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  Do you get bored, discouraged or demotivated with your projects?  (Read 16781 times)
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Offline Rayexar
« Posted 2013-08-28 10:57:34 »

I don't know if it's common or just me, but sometimes when I work on a project, I suddenly don't feel like working on it anymore. Sometimes I feel like there's no point continuing it, sometimes it's because I don't like the way it's going and other times I just feel like doing something different. This also happens when everything is going well, but I suddenly look at it in a negative way. When this happens, I end up getting demotivated and ditching the project, or starting over.

Does anyone want to share their experience? Any advice to stay motivated and sticking with a project?

I recently deleted the last game I was working on because I felt like I did a crummy job on the core game design.

Personally, I think it's easier when you plan out what you want to do. You should know what game you want to make, and how to design it (the technical part), which I think is the hardest.
Offline StrideColossus
« Reply #1 - Posted 2013-08-28 12:00:49 »

I would imagine pretty much everyone on here goes through the same experience so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Sometimes I find taking a break from a project (or even from all programming) helps to regain that motivation, a change is as good as a rest and all that.  Also when I come back to something I often find that I can see better solutions / designs that weren't apparent to me because I was so involved.

Assuming you're working on your projects as something interesting and creative as opposed to actual paid work then of course you can do what you want.  Maybe something to try that works for me is to set yourself a roadmap of features that you're planning to design and implement, get one done, then put that project aside and take a break or work on something else.  Means you get a feeling of progression, and you get that benefit I mentioned of coming back later with a fresher pair of eyes.

Random thoughts, hope that helps a little.

- stride
Offline relminator
« Reply #2 - Posted 2013-08-28 14:55:54 »

I'm on a coding hiatus myself.  All my free time is spent either experimenting new cooking techniques and that damn ps2 game called valkyrie profile 2.  I knew I should not have opened my ps2 last week.
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline namrog84

JGO Ninja

Medals: 46
Projects: 4

Keep programming!

« Reply #3 - Posted 2013-08-28 15:17:59 »

There are a few tips that have helped me.

Once you get something working on your game.  Do not go fiddle with it again!!  Just because you can do it better, make the code look better, or know of better ways of handling it.
Just get the game done and make only changes and fixes you need to get the game done.  Unless there is something majorly wrong with it, that's stopping you from finishing it.

Because everyone gets better as they make the game.  If you keep going back, you will never finish. Once I started to adopt this idea that, there are parts of my game that I hate and I know I could do better.  And just try do implement my new ideas on next game. I have had much more success in completing things.

Additionally, and most important.  Although some people spend 2 years on their first game and finish it.  I personally find that to be the wrong approach for beginners. At least in the beginning,  you should focus on having short completeable goals.  The feeling you get when you finish a game(finished in the most part)  makes you feel much better about tackling another project or game.

With the above 2 things, in consideration. I haven't been getting as bored or demotivated nearly as much.  Especially when I set more realistic earlier goals.   Cheesy

"Experience is what you get when you did not get what you wanted"
Offline kpars
« Reply #4 - Posted 2013-08-28 15:26:23 »

That's when you know the project has spanned off too long.

This is why most of the games I make are usually made in a short time period. I don't like hyping or trying to sell a game.

When an artist makes a painting, he hangs it up on his shelf.
When I make a game I post it on my blog.

I usually will work on my games for a span of a month unless they are for a competition or such, then I'm done with them.
I occasionally will burn them to CDs and let me friends play them, but that's it.

But anyways,
If you want to get motivated, force yourself to add something.
Second, make the game more fun. You want to start slacking off when you're supposed to be debugging it. You're supposed to be engaged with all hell.
If you aren't wanting to work on your game anymore, continue anyway. Make yourself add things.
It's like life.
"I thought about quitting baby,"
"But my heart just ain't gonna buy it."

Offline SHC
« Reply #5 - Posted 2013-08-28 17:11:04 »

Me too got bored on my first large project for a large time and just started work on it after four months of holidays (a long time right?). Now I only have 17 days for the classes to start. The main problem was writing a parser for GML scripts (I've made a basic one with regex but it isn't recognizing the correct syntax nor comments) for which, these type of problems are taught in 3rd year of degree but I've still not joined in first year.

Just after a long time, I thought why couldn't I complete it and bought a book "Writing Compilers And Interpreters : Third Edition".

