A Two-Year Reflection

Posted by Castypher on Feb. 10, 2014, 1:46 p.m.

I'm in kind of a critical point in my life, where everything has to come together in one stressful mess or I'm really in for it. It's a mountain of stress to move on in life, especially when my hobbies are at risk. I don't know yet whether my hopeful career of game design will work out or not, but the only way to know for sure is to try. And the vast majority of people who complain about not having their dream jobs are those who don't try.

I may be a skeptic and something of a pessimist, but I realized yesterday that there is one thing that makes me happy, and that's making games. There is no greater feeling than doing a day's worth of work, looking back, and thinking, "Man, I accomplished a lot today. This game is that much closer to being finished."

But sometimes it's hard to find the motivation, that much I can understand. Sometimes you have to look at the big picture and not at the little details that act as obstacles. So today I asked myself what I've learned in the past two years – the two greatest years of improvement in my life. I'd encourage you to ask yourselves the same questions.

My turning point was definitely RPG4D 2012. That was when I first finished something I could be proud of. That was when I really got it into gear and realized I didn't have to be stuck making shitty incomplete games. It was also my peak in motivation and thus the beginning of a long fall I'm still recovering from.

I've found my compositional style, which I've received largely positive feedback on.

I've made significant graphical improvements and can handle myself in both a pixel art environment and texturing. I have a decent and adaptable art style that needs improvement, but is passable.

I've improved as a writer and now have a much better understanding of modern storytelling, though this area isn't without its need of improvements.

I enjoy making complex games. Minigames are successful in short bursts. This doesn't mean that complex, effort-filled games can't be, but it may take longer to see success.

Ideas are a dime a dozen, but the ability to execute them is what sets you apart from everyone else.

Despite what some people say, it's not a bad thing to be a jack of all trades. Having skills in many areas is ideal for indie, though I have selected one to focus on more than the others.

Obstacles can be demoralizing. If needed, come back to them another day, or just plow through them with a cup of coffee in hand. Some say if you don't enjoy your work 100% then it's not for you, but I've found this to be entirely untrue. In your work, you will hit obstacles. The ability to overcome them is what shows your love for your work.

Force yourself to work if you have to, but don't force a product. Do this when you need to overcome a block, and stop when you feel that the quality is taking a hit because of it. More often than not, you will revisit these areas, but at least you overcame the block when it mattered.

You need just as much affirmation as everyone else.

And most importantly:

Coffee is delicious. Don't let anyone tell you that coffee isn't delicious.

Someone get me a new skybox.


Castypher 10 years, 4 months ago

In my book, regarding "work that you enjoy", there is work you don't enjoy that facilitates the work you do enjoy. Doing work that you don't enjoy to facilitate work that you don't enjoy is "work that you don't enjoy".

Toast 10 years, 4 months ago

Looking back tends to depress me, frankly the last two years have been the worst.

But goddamn is coffee delicious.

(Energy drinks are good too, I take one when I'm too lazy or busy to make coffee. All that sugar tho)

Castypher 10 years, 4 months ago

There is no compositional style. You learn to write music. Oftentimes people pick a style to define themselves as an artist, but writing music is writing music. Don't limit yourself to an arbitrary "style", just write whatever comes to mind and don't worry about that.
Oh, I didn't mean to imply people need to find and stick to one style. I just meant that everyone's kind of got something that comes naturally, something that makes them stand out a bit. Every composer here has the area they fit into nicely, and it took me a while to find mine. Steven predominately writes classical, sirxemic writes ambient electronica, aeron writes more upbeat electronica, Mega writes chiptunes, Charlo writes things with dark ambient tones, Rez does unconventional something, etc…. Anyone could pick that out just by listening to a few tracks.

Lately I've been hearing "This track sounds very Kilin", which is something I've wanted to hear for a while because it tells me I'm not just copycatting the successful users, and that I've got a style I enjoy composing, as well as something that has a certain level of individuality.

I do agree in writing whatever is appropriate. I just define these compositional styles as whatever comes naturally, and for me it's melodic, upbeat, unorthodox instrument combinations such as guitar-violin-synth or whatever I feel like on the day I composed the track.

Moikle 10 years, 4 months ago

Man, I accomplished a lot today.

oh how I miss that feeling

Astryl 10 years, 4 months ago

I'm seeing a lot of parallels here, between you and myself.

RPG4D 2012 was also a turning point for me; you may remember that I almost didn't enter it because I was feeling too strung out, but I entered after a bit of prodding and churned out Exile.

Game development is my hobby, and it's relaxing. If it ever makes money, that'll be a side effect; I'm not setting out to make this a daily chore, I'm just doing it when I feel like doing it and enjoying it.

Of course, I want to turn my hobby into a career; but I want to do it slowly and without forcing it.

EDIT: Also, coffee. Yay.

colseed 10 years, 4 months ago

sometimes you sound eerily like me

and this is one of those times

but what i'm actually trying to say is, screw you all i require only hot chocolate HAH

Pirate-rob 10 years, 4 months ago

No. Coffee is terrible. Drink tea. Or hot chocolate. Dependant on weather.

X number of months competitions really seem to be motivational.

Acid 10 years, 4 months ago


I think I may or may not have broken something here


Seleney 10 years, 4 months ago

it's not a bad thing to be a jack of all trades

Yes! This is good.

I am not amazing at much but I am pretty good, or passable at many things. At least it makes me feel like I'm ready for anything and occasionally I a satisfying surprise out of someone.

And I'm addicted to Coke. It's the only way to go!

What were you thinking?

Moikle 10 years, 4 months ago

where can I find these IRC quotes?