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Why making games is awesome!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by zombiegorilla, Dec 3, 2015.

  1. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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    There are several threads focused on the challenges, frustrations and trials associated with building games and being successful at. Totally understandable, it is neither an easy pursuit, nor one that is easy to succeed it. So why bother at all? There are so many other things that are less difficult, and easy to make a living at.

    Why indeed? Are we just all just emotionally screwed up? Not smart enough to realize there are so many other ways to achieve happiness and pay rent? Or as once suggested by @ShadowK , its just a masochistic personality trait? (for which I find some truth in) ;)

    So I thought it would be fun to talk about why we actually do it, the upsides and joy that is often not talked about. What makes you keep doing it, fundamentally, despite the challenges. (or because of them?)

    I'll start. For me it has always been the puzzle part of it. I loved puzzle games, and puzzle based video games. Being inquisitive, I looked into how they were made and discovered that creation was a just a more complex puzzle. That has always been my core drive, solving problems and finding solutions for all the hundreds of aspects in creating a complete game. And the beauty of this endeavor, is that there is never an end to it. No matter how good you get, how much experience you have, the next game always has new puzzles to solve, whether is just a new type of game you haven't built before, or changes in tech. It is always changing and growing. My ADHD approves of this as way to spend my days.

    In addition to that, the product of our art form is actually engaging for those who are fans and consume the fruits of our labor. Movies, music, illustration, ect.. can have a impact on those who view them, but with ours, it goes beyond that. Players and fans of our games are heavily invested in our games. Though good and bad at times, even the most vocal of those who complain, do so because they have a deep attachment to the game. This wasn't something that drove me to games, but something that gives me true joy.

    And lastly, the mix of disciplines and skills makes it very interesting to build games. My core loves are illustration and engineering, building games satisfies both. On top that, I getting to meet and work with other weirdos like myself who share these same passions. Folks that I wouldn't necessarily meet outside of building games. Or more accurately, might meet, but not realize we shared that same drive and connection.

    ----

    What about you? Why do you endure the challenging parts? What is the joy in game development that keeps you going?
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2015
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  2. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    A quick one... Every so often I play a game that just grabs me. I'm utterly immersed and engaged, in a way no other media has managed for me. A part of me wants to make that experience.

    I love the technical, problem solving aspects of the work, and I love creatively solving problems. I also like making people think, so I hope that some of my work achieves that. And professionally, my work is used to train people, which I think is super cool.
     
  3. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    I like to tinker. Hobby shop stuff doesn't do it for me, and I am not rich enough to afford the types of things I want to play with. My job is occasionally technical and mechanical, but it's not enough. I want to construct experiments with rockets and liquid nitrogen. Making games lets me live that fantasy, to express my imagination freely and have it be "real" in a way. More real than a drawing could ever be.

    I can experience things I can only imagine and then other people can experience the same things as me. So in a weird way, it's also a way for me connect to people without having to engage in actual human contact.

    @zombiegorilla - Nice thread idea.
     
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  4. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    I've said it a few times on these forums that if it's just a hobby - why torture yourself? but if it's an ambition to make money then it's understandable tough. I agree with all zombie's points!
     
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  5. Gametyme

    Gametyme

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    Im still new(less than one year programming), learning a ton and I'm loving the challenge.
     
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  6. tango209

    tango209

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    I do it as a hobby (what can I say, I'm a masochist).

    After playing with Unity for about five years now, I've got like 50 early prototypes. I like thinking about game ideas and tend to work on an idea just long enough to solve the major technical problems. With a family and the senior lead at my day job, it's hard to find the time and motivation to power through the boring parts.

    I also find myself not playing games as much due to the feeling that it's just not a great use of my time and I have a hard time finding anything that I would enjoy for more than a few hours. I do find that making games (as far as I've gotten anyways) does give me that sense of having done something productive with my limited time. I really enjoy learning new things in this field.
     
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  7. Kiwasi

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    Game dev is my current hobby. I tend to go through them in cycles every few years.

    I need to keep learning and experimenting or I go insane. My day job provides some of this, but there are also long dull routine patches. And after a year or so in a role the challenge starts to fade. There is pretty much nothing I can't do any more. This is the time when I am most productive for the company, but its also the least exciting time.