Offline elamre
« Reply #6 - Posted 2013-08-28 17:28:12 »

The taking a break is ver important. But be sure not to take your brake too long because you might forget how stuff works if you're on a big project.

Something that i think that helps is to work in a team.

My projects:
Tower Defence!]]Tower Defence! [lll.......] 30%!
Lightsnakerider! [llllll....] 60%!
Offline Redocdam

Senior Devvie

Medals: 18

« Reply #7 - Posted 2013-08-28 17:33:01 »

The more you hate your project, the better it is.

Well that may not be completely true, but I do believe there comes a point when it transitions from 'fun' to 'work'. That doesn't mean you won't enjoy the successes you achieve, they'll just be separated by periods masochism.

Furthermore, it's fine to feel you've just pieced together the next Frankenstein. If you walk away thinking you couldn't have done it any better, then you haven't gained that much experience from the process. And you won't level up. Cause you were just beating on level 0's.

There does reach a tradeoff point with reworking your own code. Not enough streamlining can make things difficult fix later, too much reworking and you're just code-turbaiting. I find a healthy mix of comments chastising my own work is a good indication of when things need to be mangled.

I don't believe there is any finite set of rules for when a project needs a bus ride to the trash can. It comes down to the individual banging away at the keyboard. What are your realistic goals for the project.

Keeping yourself on task is the crux of all this. It's ok to step away from a project, but be realistic and keep in mind the longer you are away, the more likely you are to never return. And the code ain't goin ta write itself. Code requires time. You're not going to come back after a 6 month break, type a few keys and magically create the next masterpiece of the game world.

After having dumped all my free time (and I do mean ALL) into a project for the past 2 years, this is my take-away for staying on track. Take it a piece at a time. Don't get caught up in "what about ______". If you don't focus on just one small task at a time, then you'll get overwhelmed.

-(Insert Something thought provoking and ends with "A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step")
Offline Rayexar
« Reply #8 - Posted 2013-08-29 03:51:03 »

A lot of very good advice here, thanks everyone!
Offline QQQ

Senior Newbie

Medals: 1

« Reply #9 - Posted 2013-09-01 14:21:17 »

Ask yourself what do you want. Honostly.

Sometimes you want knowledge and other times you want a product. When you're programming to get knowledge it's unnecessary to continue the development of the "experimental" program after you found out what you wanted to know. Make clear at the beginning of your undertaking what you want and even more clear what you do not want (for example think about or write down or discuss how long you want to work and how long you don't want to work). So you have a frame that helps you to avoid problems with your finances and emotions.

So my advice to stay motivated: consciously avoid working at something that you don't want/need.  Cheesy

PS: Of course you must have already experienced what you like and don't like, otherwise you have to try it out ^^.
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline Opiop
« Reply #10 - Posted 2013-09-01 14:36:21 »

That actually is a very good way to think about things. I've always tried to just make game that I don't want to make so I could learn, and then get disappointed and stop coding for a few days after. I just can't wait until I reach the point where I know a lot so that I can just sit down and pound out a fun game that I enjoy in a few weeks and not have to worry about spending 3/4ths of my time researching.
Offline matheus23

JGO Kernel

Medals: 138
Projects: 3

You think about my Avatar right now!

« Reply #11 - Posted 2013-09-01 16:32:27 »

I would imagine pretty much everyone on here goes through the same experience so I wouldn't worry about it too much.


I myself haven't yet found a good solution to this. I haven't programmed the last 6 months or so on a 'real' project.

See my:
    My development Blog:     | Or look at my RPG | Or simply my coding
http://matheusdev.tumblr.comRuins of Revenge  |      On Github
Offline Opiop
« Reply #12 - Posted 2013-09-01 16:49:36 »

I also strongly support the idea of "if its not broken, don't fix it". If you just got something to work, don't mess with it for a while. Leave it alone and do something else, and come back to it later. Getting stressed out over one part of a program isn't worth it, you'll end up not thinking straight and messing things up more.
Offline Rayexar
« Reply #13 - Posted 2013-09-02 12:29:02 »

Yeah, that advice is really helpful, especially for me because I like to make everything as close to perfect as possible.
Offline Oskuro

JGO Ninja

Medals: 77
Exp: 10 years

Coding in Style

« Reply #14 - Posted 2013-09-02 14:00:58 »

I was feeling somewhat burnt out recently (specially since I have to program at work too) so I took a vacation in the form of trying to finally complete Saints Row 2.

