Game Dev Log #5: Time awaits no one

by anbrewk

There’s was a point in this project (it happened to be a few days ago) where it becomes particularly clear that I am not making the ideal version of this game. Whereas I was at first designing around my inability, I am now building up to a ceiling to this project which is only partly limited by my inability. My vision is now further compromised by the time I am willing to devote to this and my own motivation to see my vision through.

The biggest limitation is following through with just what I actually set out to accomplish. The question is, “how much I am willing to invest to complete it?”

The latest example of this came after I received some good advice in regards to how my buttons are currently built. I was told that player options need to be apparent, even if they aren’t accessible at that moment. I had had made these buttons loop to empty options, such as the player picking “Strong” and that looping through text which simply stated “You are not strong,” before going back to the available options (‘Strong’ still being among them). It was suggested to me that I make these options greyed out and non-interactive rather than loops.

I agreed. I think it sets up the player interface to provide the same information to the player (this path exists but is not available) but faster and with less fuss. They don’t have to actually pursue the path to get it. They get it just by looking at the paths available.

The issue then wasn’t that this interfered with my previous vision, or even that it wasn’t something I couldn’t figure out how to do. It was just that in trying to implement greyed out buttons (something I’m sure would be nothing for someone competent in programming), proved to be pretty difficult given the system I’ve built. It turned out it would require me to redesign a couple core elements that I don’t have the patience or inclination to tackle. It’s not something I’m motivated to do.

This means I’ve essentially accepted an inferior game, in part because of my inability to tackle a problem but more so because of my lack of motivation to devote time to the problem. I dun wanna. In the beginning, as I began designing the game I had my own limitations in mind and made compromises then to design something possible. In the beginning I was designing the ideal game given my limitations. Now I am further restricting that vision beyond the limit I had previously set. I am compromising my vision for less justifiable reasons (though, I’m sure a sympathetic reader would agree, still justifiable—just not so much as before). It feels different now.

What I am at least happy about is that I have a working prototype that does what I want it to do. It sets out the game play elements I initially envisioned and establishes the thematic elements I had hoped to accomplish.

And it is at least somewhat encouraging that I acknowledge and understand the improvements to be made to my initial design, regardless of whether I am in a position to act on making those improvements.

What I’m most excited about now is completing the project. Moving beyond the prototype and completing the full set of rooms and stories I set out to do. It’s that which I really intended on doing. It’s that which I want to sink my motivation into.