Why do people lose motivation when working on games?

Why do people lose motivation when working on games?

Postby Jastiv » 31 Aug 2020, 23:54

Okay, I know I know, it gets boring to toil all by yourself on a game you feel no one else cares about, especially when the technical challenges start to go beyond your capabilities, but I would really like more input from people. All those unfinished games on those open source repositories don't exist for nothing you know, I mean people start projects and a lot of them get abandoned right? Or even if they do get finished, they often don't get maintained so the next compiler release upgraded language etc breaks them.
I guess I would like more specific things, maybe a list.
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Re: Why do people lose motivation when working on games?

Postby ffaf » 02 Sep 2020, 19:58

Short attention span, you see a new project you want to try and the old one was not as good as expected, and it is not your job after all.
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Re: Why do people lose motivation when working on games?

Postby titi » 04 Sep 2020, 00:58

You must try hard to get something playable that you like to play. Making games( for fun ) without the motivation to play this game is always bad. Best thing to keep you motivated is to play your own game and have fun doing it.
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Re: Why do people lose motivation when working on games?

Postby ffaf » 04 Sep 2020, 01:13

titi {l Wrote}:You must try hard to get something playable that you like to play. Making games( for fun ) without the motivation to play this game is always bad. Best thing to keep you motivated is to play your own game and have fun doing it.


Wise words and this philosophy worked for me, but there are some games that are pretty challenging in that regard.
Think of adventure games: they have an intrinsic lower-replayability value and, as an author, you will never be able to «solve» puzzles you wrote for the game. Difficult situation.
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Re: Why do people lose motivation when working on games?

Postby Danimal » 04 Sep 2020, 15:31

I think the same as Jastiv, too much work, you get nothing out of it, you spend time you could be doing basically any other (fun) things. You compare your game to a commercial one and despair, real life issues, lack of motivation due to becoming tired of it, the concept wasnt good from the start and is sinking now, lack of knowledge to finish it...
You must try hard to get something playable that you like to play. Making games( for fun ) without the motivation to play this game is always bad. Best thing to keep you motivated is to play your own game and have fun doing it.

Pretty good advice, ill be taking it for myself.
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Re: Why do people lose motivation when working on games?

Postby Technopeasant » 07 Sep 2020, 04:40

titi {l Wrote}:You must try hard to get something playable that you like to play. Making games( for fun ) without the motivation to play this game is always bad. Best thing to keep you motivated is to play your own game and have fun doing it.


That might well be why so many FOSS games are clones though. ;)
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Re: Why do people lose motivation when working on games?

Postby Wuzzy » 01 Mar 2021, 12:54

I can't speak for all, but I am going to talk about MineClone 2, which I recently dropped. I think I will write about the history of MineClone 2, and why I eventually dropped it. I hope this will give some insight.

TL;DR:
I dropped a major game project of mine, MineClone 2 (a libre Minecraft imitation), after 4 years of being started, because I lost motivation. I lost motivation because …:
  • Mainly because I was no longer convinced that the project goal is desirable (for me, at least)
  • The more I learned about Minecraft, the less I thought it was that great of a game
  • The less I liked Minecraft, the less motivated I feel to imitate it
  • Some features in Minecraft are very complex but I didn't even like the outcome (not a great motivator)
  • I got tired of always just cloning, recreating and imitating features without using my own ideas
  • Overall I felt I was limiting myselves in my creativity. I want to move on to projects in which I actually can express my creativity
  • After 4 years of stop-and-go development, I still have a huge TODO list, and it doesn't seem I would reach completion anytime soon. That, together with the reasons above, ultimately let me to my decision to finally let it go

I was very lucky, however, because I found two worthy successors who now actively continue maintenance and development on their own. There will probably be a new version eventually. 8)

-----------------
FULL TEXT:


I recently dropped a major project of mine, it was MineClone 2. It was mainly because I lost motivation.