I think it is good from time to time to let your mind disconnect from your projects.

Something I found surprisingly motivating is to read my own devlog from the very first post up to the latest. Seeing how my project has evolved so far, and remembering my state of mind during development seems to be a good motivator, at least on my case.

I guess it is about making sure you are aware of your own progress. Very often I get stuck in a piece of code and suddenly get this feeling like I haven't really achieved much. Re-reading on the actual progress I've made seems like a good way to dispell that notion.

Offline mike_bike_kite
« Reply #15 - Posted 2013-09-02 14:14:49 »

Pick projects that you can do and that interest you. Try and split the work up into small manageable chunks so each part looks achievable. If your project might interest others then that's a huge benefit as they can run you programs and supply you with feedback. You might even be able to get help with coding or sounds or images etc. Sometimes it's nice to split the work with others as you get a fresh perspective on things and they'll usually have a different skill set to you etc.

Arcade swarm
Board Chess - Checkers - Othello
Offline davidc

Senior Devvie

Medals: 5
Projects: 2

« Reply #16 - Posted 2013-09-02 14:18:51 »

I've found it enormously satisfying to have a concrete set of requirements for a game, and sticking to them. Have a checklist of the little things that need to be complete before the game can be released, such as sound effects, music, menu system, high score etc. Once you've got those done, move to the next project. It doesn't mean you need to have all the details fleshed out from the beginning, just don't go adding something that needs more than one session of coding to implement.

If you think of really cool stuff to add to your game, just put it on the list for the sequel.
Offline Slyth2727
« Reply #17 - Posted 2013-09-04 23:36:46 »

Hell I never realized how good it was for you to take a break  Shocked . I took a 2 day break for school because I had a big test and I couldn't believe all the problems I solved just sitting in class! Yes, taking a 2-3 day break is very VERY good for the thinking process.
Offline BurntPizza

« JGO Bitwise Duke »

Medals: 486
Exp: 7 years

« Reply #18 - Posted 2013-09-07 07:54:06 »

I'm currently burned-out on my main projects, but have found doing programming challenges on HackerRank is a fun way to take a break from your projects while still keeping your brain in gear.
Try to beat my (java ofc) Code Golf scores!  Tongue
Offline ags1

JGO Kernel

Medals: 367
Projects: 7

Make code not war!

« Reply #19 - Posted 2013-09-09 21:46:00 »

Seriously burned out - my benchmarking project has reached beta, but my friends aren't bothering to do any beta-ing.  Clueless

Very demotivating.

Offline namrog84

JGO Ninja

Medals: 46
Projects: 4

Keep programming!

« Reply #20 - Posted 2013-09-09 21:56:13 »

Seriously burned out - my benchmarking project has reached beta, but my friends aren't bothering to do any beta-ing.  Clueless

Very demotivating.

Yeah thats a tough one.  I only have a few friends who can beta for me so I try to be very careful about not sending 'too much' stuff for them to test/beta. And its really easy for those not invested in it to get burned out of you sending too much, too often.

Especially if its not particularly exciting or fun. Betaing is a lot of boring hardwork!  Cranky

"Experience is what you get when you did not get what you wanted"
Offline ags1

JGO Kernel

Medals: 367
Projects: 7

Make code not war!

« Reply #21 - Posted 2013-09-10 16:47:21 »

I've been working on it for a year, and this is the first time I've asked for a bit of input... Anyway one of my testers came thru last night and found a neat usability problem.

Offline El_Durango

Innocent Bystander

« Reply #22 - Posted 2013-09-11 16:26:01 »

First time poster, but I completely understand OP.

There are plenty of projects whether it's game development, Java or another language where I get to a certain milestone and I just drop and do something else.
I don't know if it's ADD kicking in but I definitely need to harness myself into finishing all my projects.

Certain times the reason is because I take the hard way and decide to make some functionality that is tough to code (at least for me) and some of it requires understanding areas I have never dealt with and with that comes learning.  Learning is not bad but at times it detracts me from the main point and that is to finish the project.

