Aw man, that's all too relatable. I've been working on an arcade platformer for over a year now. I should've waited until I had more experience under my belt, but I was really excited about the concept and started working on it. I differ in that for some reason my excitement never really died down. I've had my highs and lows, but overall I'm pumped about it. I recommend finding what inspires you and gets your mind racing about whatever game project your working on, (music is a good one,) and using that to help you
The first word that comes to my mind when I think about this project is disappointment,
Too harsh? Maybe. But I am my worst critic.
I was way too excited to do a Halloween themed game jam when I signed up for Darktober 18. A whole month? It would be the longest jam I have participated in so far which meant it would have to be my best one yet. I started the month with the right idea in mind: Define what I wanted to LEARN from participating in this jam. Needless to say I got lost somewhere along the way. I had some ideas in my head but nothing I wanted to pursue, nothing that got me excited. I was in an endless anxiety-filled thought loop until I realized I was two weeks out from the due date and I had nothing. At this point my original goal was lost. I scrambled to the last passable idea I had in my head: A librarian witch who recommends books to customers. A matching/memory game. Easy.
I dreaded everyday that I had to work on it. There were many days in those two weeks where I didn't work on it at all. Times where I booted up Gamemaker and just stared at the screen for hours. It all got so back loaded it was stressing me out. I HAD to push this game out no matter what. I HAD to do it even if I didn't like it. And so I did.
But what did I learn? Nothing.
This was like a filler episode in your favorite TV show. It doesn't have a point. It didn't help in my journey to grow as a developer.
What I Could've Done
I should've just dropped the game. I am a hobbyist developer. I am not working on a triple A title that I could care less about. I care about the games I make but this time I didn't and it shows.
What gets me the most is I knew better. I have been to and watched numerous amounts of panels warning me of the exact thing I experienced with this jam but sometimes no matter how many warnings you get from other developers it doesn't mean anything until you experience it yourself.
What I am Going to Do
I am taking a break from my "game jam a month" challenge through November. I am not happy and something needs to change. I won't be gone for long and I will come back stronger then ever. You can count on it.
Until next time,
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Thanks for the comment Mayor!
I have many bigger ideas for games that I really want to make but I know with my current level of experience I would never be able to do them justice. I won’t be continuing my “Game Jam a Month” challenge, instead I will be focusing on making games that I WANT to make and simultaneously picking specific things I will be trying to learn with each one. I am really happy that what I wrote resonanted with you! Just keep going with the right mentality and you’ll get to where you want to be. I hope I get to play your platformer one day.
Best of luck!