MineClone 2 is an imitation of Minecraft. I tried to make a more or less faithful recreation of Minecraft. Minecraft is a sandbox game in which you are thrown in a random world of blocks and monsters and you basically just do whatever, mostly you just build things. You can fell trees, craft tools, go mining, hunt animals and monsters for food and loot, improve your armor, go farming, build your own home and do many other things. Minecraft is non-free software.
MineClone 2 is a game for Minetest. Minetest is a game engine, or a game program that provides an API to create voxel-based games, i.e. where the world is made of blocks.
MineClone 2 turned out to become a really big project, and it is now over 4 years ago since I started. I have not worked the full 4 years constantly on it, however, there were many long pauses, but it's still a lot of work.

I never aimed for a perfect clone of Minecraft (since that's not really possible with Minetest anyway), but I tried to come as close as possible. The goal always was to clone Minecraft, PC version specifically and the version 1.11. I specified the version at the start because I knew if I didn't I would have to chase a moving target (as Minecraft releases more version) which would definitely demotivate me quickly. Oh, and obviously it always must be 100% libre. That was really the only rule that I was always very strict with.

A huge help in my task was the Minecraft Wiki, which documents Minecraft to the smallest detail, even to the point as for listing internal data values and algorithms. Without the wiki, I would not have started at all.
The reason why I started MineClone 2 was basically just because I could. And initially it was kinda fun adding all the little blocks, one after another, and making feature after feature. There were months in which I was highly productive.
In the earliest phase, I tried to be as strict as technically possible with recreating feature. Like, I wasn't allowing myselves in adding any blocks or items that did not exist in Minecraft. But eventually I dropped this limitation because it was too limiting. Later I loosened the restriction even further by saying that I won't clone a feature exactly when I feel like the way that Minecraft does it is dumb. :D
That's why I now call MineClone 2 to be an imitation, not a clone of Minecraft.

In the last year, motivation slowly but surely fell. I more and more questioned myself what's the point of this project, I felt it was harder and harder to feel excited for it.
And last months, motivation came to a screeching halt. In 2020, I think, I have sworn to myselves, if I don't get to completion in
Thankfully, I was very lucky to have found two worthy successors, who now have full control over the project, so the development lives on, even without me. Which makes me so very happy! :D

At the beginning of 2020, my motivation wasn't as high anymore. However, in hindsight, I can say I made a very good decision in 2020: There were people who showed interest in MineClone 2 before, and tried to contribute. Initially I had to accept all patches manually. But eventually some contributors were so active that I decided to just give them direct commit access. In hindsight, I can say, this was the best decision I made for MineClone 2. Many great and major features found its way into MineClone 2 because of them. At this point, they were more motivated than me.
When I dropped the project in 2021, I started to seek out successors, and it was easy to find them: I just gave it to two people who were recently very productive. I believe my decision to just grant commit access to the most active patch contributors played a huge role. This was not planned, by the way, in early 2020, I still wasn't sure on how long I wanted to continue.

So, that's a bit about the project history.

Now to the reason why I lost motivation:
First of all, I lost motivation because I was no longer convinced of the main project goal. I just no longer think it's worth it to complete the project. I realized that even version 1.11 is full of features, many of them are very gimmicky.

Another reason is that I still think there's a ton of features that would still be ahead. Since I already had 4 years behind me, and I also don't see a completion anytime soon, especially with my low motivation, I had to finally make a decision.

A related reason is that I'm no longer really "convinced" of Minecraft. The more I learned about Minecraft, the less I was convinced that it was that great of a game. There were some aspects in its design that feel too overcomplicated and overdesigned, and it wasn't always fun to recreate every little detail. One example are the bees which I think were a pointless addition. Another example for clear overdesign is the woodland mansion, which is an ultra-rare but complex huge building with loot and people that like to murder you. Which isn't a bad thing in itself, but it feels kinda out of place in a world which otherwise has very few human-built strucutres besides village huts. I think Minecraft as a game is still fine quality-wise, but it is not a great game. There's a reason why Minetest is a thing. ;)
Minecraft has become a pretty complex game but not neccessarily with a lot of depth. One of its most important things in Minecraft, namely, mining, is ironically one of the shallowest aspects of the game. There is only a small amount of ores types and a small amount of pickaxe types. You will get the best pickaxe, the diamond pickaxe, rather quickly. There's enchanting but that isn't mining.
So, that wasn't very motivating eventually.
One part I really hated (and still hate) is redstone. Redstone is an ore that you can mine which can be used to build various contraptions based on logical circuits, with lamps, switches, levers, etc. You could build some absurdly complex and powerful contraptions with it. But I hate it because it is way too overpowered and overcomplex in my opinion, and also I think it's not really the kind of game I like to make. I kind of get the idea behind this is to allow for some kind of automation, but I don't like the way how it is achieved. Many mechanics of how redstone functions are also pretty unintuitive IMO. When I left the project, redstone was still unfinished and riddled with bugs.

