I never finish my games. There are exceptions of course, but even now, I have urges to let Minions or Champions or whatever I’m calling my LD0 catchup game fall into the past. I managed to finish two games when I was in middle school. Ugly, ugly things. My code for those two games was the most unprofessional thing I have seen to date, and the result wasn’t pretty. I got them sponsored, but I think games were easier to get sponsored back then. After a long break from game making, in 2009, I finished another game. It was pure mediocrity. But it was an improvement. It’s still sitting on FGL waiting for a sponsor. But my code was cleaner. And this year (school year; sorry but I go to school and that’s how my perception of time is ordered), I finished my miniLD25 entry, Blind, and my LD20 entry, The Legend of Zelda on Budget Cuts. I consider them to both be successes at least in terms of good coding practices. And in between this all, numerous, various projects have fallen into neglect and died. But this year, it’s not as bad as before.
So the question is: why? What changed? And I think I have the answer: both LDs, I was motivated to sit down and finish the job. In all cases — whether it was working through the night and till the deadline, or … scratch that “or”, I did that both times — I had a specific goal and a specific time period to finish. My other projects almost all got too ambitious. Each of these times, the project was exactly what I expected. Each time, I counted on spending part of the weekend working on the game, and got that exact amount done in practically the whole weekend. But I did get it done.
So I need to motivate myself. I need to set clearer goals and duedates. So I am resolving to take on a medium sized project (I’m not quite ready for major yet), and finish it before the summer is out. I haven’t decided what it is yet, but there are plenty of options. Note that I said project, but not game. I’ll get back to this in a minute.
This school year, I got a lot more serious about programming than I was before. I plan to double up on two CS classes next year. I will be taking the two semester AP compsci course, and the two single semester systems level programming and computer graphics classes. This means that on entering systems and graphics, all my classmates will have taken the AP class and I will have not. In order to be allowed to take the class, I have to learn Java and familiarize myself with all the standard data structures common to most languages. And this must be done by the start of class, so I have the summer to finish. This might be my project.
Of course, I might simply make a rather complex game.
So why am I telling you this? Not because you have to care (though that would be nice) and not because I want to vent about how I never finish anything (though let me tell you, it really sucks), but because there’s no taking it back once someone reads this (assuming the amount I have typed does not scare every prospective reader away). This is it. I’m committing to doing something, and no more needs be said.
P.S. Someone please remind me how to add the more tag so that I can edit it in and edit this postscript out.