Author Topic: I tried to start small projects.  (Read 2261 times)

Offline Blahness

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I tried to start small projects.
« on: November 01, 2011, 11:59:13 PM »
I tried to make a small roguelike, but got bored around the algorithmic item generation coding.

Tried a tactics game, didn't find it that engaging.


It's very hard for me to hold onto my motivation for programming.  How do you keep at it?
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Offline Nalgas

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Re: I tried to start small projects.
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2011, 06:09:11 AM »
For me, it always helps to pick a project that I'm interested in enough that I can keep pushing through it when I get to a dull part.  Sometimes I might have to take a break for a bit and work on something else for a little while, but not everything is always going to be fun and exciting, even if it's a project that's really interesting overall or something that you're getting paid for (which can be pretty motivating).  Sometimes you just have to suck it up and do it so you can get past it and move on.

It definitely helps having all that stuff planned out ahead of time so you at least have some idea of how it's going to work before you sit down to do it and can get it over with more quickly, rather than having to work out all the details at the same time as writing the code.  Knowing what the general structure of it is going to look like and how much of it you have done already and what's still left to finish both makes it easier to do it right and gives you something to work toward.  I kind of go nuts in the design stage sometimes, mapping stuff out and organizing everything until I'm satisfied before I ever sit down to write any code, so I always know how much more there is left to go on whatever piece I'm working on and have some kind of finite goal I can set to reach by lunch or the end of the day/week/whenever, along with measurable progress.

And back to the "working on things that are actually interesting" thing, that ties back into the "measurable progress" part.  If you're working on something you're excited about (for whatever reason, whether it's for fun, like a a game, or something useful, like a tool that solves a problem that's been bugging you for a while), seeing it take shape and start doing the things you want is pretty neat.  A good example is a chat client I was working on, which wasn't terribly interesting at first, but then when it hit the point where it could successfully open a connection to the server and authenticate with it and showed up in the userlist, that was a pretty big milestone.  It may not have been able to send or receive messages or anything useful at that point, but with the foundation in place, adding and testing more features was suddenly possible, plus I could confuse and annoy other people with it by testing it on a live server.  Motivation achieved!  Heh.

Offline x4000

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Re: I tried to start small projects.
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2011, 10:13:32 AM »
For me, I simply find the programming fun.  I guess it's kind of like asking "how do you manage to make it to the end of a game, where do you find the perseverance?"  For players that enjoy the game, they are sad when the game is over, not feeling like the game is work to play.

Most of the programming I find fun, though stuff like the reference guide yesterday can be extremely tedious.  A lot of that comes from the intellectual challenge of structuring a game, and getting everything to work well together.  I also have a background and just a general interest in really large software projects, so that helps.

Like Nalgas said, though, you can make it easier or harder on yourself.  There are days when I just don't feel like doing whatever I'm supposed to be doing next, so I work on something else that I DO feel like coding, instead.  Always having lots of things you could work on, in a variety of parts of the game, is really helpful for motivation, I find.  Sometimes if I just don't feel like working on a new big feature, for instance, it's fun to add a new ship to AI War or a new spell to AVWW or a new block to Tidalis or whatever.  Having a mixture of tasks that are big and small really helps.
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Offline Nalgas

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Re: I tried to start small projects.
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2011, 06:59:53 PM »
For me, I simply find the programming fun.  I guess it's kind of like asking "how do you manage to make it to the end of a game, where do you find the perseverance?"  For players that enjoy the game, they are sad when the game is over, not feeling like the game is work to play.

That's a good part of it, too.  I've been doing it for a long time, sometimes more, sometimes less, but it's always been something I've enjoyed.  I wouldn't've kept doing it all this time if it weren't, I suppose.  I was one of those kids back in school who had to turn down other clubs/teams trying to recruit me because I was busy enough already being on the math team and doing music and computer stuff on my own, and I was a big enough dork to ask for (and receive!) a new IDE for Christmas one year way back when.  Before that I always had logic puzzles and at one point even the "joy" of typing crap by hand in BASIC from a book or a magazine I got somewhere into my VIC-20 and trying to figure out whether the reason it didn't work was because I made a typo or there was one in the original source...and then discovering that when it worked, it still sucked anyway.  So yeah, if that didn't kill my interest, I guess I really do like it.  Heh.

Solving problems/creating things through raw logic is just fun.  You can almost will things into existence by thinking about them hard enough (not counting a little bit of typing here and there, but that's the most trivial part of the work being done).  You just come up with a neat idea or a problem that needs solving, then let your brain get to braining until you come up with a suitable approach (which may involve looking things up or trying things out, but that's all just more fuel for the braining process).  When it comes down to it, whatever awesome thing you end up with is really just a giant mathematical expression that describes what you came up with in your head that you wanted to have happen.  That's pretty cool, in my book.

Offline x4000

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Re: I tried to start small projects.
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2011, 10:50:47 AM »
That's exactly how I feel!
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Offline Cyborg

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Re: I tried to start small projects.
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2011, 01:22:25 PM »
I work for a company on their coding projects, which are generally large in nature. At work, sometimes I get to create my own stuff from scratch and that's fun.

However, when I'm home and I'm working on my own stuff, it's way more entertaining because it's something I'm interested in. Maybe the problem is you are trying to create someone else's game instead of creating the game that you want to play. Most of Arcen's stuff is not very derivative, which means they're creating something new and adding something to the genre, which probably means the programming is more fun. I imagine if they were forced to do someone else's project that was the 10th sequel to some franchise, it would be far less entertaining.

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