Treat finishing like a skill.

When working as a game developer, I’ve noticed something that sticks out at me quite often, and that’s actually finishing a project. Whatever you’re trying to build, if you’re a creative person, guaranteed you have a stack of unfinished projects or grand ideas that you’re too lazy to finish. Or maybe you just don’t have time. Either way, finishing something, especially a game, is hard. I heard this a long time ago, but it was “treat finishing like a skill”, not just a verb. It’s great advice. Grinding through to the very end of any project is hard, hard work. Sometimes, it’s just not fun. And that’s okay! A lot of creative projects are work sometimes, which is why it’s hilarious to me whenever anyone puts playing video games and making video games even close to the same realm. Yeah, because sitting here trying to convert a Quaternion (which is a mathematical formula representing something in 3d space), to Euler angles is the same thing as scoring a goal in Rocket League. Speaking of Quaternions, there’s a cool simulation here that gives you an idea of what they look like.

Recently, I saw a reddit post on /r/gamedev where someone asked when they know they’re done with their game. The short answer? You don’t. You’ll never be done. There’s always stuff to tweak, and there’s always more to add. But here’s the thing: You need to give up. Yeah, weird, huh? You need to know when to quit. It’s very important. A little ironic, considering many people tell you never to give up, but it’s actually also a very important skill. Listen, if we all had unlimited time to make video games, guess what they would all be? CoD mixed with Overwatch mixed with World of Warcraft mixed with… you get the idea. Because we have a shortage of time, we’re forced to make cuts. You have to decide what really fits in the game and what doesn’t. It makes you create a concise experience that ultimately would be better than a meandering mess of a game with no real theme anyway. You just have to get things finished enough and then quit. Release and move on to the next project. You can always go back and update it if you have a great addition or the like, but you do need to be done with it so you can work on other creative endeavors at some point.

So, how about it? Got a project lying around that you’re thinking about taking a crack at again? Why not give it a shot and work towards finishing it?

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