Author Topic: Project death prevention?  (Read 2912 times)

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Offline V1mes

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Project death prevention?
« on: August 14, 2012, 12:12:27 pm »
I just spent about an hour trawling through loads of project threads and the like here, and I'm starting to find it depressing how many of them die out through lack of time. Another recurring theme appears to be developers disappearing on holidays...
 ???

Anyway fearing the health of my own project, I appeal to the superior wisdom of you who actually manage to complete your projects to find out just what it takes to see an idea all the way through  :P

(N.B. I did a search to see if this has been done before but the search was buggy so I'm not sure  :banghead:)
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Offline parserp

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Re: Project death prevention?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2012, 12:19:30 pm »
Well, without a good foundation for a game (eg. not a good idea, something way out of your abilities of coding, etc.) the project is very likely to die out. A good amount of planning also helps out so that you know how each part of the project will work out, so you can 1) have more ease of coding it, and 2) you get hiped up and are more motivated to finish it.
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Offline V1mes

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Re: Project death prevention?
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2012, 12:27:47 pm »
Funny thing is, coding always throws up crazy problems. I guess experience really helps there.

 
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Offline xlibman

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Re: Project death prevention?
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2012, 01:09:45 pm »
I just spent about an hour trawling through loads of project threads and the like here, and I'm starting to find it depressing how many of them die out through lack of time. Another recurring theme appears to be developers disappearing on holidays...
 ???

Anyway fearing the health of my own project, I appeal to the superior wisdom of you who actually manage to complete your projects to find out just what it takes to see an idea all the way through  :P

(N.B. I did a search to see if this has been done before but the search was buggy so I'm not sure  :banghead:)
Regarding holidays and summer, I think the problem is that when people get new gifts, especially video games or a new handheld, or when they get extra free time, they get more interested into different stuff or try new stuff, so as a result, they pretty much move on from calc programming. I thought people disappearing during Summer was worse before, but it seems during Christmas it's even worse nowadays (but again, two years ago there was Minecraft and iPad and last year Skyrim).

Also there's a huge problem about people not backing up their work regularly or not planning well, forcing them to restart from scratch and eventually losing interest due to it. And of course, a bunch of people who tried to start projects that was way beyond their coding skills or just too big to begin with, which we tried to discourage more since 2010 or so.

Projects really requires good planning before coding, good management (especially team projects), the appropriate coding skills, dedication, testing, debugging and backing up.

The current situation is nothing, though. On some years, I remember basically zero of the announced projects got released at all. I think the worst part ever was the huge RPG rush of 2004 on MaxCoderz. And about RPGs, notice how the last RPG that ever got finished for calcs, other than Pokémon Topaze, dates back in 2006. <_< (Banchor by James_V for the TI-86)
« Last Edit: August 17, 2012, 01:12:07 pm by DJ_O »
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Offline jwalker

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Re: Project death prevention?
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2012, 02:43:14 pm »
Funny thing is, coding always throws up crazy problems. I guess experience really helps there.

 
true, but finding out what is going wrong can be fun.
I dont know if it occurs often, but I think some poeple may get so frusterated with a project that they quit. In this case, take a break and come back with your mind refreshed, it definately helps. good planning also helps alot, I learned that the hard way.
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Offline merthsoft

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Re: Project death prevention?
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2012, 03:25:38 pm »
Unfortunately, it often takes a while to get the experience that tells you whether a project is one you can finish or not--many people just bite off more than they can chew and burn out. If you're relatively new to programming, just start out with very simple projects, or a project that is modular so you can work on pieces as you learn. I guess here's some other tips:
1. Only start a project you actually think you can get done
2. Only start a project you are passionate about
3. Only start a project if you have time to work on it
4. Don't announce your project until you have something worthwhile written. This will keep you motivated toward making something cool ("I don't want to post until I've made a demo, so I need to make the demo") and prevent some criticisms that can happen if it's still a super rough design etc. This also prevents there from being a bunch of dead projects. I've started plenty that went nowhere but didn't announce them.
5. Listen to other people, but don't let what they say matter too much. When I started TokenIDE, lots of people said "this already exists blah blah blah", but I kept power through because I knew I would be adding features that don't yet exist.
5.5. If you're starting a project that has all sorts of other competing projects, make sure you have neat new functionality, or no one will want to switch.
6. If you're stuck on something in the project, feel free to work on another side project or something. Taking your mind off of the project will help clear your palette, and you'll go in refreshed. You don't want to burn out.

