Archives for category: prep talk

“You’re only as good as your last [whatever]” – we’ve all heard this in some shape or form; but I’m going to suggest something slightly different: “You’re only as good as your next [whatever]”. Looking at it this way helps you to realise that once a project is complete you shouldn’t be looking back at it – you should put it to one side and then start looking toward what you are going to do next. Yes, it’s good to celebrate success – but that success will only carry you so far, survival and prosperity are found in the things you have yet to do, and not in the things you have done. It also helps if you create something that doesn’t live up to expectations – you can learn from that and make the next project better.

Sometimes in life we pause to take stock of what we are doing and where we are going – probably motivated by the underlying feeling that maybe we aren’t currently doing what we want to be doing (or that perhaps we should be working harder to reach our goals). It’s not something we do enough – probably because our conscience mind keeps us pinned on the here-and-now – but something that really makes us focus on our own lives is the death of someone else – which is a little depressing.

Marco Simoncelli died today doing what he loved.

Marco was just 24 – and who knows – may even have gone onto become the MotoGP champion one day. But unfortunately we will never know. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than talent cut short.

If there’s something you want to do, a dream you want to acheive – anything – and you aren’t doing it. Start right now.

Marco 1987-2011

In the games industry the only difference between an authority and just another asshole with an opinion is a track record. Here’s some asshole algebra:

Opinion + Track Record = Authority

Opinion – Track Record = just another asshole

I’m honest enough to let you know that at the time of writing this post – I’m an asshole. But I don’t want to be an asshole so I’m going to work hard and rectify this by actually making something. If you don’t want people to think you are just another asshole with an opinion, go and make something too.

I sometimes have days where I feel I’m trying to achieve something beyond my reach with this game I’m making – days where my motivation is at an all time low and I feel like giving up. But if there’s one thing that picks me up more than anything else it’s success stories like Trainyard. This is an iPhone game that was developed by one person over the course of a year and went on to do very well on the App Store. The person who developed it went on to realise one of his life goals – to develop games full-time. I remember seeing the review for this game when it came out and thinking that it looked ok – but it didn’t stand out as being exceptional (opinions are like assholes, remember!?) so I was a little surprised when the article about it appeared on Gamasutra (and consequently Kotaku where I read it first). From my point of view, there are a few things that Matt Rix, the developer of Trainyard, says that strike a chord:

at the end of the day, AS3 and Objective-C really are pretty similar

This somewhat reassuring. I don’t come from a programming background but have been developing my game in AS3. Assuming this statement isn’t a complete lie I’m a little more optimistic about approaching Objective-C now for when I re-code my game for the iPhone.

I think the hardest thing for me was staying motivated. There were times when I didn’t work on the project for a couple weeks or even a couple months, so I’d lose all momentum.

Nice to know I’m not the only one! I’ve recently moved to a new city and job so I had an entire month without looking at the project, but in the last couple of weeks I’ve gradually been getting back up to speed by going through one class or one feature (such as scoring) each day.

I’ve learned a ton of lessons, but the biggest one is to pick a goal then follow through till you’re done. You’ve got to be motivated and determined to finish your game, or else you just won’t

“Keep going” is what I’m getting here. Obviously some days are more productive than others – but if nothing else I try to do a little bit each day – if only an hour. If I’m struggling to do that then I just leave it and come back the next day.

Here’s the original AppSpy review recorded in June 2010 – while watching remember that the game went from relative obscurity to top of the charts by October. The reviewer clearly says it’s a great game, a ‘must-have’ in fact, but it still didn’t do anything for me (still doesn’t!).