I also felt I am restricting myself too much, since I only clone features of another game, without really including my own ideas (with a few exceptions). Since I was remaking Minecraft, designing the game itself was not part. Creativity flew out of the window.
But somehow, MineClone 2 still kept me going for 4 years. I think one part in development that I enjoyed the most was recreating the biomes (jungle, desert, forest, savannah, etc.) with their different grass/sand types, plants trees and buildings. But that part is finished now.

Finally, I eventually want to move on to projects that involve creativity, where I can use my own ideas. I also feel like I need to grow. Game design itself is super important, and I can't really learn that if I only recreate things like in MineClone 2.

Oh, I think it is also important to tell what were NOT reasons for me to drop MineClone 2:
  • Thinking that implementing any feature was “too hard”. That was never a reason. I know that if I want to make better games, I have to actually up my skills, and shying away from challenges wouldn't help. Yes, I shied away from redstone, but not because it was hard, but more because it was hard and I would not have liked the end result
  • The fact that I wasn't paid. In fact, this was all intrinsic motivation. Btw: The notion that you can just buy “creative output” like a commodity is complete BS. See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrkrvAUbU9Y
  • The feeling that “nobody cares about it”. Well, I cared, that was good enough for me. But there are actually a few other people that care, there are even some MineClone 2 servers online :)

Some final notes:

I don't think that MineClone 2 was a mistake. I have still learned a lot of things while working on this. As a nice side effect, I was able to discover many bugs in Minetest (the game engine). And the fact that I found successors very quickly makes me very happy. :)

I still do not think that there is anything inherently wrong with cloning or remaking a game. It always depends on the outcome. Remakes or clones can be done very right. I think a perfect example of a libre remake done right is OpenTTD.

What I wrote about my motivation is valid for me only. Keep in mind that MineClone 2 is a project to imitate another game. Many games are not imitations, so different reasons might apply. Do not assume that other people lose motivation for the same reasons as me. The reasons I listed are POSSIBLE reasons for other projects, but every person is different, and there are probably many other reasons to lose motivation.
Bitcoin contributions welcome: 17fsUywHxeMHKG41UFfu34F1rAxZcrVoqH :-)
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Re: Why do people lose motivation when working on games?

Postby drummyfish » 01 Mar 2021, 15:07

Bloat. When the project gets ugly, there's no more joy, and when it becomes more and more difficult to manage and push forward the only thing that can motivate you further is money, fame or some other external factor that's missing in libre game projects. The problem is people are aiming to mimic the ugly commercial games. Set goals better, rather than creating something big create something small that can become part of something big.

EDIT: to balance this I feel like we need to do the opposite, i.e. start inventing more politically incorrect alternatives. I am doing it here.
socialist anarcho-pacifist
Abolish all IP laws. Use CC0. Let's write less retarded software.
http://www.tastyfish.cz
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Re: Why do people lose motivation when working on games?

Postby denisse » 13 Jul 2021, 12:37

I think equivalent to Jastiv, an excessive amount of work, you don't receive anything in return, you invest energy you could be doing essentially some other (fun) things. You contrast your game with a business one and hopelessness, genuine issues, absence of inspiration because of becoming burnt out on it, the idea wasnt great from the beginning and is sinking currently, absence of information to complete it...
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