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How do you deal with boredom?

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:27 am
by norubal
It comes silent, It's unavoidable(as I think), and It destroy my project quick and surely, Boredom.

I'm working on small roguelike as my private project since February. Now 1 month passed, I implemented random dungeon generation, FOV, combat system and basic monster AI. I worked hard, fixed many bugs, and made early prototype with passion. I builded it, I executed it, and BAM!

It was boring.
...and Evil grasp of boredom got me, now I'm torpor one and lost passion to continue my project.

Do you have(or had) problem with boredom like me? how you deal it? clench your teeth and keep work, take some rest, or drop project and find something new?

P.S: I saw downfish and idea fairy comics million times, I'm curious how other gamedev guys deal with it.

Re: How do you deal with boredom?

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:11 am
by micha
What is boring in your case? The game or the game development? I am assuming you mean the game development.

My advice, when you tend to get bored of your projects:
  • Before you start a project, make sure to keep the scope small. Have you finished a game before? If yes, be sure that the next project is only a little bit larger. If no, then start really small
  • Go for the "minimum viable product" approach. That means, first make all the parts that you need so that the game is a complete game (menu, one level, ending...). Once you have done this, you are in the nice position that you can stop development at any time. So you have the freedom to add more awesomeness to the game, but also you can stop at any moment, because the game is already complete.
  • Get other people involved. These might either be collaborators or playtesters. Collaborators almost certainly give you extra motivation, because you feel that you owe the other person your work. Also, collaborators are great for discussing design issues and implementation problems. Playtesters are great, because you force yourself to bring the game to a playable state and you can set yourself a deadline.
  • Also, on a more philosophical level, ask yourself why you want to make games in the first place. When you face a particularly boring task then remind yourself why you make games.
  • And for future works: Whenever you are bored by your current task, ask yourself, why you have to do it? Some boring tasks might be unnecessary, if you had structured your code in a different way in the first place. See the boredom as an opportunity to learn (how to avoid it in the future). Of course, some boring tasks are unavoidable and will pop up every time.

Re: How do you deal with boredom?

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:04 pm
by martincohen
micha That's an excellent list! I get bored a lot (I have abandoned several games, that I still feel have a potential). So I'm now following essentialy the same rules.

I also don't try to do things that are too hard (for now), or feel like they'll be boring me and I always jump to creating sounds, sprites or just watching other games to get inspired. Typically making a collision system might feel boring, but I went and found some ways of implementing that I've never done before and learned that. It was a lot of fun to do it that way.

I'm also using videos on YouTube to inspire me and keep me going. When I was making a horror game, I was watching Markiplier, as it inspired me how even the smallest simple games can be scary or fun at least. It got me going for a long time. I have, however, abandoned the game during the Christmas, as Markiplier stopped making new videos for a month or so. ;) So now I'm working on something else, but I know I'll go back when there's another large batch of fresh scary content. :)

For my current game, I'm watching playthrough/preview videos of games like Nuclear Throne, Crawl or Hyper Light Drifter, as those are very close to what I'd like to achieve with my current game.

This technique allows me to have the motivational source kept externally, in case my internal motivation fails. So I can always rekindle it when needed.

Fingers crossed for ya!
<3 --M.

Re: How do you deal with boredom?

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:17 pm
by micha
I forgot to link to some sources. Here you can read and watch about the "minimum viable product":
Gamasutra - Finish your game.
Extra Credits - Making Your First Game: Minimum Viable Product

Re: How do you deal with boredom?

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:04 pm
by Skeiks
I've released a bunch of Flash games and I always get bored near the beginning or close to the end. Dealing with a blank slate (which was the case when I had started Love2d and had none of my AS3 sources :c) and polishing always make me bored, but of most of the time I could power through it.

In the early stages I would always have a clear idea of what I wanted to work on next, so when I sat down I was always accomplishing something visible. I don't worry too much about optimization and code cleanliness at that point.

Once I had something playable, an ugly demo with maybe 5-10 levels of what I expected the game to be like, I would get it in front of my friends. I love getting feedback on things, whether it's negative or positive. Showing what I'm working on is a big motivator, and seeing people excited about playing the finished product is very gratifying. I wouldn't publicly expose demos but I would show what I was working on on Newgrounds as some motivation.

Another motivator after that would be just getting a finished product. Releasing games is really exciting, especially when they're well recieved. Being able to look up reviews of your work and seeing at least a few people enjoy it is a really good feeling. When I'm sitting there working for days on some of the fringe bugs that only pop up once in a blue moon, I just think about how it'll positively effect the player and it helps me power through it.

And the final motivator for some of my games was thinking about the sponsorship money I would get when the game was released. But I don't know if that applies to you though. I hope some of this helps.

Re: How do you deal with boredom?

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:26 pm
by kikito
What I'm going to post should not be considered a general solution to fix all boredom-related issues, but it helps in some cases.

Sometimes, the difference between a boring game and a fun one is just juice.

If you don't know what juice is, the vlambeer guys (EDIT: not actually vlambeer, sorry) have a great talk about it:

In my particular case, I experienced it once: the bump.lua main demo was initially boring - just a rectangle jumping around and/or flying. I could not figure out how to make it fun. Then I added a smoke trail when the rectangle flew. And bam. Suddently it was fun to play. I added more bits and pieces (camera shake, sound, background music, explosions and enemies), which made it even better. But definitively the moment where it transitioned from "meh" to "kind of fun" was when I added the smoke trail. The only way I can explain it is like I said at the beginning - sometimes you just need more juice.

Re: How do you deal with boredom?

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:06 am
by s-ol
kikito wrote: If you don't know what juice is, the vlambeer guys have a great talk about it:

One of the most simple yet important gamedev talks I know... But that's not vlambeer, it's grapefrukt and someone else, isn't it?

Re: How do you deal with boredom?

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 9:42 am
by kikito
Maybe you are right. I got the vlambeer name from my carbon memory, not the silicom-based one. :p

Re: How do you deal with boredom?

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 12:00 pm
by micha
Vlambeer talked about it, too. The video is here.

Re: How do you deal with boredom?

Posted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 11:35 am
by zikesha93
I think boredom is the best teacher and motivator for making a game. When you're bored it's usually because you'r not finding something challenging or captivating anymore, basically your skills and expectations have increased and you're about to level up!
Boredom and frustration are close pals, I think you need to congratulate yourself for working hard. I would dream to make a rouge like, its out of my capabilities. If I was you I would make a tutorial for us wannabes which could also help with feedback. If your not challenged enough try make your game different from other rouge likes. Try one crazy feature that might even define your entire game.

I think the cure to boredom is madness. Experiment but not too much.