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How to Stay Motivated
Epoch
Member #4,737
June 2004
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I'm discovering more and more lately that the hard part of coding isn't the actual programming, it's staying motivated enough to continue on with the project; and I know that this isn't just my problem :P

Personally, I've had some success with the "don't think until you're already in the IDE" method, but that tends to fail pretty often. So I'm looking for some better alternatives, and I was wondering if anyone would like to share the methods that they use to keep motivated while working on a big project.

Kikaru
Member #7,616
August 2006
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Post your code, or a compiled version somewere and update it regularly to get comments. They really boost morale. Or you could just try to set up some kind of reward for completing a part.

PaperStack
Member #7,796
September 2006
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Finish at least some "visual" part first so that you have something to go on and motivate you.

Yes, no, maybe?

nonnus29
Member #2,606
August 2002
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I found that starting a thread as kind of dev log and updating it once a week was pretty motivating. I'd want to do something so I'd have something to post about.

Otherwise, you could just get your internet service disconnected.

Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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If you don't like it, don't do it. You'll have plenty of time to do stuff you don't like when you're working for someone else.

Kirill Stytsenko
Member #7,782
September 2006

I totally agree that motivation is something that stops one from completing the project, and not the lack of programming skills. What I found out with my recent projects that also lack of Software Engineering skills had made it harder to complete: i.e. lack of propper planning, UML stuff, design docs and clearly defined milestones.

A trick to help motivated: implement some low-priority pretty feature, and you will get the motivation needed to code that hard parts.

Yes, also keeping a WIP blog (and posting every day :)) should keep you busy and motivated.

23yrold3yrold
Member #1,134
March 2001
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My tricks were keeping a list of minor to-do's (feels good getting one or two done a day) and the whole dev journal thing.

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Step 1. Build it.
Step 2. Pray.

kentl
Member #2,905
November 2002

Quote:

My tricks were keeping a list of minor to-do's (feels good getting one or two done a day) and the whole dev journal thing.

Have you got any plans to complete your platformer? It would be fun to try it out.

Richard Phipps
Member #1,632
November 2001
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Quote:

Have you got any plans to complete your platformer?

It's like Duke Nukem Forever! ;D ;)

CGamesPlay
Member #2,559
July 2002
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Quote:

If you don't like it, don't do it. You'll have plenty of time to do stuff you don't like when you're working for someone else.

While this is very true, there are boring parts to projects that need to be finished in order to make something worthwhile.

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Bob Keane
Member #7,342
June 2006

Try working a mundane job for low pay and hard hours. The tedium should keep you motivated. Or drive you nuts.

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GullRaDriel
Member #3,861
September 2003
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IMHO, to stay motivated, you should have a perfectly organized project. And one of the most important think is having deadlines.

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Michael Faerber
Member #4,800
July 2004
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Quote:

My tricks were keeping a list of minor to-do's (feels good getting one or two done a day) and the whole dev journal thing.

I only had the list of minor to-do's, but it worked pretty good for me ...

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Ultio
Member #1,336
April 2001

I could go into my actual serious thoughts about good techniques to stay motivated and all of that jazz, but I'll give the short and quick version that will make me sound like a jerk and doesn't really solve the problem:

It's easy to find one million different reasons why you can't stay motivated. There's one really easy answer to dealing with problems of not being motivated: suck it up. Actually doing so isn't so easy, of course (technically it depends on the kind of person you are).

If every time you simply thought about your game (or how much you lack motivation to work on it) you actually did work on it instead, chances are it'd be done by now... don't you think?

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23yrold3yrold
Member #1,134
March 2001
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Quote:

Have you got any plans to complete your platformer?

Plans, yes. Time, not much. I keep poking at it, but production is much slower than it was a year or so ago.

--
Software Development == Church Development
Step 1. Build it.
Step 2. Pray.

CursedTyrant
Member #7,080
April 2006
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Personally, I find that if people are actually interested in my projects, I'm a lot more motivated than when nobody cares.

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Epoch
Member #4,737
June 2004
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Paperstack said:

Finish at least some "visual" part first so that you have something to go on and motivate you.

I do that, actually, and it does help a lot. Of course, relying on it makes getting to coding things like file handling, error checking, and networking more difficult.

Matthew Leverton said:

If you don't like it, don't do it. You'll have plenty of time to do stuff you don't like when you're working for someone else.