    So currently I make games. Its an interesting challenge. I've never been formally trained in programming or game design or art, so almost everything is new. It also provides a second revenue stream (small, but not nothing). Programming has proven to be a marketable skill in my day job. Sure writing macros to copy paste data from a variety of spreadsheets and convert it into a graph isn't overly exciting. But it is valuable. And it makes me stand out from all my peers who are only engineers.

    When I get to the point that I am no longer learning things in making games, I will probably move onto something else.

    When I'm not making games I focus my efforts on the forums. I'm after you @hippocoder. ;)
     
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  8. angrypenguin

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    I think the same of many hobbies that are not mine.

    I mean... knitting? Really? Some people love it though.
     
  9. Acissathar

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    I do it as a hobby as well, but the reason I do it is because there are a ton of dream games I have that I'd like to play. I don't have the time or patience to sit around and hope someone else makes what I want to play, so I might as well do it myself.

    Now if only I could stay focused...
     
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  10. tedthebug

    tedthebug

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    I do it for a number of reasons, the first being that my wife got sick of me complaining about the games I like being broken/totally changed with patches & told me to get off my butt & learn to make my own. After that it's the challenge of finding an interesting mechanic &/or a new take on something & finding a way to make it fun, challenging & interesting.
     
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  11. imaginaryhuman

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    I don't make games. I be creative/artistic and sometimes it expresses as a game. What comes through me comes first and turns into form later. That's the creative process. So the game itself is sort of a symptom, or an end result, but it's actually the 'being creative' and 'flowing' that makes me feel happy. It's how I feel WHILE I am making it, as a result of the process, and not because of the end result. If I am being quite creative I start bouncing around and whistling and singing and stuff, and that's because of what's happening inside me, not because of the game. That means I am enjoying being creative - that it's fun. What I actually create isn't as important.

    Once I focus too much on what I've created I'm not being creative anymore and it doesn't feel good. Especially if I focus on it so much that I start to dwell on what I haven't created yet or what's left to do - that's a downer. Sometimes that puts the brakes on, bigtime, and may even make me want to quit. But I also know that when I am in the flow of immediate creativity and am actually `producing` with some momentum (ie lots of flow), that's when I feel the most unencumbered and free and joyful. That usually translates to sitting there with Unity open and actually doing stuff and seeing very quick results. If I'm not in the `zone` or if Unity is getting in the way with complexity/bugs/issues then its a buzzkill.

    Development is about what's happening in me as a human. And playing the game is about what's happening inside me as a human. It's never really about the game itself - it's just a tool/medium.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2015
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  12. Eric-Darkomen

    Eric-Darkomen

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    For me its a natural progression. I've always been heavily involved in anything computer related. In my youth any time stuck indoors was spent producing basic, whether it was retyping code from imported magazines or just messing around trying to mod my existing software, interactive entertainment was always more fun than sitting slack-jawed in front of the TV, etc.

    When I go a bit older I dedicated all of my free time to developing a state-machine 'AI system' to drive my OS and it was my pride and joy until I discovered girls...

    In primary school we got a computer lab and while everyone else did typing I ended up doing break/fix work for the IT teacher, great fun that opened doors for me and so the wheels were put in motion. Sadly while everywhere I have ever worked I have been the defacto network admin/IT manager I've never been employed purely in this capacity.

    At 18 I emigrated dashing my hopes of a CS degree as I had to start working pretty much immediately but somehow at 21 I had been promoted several times and found myself in a middle management role at a well-known global logistics company in London where I built a team and designed a process to digitize a global insurance company. BS really does baffle brains lol! The paperless office had arrived and I delivered it :)

    I had spent some time working in C++ as a hobby and contributed a few small applications to aid with what we were doing and they found use in other parts of the organisation. I loved it but it was a tiny part of what I was doing at the time. Eventually it became bigger than the project I was on and I found myself working full-time on it from home for around 2 months. I worked on a package tracking system 16 hours a day until I basically burned out but it worked and I got promoted.

    With my management hat back on, and sick of C++ I started writing a DHTML/ECMAScript library for advanced UI features in my spare time. The way I figured it most applications could be written in such a way that they could run in a browser and set about creating some power widgets to enable RAD web development with this idea at it's core. Back in the day it was pretty awesome but despite my lofty goals I never really used it on anything practical, it was just something I would make people look at and feign interest in every so often.

