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September 5, 2014 / gameofslaves

I am limit-resistant! (Rant / introspection)


Bah! Gah! Guh!  …and… Meh.

I feel better now. But only a tad.

This turned out to be much longer than anticipated.  I’ve placed a cut for those who do not care to be bothered with a long string of semi-nonsensical prattling regarding programming, fiction, projects, limits, and the quirks of an under-productive writer/programmer/coder.

So… I took a break from one project (pick one) in an effort to cut back on burn-out because things had gotten out-of-hand. Sounded logical. Made sense form an emotional standpoint. Left-brain and right-brain agree? Must be a good decision.

So what am I going to do? How about another project… MUCH smaller… which can be completed on a reasonable amount of time?

*spend ten minutes thinking*

Got it! And it’s an idea which doesn’t seem over done, and which holds enough interest that I would play it. Easy enough!  I should be able to knock that out in a relatively brief amount of time.

Well, now I could do that in so many ways… which do I pick?  Let the player choose. OK! *start coding and designing*

Now, I have plot-starts for seven whole games which are practically mutually exclusive… with another ten which I could include, so very easily. DAMMIT! 

Step back. I need something smaller in scope. *blink-blink*

Got it! And it’s an idea which doesn’t seem over done, and which holds enough interest that I would play it. Easy enough!  I should be able to knock that out in a relatively brief amount of time.

Well, now I could do that in a few diffrent ways… which do I pick?  Let the player choose. OK! *start coding and designing*

Dammit! Dammit! DAMMIT!

Now, rather than telling a short story with some variance to keep the player invested and interested, I’m facing a formidable obstacle…

*sigh*

I’m noticing a pattern…  Hey! Again?!  Really?  Dammmmmit…

*deep breath* It’s not often I find myself doing stupid things.  But here I am.  Again.

Need REALLY small, REALLY simple. Hrm.  It doesn’t even have to be interesting! We’re just testing a concept!

How about a walk to the park?

Boring, but OK. Why not?

Start by designing a list of actions to get to the park from home. OK.

Easy does it… Toss in two people with VERY simplified conversation skills. Simple so far. We get to the park! Hooray!

I’m…

…al…most…

…done!

Just need to enter the park itself and give some kind of closing page… and a quick synopsis of how you spend the day.

What if the swings are missing their chains and you need to use something else? Better give an option to use the climbing structures, or maybe take a walk. Where would the PC walk to? My original vision had a specific park in mind. Not a whole lot to do. Oo! Rest in the sun! I like that. We need a small lake or pond. Where to put it? Easily done. 

What to do at the lake? Oo! Tan! Rest! Jog around it. Go fishing! Yeah!

Now I need to add fishing gear and a skill.  Easy enough… wait… what?   

Dammit!

*deep breath*

Getting out of scope again.

Fine! No lake.

“When you get to the park you rest and recuperate. Game over.”

*playtest*

Good. No errors. Formatting is blase but nothing glaring.

Play.

*complete it in 30 seconds while checking for grammar errors and typos*

Play again. *complete other path quickly, too* Boring.  So boring.

Add some little challenges to 2 people. Add speech skill. Add random chance to fail, mitigated by skill level. Add algorithm to increase skill on success. Code it. Works.

Roll crit success on next playthrough. Game is won in 12 second. Still boring as can be.

How can I make this better? Someone in the park to meet!  Yes!  Easy!

Add code at start: Pick you gender.  Pick gender of person you’ll meet in park. (Calculate Het-Bi-Homo leaning.)  Rewrite as persona asks you to go to park. Pick random reason for person asking you to park. (Love, like, play-fun, play-lust, in-trouble.) Is person going to be visible when you first arrive? Add skill-check. If “trouble” are they in trouble with the Law? …badguys? …ex-GF/BF?

*ask more questions and code-write more passages*

*spend more than two hours coding/writing/designing*

*fall asleep at keyboard*

*wake up and look at the mess before me*

*facepalm*

Dammit.


 

First efforts… before adding person at park… took me under 20 minutes.  Seriously.  All that took less than twenty minutes. Play-time: 12 secs – 120 secs

Added two-plus hours of coding, thirty passages, six story directions (each with different endings)… Play-time: 25 secs – 120 secs

*number-crunching*

Le sigh.

So much extra effort for such a small pay-off of extra play time.


SUMMARY:

I like having options.  …or at least the appearance of options. *grin*

Lack of them bores and frustrates me. I knew that. (Generalizing! Some linear stories are excellent as-is!)

Sometimes when I’m coding, I think of all the possible options and I want to add them all. But as I have discovered, it is not always for the best to leave the options too wide open.

Can I code-write with such limits? Probably… not.

Is it in my nature to try to add more options? Yes.

Does following my nature leave me overwhelmed and frustrated? Sometimes, yes.

*smirk*

“Trip to the Park” has been deleted. It was very boring and led to a bunch of “to be continued” dead ends… with only two complete “game over” endings.

My options are going to have to be more limited when I code for Twine.  I have to accept that.

I’m used to coding in more robust languages. I like more involved languages, as a programmer. As a writer, I like the simplicity of Twine.

I’m going to have to accept that not offering more robust options does not make me a poor programmer; it makes me a more realistic writer.

I do write, but I like the flexibility and interactivity of games.

I have to target that Happy Middle Ground™ if I’m going to get anything done.

“The ideas are the easy part. Making them work is that hard part.” — Me, often.

Hard to disagree with wisdom like that.  *grin*

So now… I’m going to look-over my projects and see which ones I can live with having be limited. And I’m already trying to go weasel-style in my head.  (“Trying to weasel-in or weasel-out some more or less of something in lieu of proper bargaining.”)

I am weasel-minded.

*sigh*

Limits suck… unkindly.

I think my issue is not so much with feature-creep as I want to show off the creativity of all my ideas in their scope and breadth.  I just don’t have the time (maybe patience).

As I said before: Meh.

–Cam

 

One Comment

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  1. Anonymous / Sep 8 2014 6:40 pm

    Sorry to hear you’re struggling on such a fundamental level, but it’s good to hear your thought process since it seems at least like you’re learning from your mistakes. It’s a fundamental truth of programming that the amount of time spent playing a game is going to be minuscule compared to the amount of time spent programming it. I hope you’re able to find a good solution that fits your needs so you can get this game done, because I’m really hoping slavemastered gets made.

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