That's what I tend to do. Especially the side projects. I have a big project I've been working on for two years, but I've released other stuff as well so that I don't get sick of it.
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Offline ben_g

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Re: Project death prevention?
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2012, 05:55:40 pm »
To make sure a project won't die, you have to be motivated to work on it. The way I do this is by switching between level design and programming the engine (this tactic only works when programming games). I first start creating a lot of the engine, untill it can load a simple level. Then when I start to get bored on the engine, I start creating a level. Then I start adding more things to the level, untill I reach a point where something I want to put in it isn't supported by the engine. After designing or improving the level, play it. Then you really see the progress you made, you'll see it a lot better then when you're only working on the engine, and the 'level' consists of only the thing you're working on. When I've seen the progress, I'm moivated again to continue working on the engine. then the cycle repeats and the level gets larger. The level keeps containing everything worked on so far. That way you see how far you have come, and this is what keeps you motivated. And if the engine is almost finished, then you can start creating the levels that will actually be in-game. If your project reaches this stage, you can be almost sure that it won't die before it gets finished.

some other tips to keep you motivated (based mostely on game design)
 - When you start to get bored, play The your game. Don't just test it, but play it. Have fun.
 - show your work to friends. This isn't only good to keep you motivated, but they can also give good comments on how to make it better.
 - When playing other games (or using simular software than the one you're making), look for inspiration. Look at some things and think "I can do that better in my game". Of yourse, don't copy, just look for inspiration, because it's hard to stay motivated on a project for which you have ran out of inspiration.

You can also work open-scource. Then if a project would die (which is still best to prevent), someone else might be able to use parts of it (for example AI, code for a menu, ...) or maybe even continue it. That way all your hard work wouldn't have been for nothing. But still, it's best to keep you motivated and keep working on it.
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Offline nyanfly

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Re: Project death prevention?
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2012, 11:31:58 pm »
Documentation documentation documentation. If you take a break from your project for a week and come back and have no idea what a function call does or which variables are which, you are *screwed*, because if you can't read your code, you can't understand it and go in to fix it.

If you can't tell what a function does by looking at it, document it. If you can't tell what a variable is by its name, document it. I can't tell you how many times I've come back to a program I had written a week before and just dropped it because I couldn't tell what a block of code does. Comments are your friend (but don't over-comment -- that just makes code unreadable). Documentation also helps other people understand your code and communicate with you effectively if you're working on a team.

Also, style matters. Follow naming conventions, and tab your lines. This will save you SO MUCH time, and programming will be that much more fun and enjoyable. You also won't want to punch your computer (that just might end your project  :P).

When you start to get bored, play The your game.

(I also seem to be losing the game a lot recently.  <_<)
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Offline xlibman

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Re: Project death prevention?
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2012, 11:39:38 pm »
Well said Merthsoft. Also on Omnimaga (I don't know about Cemetech but I assume it's similar), certain projects such as text-only games or project threads with no screenshot ever will usually get few or no replies after a while. Same goes for games that have been done several times before. While you may not receive much criticism, it's best to try new stuff you can do and also stuff that will attract a good audience. This will keep you motivated to get comments. And of course those who comment needs to remain realistic too: Don't say stuff such as "Your game suxxorz cuz it has no grayscale 3D" in a TI-84 Plus Starcraft clone thread.

Also, motivation-wise, make sure to not write unnecessarily long walls of text for every project update. If you need to do so anyway, just bold the important stuff. Else, a lot of people will not even bother replying.
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