    When teams of people started putting similar libraries together and popularizing them I got my feet wet with server-side stuff. I had a vision of embedded contractors bringing plug-and-play servers (the micoATX form factor was here at last) with their own software into client premises and exposing new functionality to the client without disrupting their existing information systems. I presented to the board and they weren't sure about this newfangled internet stuff which killed the dream and to some degree the job (well at least for me). I had some money in this and the promises and contracts from my seniors didn't materialize which put me in a dark place for a while.

    Disillusioned I took some time to get acquainted with Photoshop and Blender for the fun of it. I set about learning openGL and started work on my own engine. Fun fun, years passed.

    Fast forward 5 years and my personal life had caused me to change industries. I found myself working for a manufacturer of children's toys. I came on board to manage legal compliance but soon found myself involved with the marketing and production of actual products. My creative skillset developed organically taking me through packages like Illustrator and Photoshop. There came a day that we needed a 3D visualization of a product for a partner and so I set out in earnest... and was hooked.

    A few years of designing everything from trade show stands through to posters and TVCs and I realized two important things that I thought I already knew, a) Always do what you enjoy and you will never work a day in your life. b) Everything complicated is a series of little steps, one after the other.

    This has never been a valve I could shut off nor was I born with some natural ability but I find over time I become more and more... Myself. To me bringing all of my skills together and learn some new ones is just the next tiny step in my journey - sometimes awesome, sometimes deeply depressing but always inching forward. I also discovered that the secret to the long term siege-project is to break out of it and do some freelance work every so often when things start feeling heavy. Oddly enough I don't maintain a portfolio (mostly because I sell the rights to everything I can) and yet the work seems to find me.

    Put another way, if this is who you are my advice is to make your peace with the tragedy of it and accept your lot. Never surrender, never say die and don't believe your own hype. You'll never get to the top of the pillars you've created in your mind so try to enjoy the journey and let other people tell you when you're done because if you're remotely like me you're making changes after the final has been submitted and the press has fired up. Frankly this is my yardstick. Are the people around me impressed yet :p I suppose this comes from my requirements /working parameters usually being imposed by others but you know what, it helps.

    Anyway, that's the rough version of why I do this stuff; it's who I am. Hopefully you feel the same, if so I'm sure we will meet somewhere along the way!
     
  13. GarBenjamin

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    I just like to build stuff. Often based on stuff that used to be AAA long ago and now only Indies and hobbyists provide that kind of stuff. Most of the time I just like making stuff that is different. It's fun building a little game world and bringing it to life.
     
  14. RichardKain

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    Game development is fraught with challenge. The learning curve is insanely steep, competition is rampant, and the time needed to do anything at all is immense.

    Here's the thing though... I LOVE challenge. The more difficult something is, the more motivated I feel to tackle it. And I've always been this way. Nothing fires my curiosity more than when I don't know if I can pull something off. This has been one of the driving forces behind my personal obsession with game development. Few disciplines that I've come across present me with the same level of problem-solving challenges.

    Yes, it's a big-ass mountain to climb. But in some weird way, I WANT that mountain. Sometimes I even NEED that mountain.
     
  15. Deleted User

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    Mix this with @angrypenguin and that's my reason, I noticed you tagged me @zombiegorilla. If you're just doing it as a hobby it's not so bad, if you're trying to compete in the upper chains of some markets. Yeah I think you're probably smart and talented, but have potentially have a major screw loose..

    I know I do :D..
     
  16. Teila

    Teila

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    It is so much fun!! Learning new things every day, meeting really cool, smart and interesting people, getting to do something with my kids and hubby that is productive and enjoyable, seeing amazing results, watching my own growth and that of my family's.....

    I am having a blast!! That is why I do it. :)
     
  17. LaneFox

    LaneFox

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    You get to make explosions, what more is there to say?
     
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  18. tedthebug

    tedthebug

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    Lol. I had a teacher that showed us a commercial product he'd made for a client & then he showed us the hidden, hard to access without the correct weird combination of key presses, bit that instantiated explosive barrels & blew everything up.
     
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  19. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Actually... a lot. Explosions have made me suffer a while in Unity because I really can't accept game-looking sprite puffs.
     
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  20. LaneFox

    LaneFox

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    I'm... I'm sorry :(
     
  21. ironbellystudios

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    Go team gamedev! Wooo!
     