The problem isn't not liking what I'm doing, the problem is just not having the motivation to follow through on the idea and actually make something out of it. I was born in to the Instant Gratification Generation, this is a serious problem for me. :P

I heard about someone using a Perl script to keep track of the amount of time they spent working on projects, and that it helped a lot. It seems like it'd work in the same ways a list of minor to-dos would, by giving you a measure of your work on the game more than visible progress.

I'm thinking of trying it, but I'd have to work up the motivation to learn Perl first.

Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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Quote:

The problem isn't not liking what I'm doing, the problem is just not having the motivation to follow through on the idea and actually make something out of it.

If you actually enjoy doing it, then you wouldn't have the motivation problem. You don't need to be motivated to do something you enjoy.

The end points of projects are fun: designing them and using them. Most of the stuff in the middle is boring. It really is. (You may design some in the middle, which might give the impression that the middle can be enjoyable.)

In the real world, you'll have motivation: bills. If you work for someone as a programmer, the boss will motivate you to program. Because if you don't, you'll get fired ... and therefore won't have any money to buy food and games. So unless you plan on running your own company writing your own software for general use, motivation is nothing to be concerned about.

Let's say you drive yourself to finish some game by working four hours a day for three months. The end result is a crappy game that no one really cares about. No one will care how much work went into it. Why? It will be compared against commercial games. Sure, you'll get 5 minutes of a "I completed something" high, but that feeling will quickly turn into, "I just wasted 3 months."

I'd just focus on doing the things you enjoy.

Ceagon Xylas
Member #5,495
February 2005
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Sometimes I'll make a 'movie' in Flash (or Blender if it's a 3d game) of what I want the game to look and feel like. Simulating physics, dialogs, levels, etc... without actually programming it. I'll sometimes upload it somewhere so that I get feedback from other people. Once I get a little bummed about how things are going, I can play this movie again to remind me what goals I had in mind.

It also helps me to make check lists of things I'd like to complete. I've even gone as far as to write web applications for something as simple as an idea board or check list. For instance, I've written a PHP script that lets me add and delete ideas, and once they're on the board I can check their checkbox and save the data. Therefor every time I open it, I can see all the ideas and which ones have been completed.

Anything that you design like this, try and make it look professional. I guess, then, it starts to feel like it's worth your time. ;D

Billybob
Member #3,136
January 2003
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Quote:

If you actually enjoy doing it, then you wouldn't have the motivation problem. You don't need to be motivated to do something you enjoy.

Yeah, who ever lost motivation to have sex (men, that is ...)?

How to solve motivation issues, tip #45: Train a cougar to maul you if you don't code.

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piccolo
Member #3,163
January 2003
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Kikaru said:


Posted on 09-26-2006 8:24 PM View Profile
Post your code, or a compiled version somewere and update it regularly to get comments. They really boost morale. Or you could just try to set up some kind of reward for completing a part.

sir you are so very right. but that only works if people will help by checking it out for you and you will be dam lucky if you get comments .

wow
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Thomas Fjellstrom
Member #476
June 2000
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My major motivation is the challenge, learning and overcoming some obstacle (as long as it isn't one thats near impossible ;)). Once I know I can do it, it becomes un-interesting, unless I have feedback and enough people bugging me to finish ;)

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Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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Quote:

Once I know I can do it, it becomes un-interesting, unless I have feedback and enough people bugging me to finish

I don't believe that's anything to be ashamed of. It just means that eventually, if given the opportunity, you'll find yourself in leadership / design roles. And I think anyone would prefer that to the drudgery of hitting keys all day long.

Thomas Fjellstrom
Member #476
June 2000
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Not having anything to show for my time is a little shameful ;)

But I do enjoy it when I see a creation of mine come alive. It's like nothing else. Especially when its something complex like a VM and HL Assembler to go with it, as well as simple allegro bindings ;)

I also enjoy winking smiles ;)

--
Thomas Fjellstrom - [website] - [email] - [Allegro Wiki] - [Allegro TODO]
"If you can't think of a better solution, don't try to make a better solution." -- weapon_S
"The less evidence we have for what we believe is certain, the more violently we defend beliefs against those who don't agree" -- https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/592870205409353730

Bob
Free Market Evangelist
September 2000
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Good music to code to. That, and lots of imagination about the final product :)

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- Bob
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