So don't worry OP you're not the only one.  I actually worried I was the only one too!  Grin
Offline gouessej
« Reply #23 - Posted 2013-09-12 11:05:46 »


The taking a break is ver important. But be sure not to take your brake too long because you might forget how stuff works if you're on a big project.
I advise developers to keep the source code as sexy as possible if they really want to spend a lot of time in, you see what I mean  Wink Sometimes I'm forced to take a break for months because of personal problems, when looking for a new job and/or a new girlfriend for example. If I didn't comment my source code enough, my main project would have become quickly unmaintainable.

Something that i think that helps is to work in a team.
It depends on your personality. Working in a team almost demotivates me except in a very few projects whereas some people prefer not to work alone.

Julien Gouesse | Personal blog | Website | Jogamp
Offline philfrei
« Reply #24 - Posted 2013-09-12 18:32:16 »

I was working on a project on FM synthesis well over a year ago, with the hopes of using patches I had created for my Yamaha DX7 synthesizer procedurally instead of as .wav files, and had managed some success. Patches with only two layers, a carrier and a modulator, were working. But I could neither figure out how to implement modulator "feedback" nor cascading modulators, which are important components of most of my favorite patches. The results of all attempts produced unexpected and undesired sounds.

I was unable to get any help at any forum. I found only one article that seemed to touch on the problem but the math was incomprehensible. After a certain amount of thrashing, I got discouraged and shelved the project. I had some ideas for possible tests to try and track down the problem, but never got around to doing them, though the problem remained in the back of my mind.

Two weeks ago, while making a digital flanger, something clicked and I had an insight that led to the solution. It's not easy to explain, but involved calculating the modulation in a slightly different way, at a stage that was one step removed from what I had done before. It turns out that I had algorithmically hit on the difference between modulating frequency and modulating phase (PM), and the latter turns out to be the preferred method for cascading FM. (Also, none of the tests I was contemplating would have uncovered the problem, which has to do with frequency modulation sometimes creating 0 Hz energy that wreaks havoc with carriers that use FM as opposed to PM. So, it was just as well I let it go instead of wasting time trying hopeless ideas.)

I don't think I would have figured this out if I hadn't built the flanger, which has a modulation component to it. While making that, the experience made it possible to concretely understand the two different ways of programming a modulation. Once I had that, it became possible to understand that these (FM and PM) are two different things, and this even helped illuminate some of the math in the article I mentioned before.

So, just saying, sometimes a discouraging project just has to be put on a back burner. But that doesn't mean there won't be an insight down the road that will revive it. Sometimes it just takes time to develop the chops that allows one to even frame a problem in a useful way.

music and music apps:
Offline lcass
« Reply #25 - Posted 2013-09-13 21:49:32 »

With my projects when I come up with an idea im like YER LETS GET CODIN , then I think of what i need to do and just get so demotivated about it.
Offline HeroesGraveDev

JGO Kernel

Medals: 382
Projects: 11
Exp: 4 years

┬─┬ノ(ಠ_ಠノ)(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

« Reply #26 - Posted 2013-09-13 22:12:05 »

After having lots of projects I get demotivated with, I compared them to my Ludum Dare entries and projects that I actually pick up again after a while (like Guardian II), and this is what I found:

It is not the scale of the project that demotivates you, it is the sense of "what to do next?", or "where is this leading?". Before you start a project, you should have a definite idea of what it will be when it's complete*.

If you know what the end result will be, then you can work out what you need to do to get there. If you just have a vague idea of a cool mechanic, you will quickly get demotivated, and you will end up with what you planned for: Just a cool mechanic.

If I plan to make an MMORPG, I could probably succeed at that. I could program a server that can handle lots of clients. I could code the world, and it's contents. I could implement quests etc. But that would be it. I would get demotivated and there would be no decent content.
However, if I plan to make an MMORPG with a set theme, storyline, characters, mechanics, etc. I am much more likely to succeed (at least the programming part. Getting the servers available, and people to play it is a completely different matter).

To summarize: What you plan for when you begin your game is very likely to be the end result.

*Complete and finished are 2 different concepts. The best way to see it is in Minecraft; It is definitely complete, but it is nowhere near finished.

EDIT: YAY! My 100th Medal!

Offline kpars
« Reply #27 - Posted 2013-09-14 10:54:24 »

I would just like to thank everyone on this thread.

After reading some of these responses, I finally picked up my project named 'G581g'.

Thanks a ton!
- Jev.
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