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  22. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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    A few years back I was working on MAA, a friend from out of town stopped by. He asked what I was doing.. I said "slicing up ninjas" It really reinforced the fact that I had made the right life choices. ;)
     
  23. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    I'd love to hear a bit about the solutions you chose and the reasoning behind that.
     
  24. LaneFox

    LaneFox

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    "Hey man what ya doin?"

    "Oh not much, I got bored so I'm just flinging ragdolls across the map with a gun that fires explosive toilets. What are you up to?"
     
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  25. dogzerx2

    dogzerx2

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    I like the idea of creating universes with their own rules, and in it beings with their own minds, and things you can interact with. Compose it all so it's unpredictable and lifelike.
     
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  26. snacktime

    snacktime

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    This is what most aspiring 'game developers' don't get. I'm a developer, and I'm a developer first. It's the hard skills that you need to have a passion for in some way, that's what you need to be good at. If you are first and foremost making games because you like games, most likely you aren't very good at what you do.

    If you go interview at a top game studio as a developer, guess what they don't ask you a whole lot of game specific questions. They want to know if you are a good developer/artist/whatever first.

    What got me interested in games was really just some of the hard technical problems that I thought were being solved badly, I wanted to show there was a better way to do it. That's what gets me out of bed in the morning. I could really care less about what specific game I'm working on as long as it's complex enough to be interesting.
     
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  27. BFGames

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    I always liked being creative. I love drawing, i used to spend a lot of time producing music, i love solving logical problems, etc.

    When creating computer games, all of this has to come together to the perfect sum!

    Thats why there is very few games i actually like to play, but almost every project i worked on i loved because they each held their own challenge. Even if it was for a game i would never play myself.

    It is the challenge! It is addictive like hell! Thats why i spend so much of my spare time and so much of my time studying to become a game developer.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
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  28. aer0ace

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    Dang, lots of War and Peace in this thread. My story is longish too, but I'll try to be concise.

    So out of the womb... I was an artist. Tracing, sketching, comic books, anatomy books, copying to get better, prismacolor pencils and markers, and eventually acrylic painting, sculpting, papier mache, near best of class in high school, etc.

    Since the NES, about 5th grade, I wanted to make my own games. So I designed/conceptualized some games on paper. The designs were of course, crappy. Tried reading programming books. Way over head. Didn't get a computer until early high school. Picked up "evaluation" copies of 3ds/max. Loved it, made some really cool animations. Tried programming Povray, because that's how I thought games were made (It's not. It's a raytracer). It sucked and I gave up. Modding Doom was fun, but whenever I tried to program, I gave up over and over. It was frustrating as hell. Continued as artist.

    College, wanted to major in Art. My dad, a mechanical engineer, of course thought it was stupid. Lots of fights about it. Eventually I gave in, majored in Computer Engineering, figuring 3D animation is getting big with Toy Story and all, and figuring I'll prove myself to my dad that an artist can be an engineer too. A couple years of programming and sw engineering classes, I pick up OpenGL and DirectX and get hooked. Start making my own engine as a hobby.

    Graduate BS CmpE, got hired as lead engineer at a startup game company. Didn't get paid last two months. Got hired as tester at AAA game studio. Climbed the ranks, transitioned to software engineer, all was right with the world. Ten years later, ship a AAA title, got burned out and creatively starved (Art out of practice). Got laid off few months after ship. Decided to go indie. Half a year and a couple published Android games later, I'm still living off of savings, will probably have to contract out soon.

    Summing up, I want to make the games that *I* want to make. To this point I feel like I've gone through a 25 year training ground and feel that it's finally time to fully express my creativity, and eventually, hopefully enough to survive off of. I never ever thought that being an indie game developer could feel like being a starving artist. But I just have to give it a shot now, before I end up regretting not trying it ever.
     
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  29. derf

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    This...

    Plus there are games I liked and owned and yet while playing it I would see things or experience things and think to my self "I would have done this instead of that and made it about 50% more fun with just that one change".

    So that is why I do it to make the games the way I would like to play them. Granted most of them are rather small in scope compared to "some" of the larger games I made but I am still dedicated to created some of those "large" games as well with my own way of it working.
     
  30. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    I wasn't much more productive without the internet tbh. Back in the day, there would always be a game that called to me from a floppy or tape somewhere.
     
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  31. tedthebug

    tedthebug

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