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2015: What Happened Part V

2015: What Happened Part V
So originally I had planned to write out this whole thing about what my plans and changes were going to be in 2016, and I really felt like I had a lot of things to say about what I've been up to and how I've been doing mentally and all that kind of stuff, but then somewhere along the way I just kinda lost all the motivation to do that.

When I was writing the 2015 posts at the end of December I felt like I had some really intense feelings to scribble down, but as time went on those feelings kind of faded and I felt like it would be weird to write about them at that point.

Things felt a little derailed by the holidays, friends visiting, and Awesome Games Done Quick going on, so I never felt like I was in the mindset to write out a big heartfelt post about the new year. So now here is my best attempt at some sort of reflection of the past, and/or look at tomorrow...

It's a new year so I have to have some kind of resolution or change I want to make! A major thing I'm going to be changing for the new year and beyond is talking about my goals and intentions too much. According to some smart people there can be some negative effects in telling others about your goals. Apparently by doing so you run the risk of tricking your brain into thinking that you've already accomplished something! I'm not sure if this research is totally sound, but I definitely feel like I've experienced these effects before. When someone asks what I'm working on, and I explain it in great detail, that feels really good!... but I think it also makes me less motivated to do the work to actually follow through with the entire thing. Games are already super tough to make and this effect only seems to make it tougher.

Related to that I believe this is why game jams are so amazing and important, or jams in any sort of creative medium for that matter. When you don't have the time to plan out anything, or the time to tell people about what you're trying to do, you just instead do it! My most productive times ever have been game jams, and my entire life feels like trying to chase down the feeling of jamming and being able to control it, but I'm not sure if that's really possible... there may just be too many factors that go into a game jam that make it work.

Every year I try to make myself stop comparing myself to others in a negative way, and I feel like I've made some progress on that front, but it is not an easy thing to rid myself of entirely. Social networks might be an issue, but communicating with other like minded people I think is really important to maintain some sort of sanity in an intense creative industry. I guess a lot of it is the facebook effect where for some folk it just looks like they have all of their stuff together, and they're doing great all the time, and nothing ever gets them down and they just pump out amazing thing after amazing thing, and I try to hold myself to that same standard, but it's insanely difficult!

There's always that advice going around of surrounding yourself with people that are better, stronger, smarter, cooler than you, in the hopes that all their coolness and smartness will rub off on you, and as a result you'll level up along with them. I don't really hear about the negative sides of this though! The side of it where it feels like everyone is surpassing you at a rate you can't possibly comprehend. The feeling of everyone else is way smarter than you and you're just some dumb bump on a log that is trying to just fit in with people you like.

I feel like I've had a good number of friends over the years that have really made it big in their respective industries, and while I am happy for them, it's tough to see them go. When they end up making it big, their lives change pretty dramatically, and that usually means they get a new group of friends for a number of different reasons. I think that's pretty tough for me to deal with sometimes, especially when I really like those people and I pretty much just have to say goodbye to them as they move on with their new life.

It stinks because it's really awesome for them, but in my own selfish mind I just end up missing them a lot and missing the way things were! I then feel like I want to catch up to them, so that maybe we can end up on the same level again and be good friends again, but I think the reality is this just wont ever happen. It feels like I'm just stuck while people pass me by and we're friends for the brief moment we overlap. I'm not sure if that's really the way things are, or if I'm just interpreting it weirdly (because I may have a tendency to do that.)

The one thing I think I'm noticing in the people that are wildly successful in their various creative pursuits is the ability to somehow remove themselves from their work while keeping themselves in their work at the same time. A game developer friend that I have immense respect for once told me about how removing his ego from his project was one of the keys to making it great, and I both understand and don't understand this at the same time! It seems great to be able to remove yourself from your project in a way that lets it form on its own, but if you remove yourself how do you still make it seem like you? Some of the greatest works (in my opinion!) are things that end up being incredibly personal, but at the same time the creators of these works are able to not make it personal.

Okay I should stop rambling about that because I could probably write a billion paragraphs of nonsense about it, and ultimately it will not make any sense at all.

I did write an outline for this post but then I just started rambling about whatever came to mind instead. Like I said earlier my motivation for writing this post shifted around a lot and I definitely feel different now than I did two weeks ago when I was originally going to write it. Who knows what's going on up in this brain of mine. Right now I think I have stupid anxiety issues again which are causing weird symptoms, and when this happens I'm never sure if this is something real or just a manifestation of stress, depression, and anxiety... fun times that I've been dealing with since I can remember!

Things aren't all bad though! I continue to feel proud of my various accomplishments I've made over the years even though it may not be at the pace of my peers. My game making framework turned out to be a real usable thing that I've made a few small games with, and people have made some various small to medium sized projects with it which is also pretty neat, but I do wonder sometimes if I should've just buckled down and learned one of the more mainstream game engines.

As for my various game projects... well nothing really turns out as I planned. The island game is probably not going to happen unless I figure out the design issues with it. My most finished game right now is a local co-op little arcade style game and I don't think much will happen with it. I may be onto something with my RPG style game, and I do have a platformer in mind that I want to make, but who knows how long each of those will take! I am also doing some contract work, but it's a little chaotic which can be pretty stressful and anxiety inducing, yeehaw!

Well that's enough rambling for now. I'll save some for 2017. For now here's to having a great 2016! Good luck, have fun, everyone. I should get back to work...
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