book than a "game".


For me a game is so much more than that.


Further it's harder to do this in english when you aren't a native speaker - at the same time I don't like the idea to limit the audience to german people, as 90% of my contacts are international anyway.


And then that sentence from my sister (I mentioned in the last post) killed me xD


When you spent so much effort and time trying to provide a good gaming experience and all they want is - literally - to read a book.. and above it they give you the feeling, your game is trash.. (sure they try to say it in a nice way, but... well... yea), that's just frustrating. It made me want to quit - not only this project - but working on game development at all.


I still have my visions for the game, but I'm demotivated by thinking, noone will enjoy it anyway.


for info: some plans were for endgame sth like endless random dungeons with online highscore lists. To prepare this, I've put so many game mechanics which let you develop and customize your characters, there sure are countless ways to play them. But it ended up in overstraining the player. I tested my game on normal difficulty and could finish the demo part w/o any problems -  it's considering element weaknesses, use skills properly, choose right equipment, then the game should be beatable quite easily on "normal".


These aren't all super new mechanics tho, but mechanics known from other games yet. But one of my testers even had a hard time, battling on "very easy" difficulty.. while normal should be easy doable.


Most mechanics were implemented to enrich the endgame, when you do endless dungeons with stronger growing enemies to beat the highscores.


Sure that's pointless if people don't like battles - no matter what you do to make them enjoyable.
 

Skunk

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I find the best thing when you feel this way, (coming from a music producer first and game designer second) its always good to look at the past how ever long you have spent as a learning experience.


I watched a video by Echo607, she said one of the worst things you can do is start going back and changing things, let the game happen as it happens.


When I am working on a song, I always have a general idea in my head of how I want it to go.


maybe 5% of the time the product ends up exactly how I want it.


Projects are like life.


things change, experience levels change and as you get better at eventing and things, the stuff you did in the beginning can seem "too simple" or "could be better now that I'm better".


Its a tricky spot to sit, but there is always a way around it.


Sometimes the best thing is to have someone look at your game as a whole, project files, plugins etcetera and give their honest opinion on where THEY would take it if it were their game.


Use all the tips and tricks you can find, use all the advice you are givin and let it run wild.
 

BigToastie

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I know where you are coming from, I had this with my previous game, which I just cut out as it came round that i kept changing my mind on things that much it needed so much rework in the game it wouldve taken much longer to sort then start a new!


What I would suggest is take a break if you are feeling that way, as you could just do half a job on stuff and it will show.


Don't give up if you feel your game is going the way you want it too, (ask friends to test it, hell I will test it and give it a go)!


Never EVER take your own opinion on your own game, I have played parts of mine previously which I thought was straight forward and bland that my friends actually really enjoyed. You created it all, you know where everything is, you know all the hidden secrets in your game, you know everything as you are the only one that developed it, its like having the master cheat activated!!


I personally am super hyped creating my game at present, I am hitting some serious database work though (which isnt as fun as mapping and eventing) but it all needs to be done.


If you need a tester for anything or advise, I will help best I can as another solo developer!
 

jonthefox

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I hear ya, similar for me.  My problem is mostly that I turn my projects into way too big of a scope for me to handle, and also that what I'm really passionate about and enjoy most is the "planning phase" rather than the actual execution, so after a while I want to get that "high" again and start planning a different project.  


I'm trying a new strategy of not doing the entire planning all at once, but plan a bit, then make some maps and events, plan a bit more, make more maps and events, etc., so that when my brain wants to go back to the fun of "planning" I can still do that without abandoning the project.  
 

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