Defining Awesome — The best is the enemy of possible
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  • The best is the enemy of possible

    Written by . Posted at 6:05 pm on June 21st, 2008

    Possible: is the alignment of physical reality and mental reality.

    The best: is an illusion of the imagination which can be destructive or creative.

    There is a VERY big difference here that actually separates the losers from winners. I see this clearly now – it is how you use that vision of what is best that distinguishes the genius from the mad man.

    I forgot for a while how important positive feedback is. The comments, forums and e-mails serve a purpose for me and I should use it. For example I got reminded how I made Soldat. It’s easy to forget but Soldat was crap a long time ago. It had potential, but it was non-playable buggy and laggy, extremely unbalanced and without any reasonable community. Soldat was released with just potential.

    I had no idea what I was doing and how long it would last. I was very insecure about the game back then, constantly thinking that I’m wasting time.

    Yet me and the people that first downloaded Soldat saw the potential, believed in it and decided to give it a try (especially all those from the old communities Selfkill, DNAGames and countless individuals that just had a heart to help me out). So we started building it and making it better. Slowly but surely it became the best. This is a ready and proved model for making independent games. Why not use this method again?

    The problem with creating a sequel is that you start focusing on the big new improvements and features that the previous game didn’t have. And as I learned during these years focus is everything. FOCUS. Not only in programming but generally in any task you want to accomplish. If I want to write a game that is equal to Soldat or greater I can use exactly the same methodology I used back then and it will work. What method did I use back then?

    Absolutely none. I didn’t have enough experience to accomplish such task or even know how to do it. It seems like it is too much. I look back at all the stuff I’ve made for Soldat it’s ridiculous and I don’t believe I found time to do it. But it happened. The only thing I had was dedication and focus. Actually dedication is just intense, exclusive focus.

    Skills are not needed (I still don’t like my programming skills).
    Confidence is not needed (actually ignorance helps, I had no idea how much trouble there actually is in maintaining a multiplayer game).

    The irony is that it is actually easier to do something from a fresh point of view because there is less distractions. In the time when I had no community, no partners, no websites, no people e-mailing me the only thing I focused on was making the game. On top of that there are additions that I add myself. I want this game to be million times better than Soldat. This is wrong focus.

    If I focus on scripting, new technology, community features I focus on these things as if the game was already there done. But it isn’t. I’m making a new game and engine from scratch. 

    I’ve done a lot of thinking lately. I could say that making Link-Dead or Berserker is hard. But that is never the point. Whether something is hard or easy is just a subjective mental abstraction based on some random data. You can change the way you think about something in an instant if you know how, and actually make the hard things in life easy. So making a sequel can be as easy as making Soldat or even easier!

    The solution is to focus on creating something/anything that is playable.

    To do this, you do the same as with any good meditation exercise. You cut down distractions leaving only one thing in your mind.
    Distractions are: community, blog, game features other than what makes the game playable (everything should be as simple as possible). This is why I am becoming more and more alienated. Blogs and dev logs are rare (and I don’t really plan on doing frequent updates like last year, sorry). I’m nearly lost in what’s going on in the Soldat community (I can’t be involved more than focusing on releasing the new version from a logistic point of view).

    So what can you expect in the future from me and Transhuman Design?

    – New Soldat version.
    – Finally releasing something new to play with.

    The news from April 4th is still valid. That’s why I haven’t made any official updates. We are still reorganizing everything we have made and figuring out what is the best way to do it. Many things we made and even shown publicly are either not acceptable or not possible to create and won’t make it in the final product. We’ve learned many lessons and we’ve got a lot more motivation. I also see that we don’t have enough resources to finish some things. The tools development is lagging and it would be awesome if we found an amazing programmer that would like to focus on that (hint: contact me).

    Focus on what is possible, the best will come by itself. See you soon.

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    1. hey,finally some explanations on why you’re not updating the blog often, but there’s no problem at all, if you’re really going to make the games

    2. The moment you start to congratulate yourself is the moment you fall behind.

    3. Makron666

      Hey we don’t care if you post on the blog or not, Just make link-dead or berzerker, Maybe release what you have got so far so we can take a look and help you. Or maybe having 2 projecst is too much to focus on.


      Finally something real/concrete/palpable , maybe a “reality check”.
      I like it,it seems you’re on the right way.

    5. Two great articles. I could write this first one myself, but why if I can just link it. Please read it if you are serious about games:

    6. Great!

      I’m going to read right now!

    7. Really good links.

      There’s an other point that his ESSENTIAL to achive a game got this true experience:

      -Not trying to be perfect because if you do so you will start coding your game, after a couple of pages of code you will say it’s to messy and restart your project file and recode what you already code It always work to lose time restarting the project file 20 times and it’s useless belive me! Also dont try to always reorganize the folder you put your files in YOU WILL COME ADICT AND NEVER PROGRESS.

      Maybe it will look a little messy at start but you will get used to it and after your finish your game you have all the time to reorganize it.

    8. archont

      If you’re reading this very sentence, then it means you just had the opportunity to write one more line of code, and you fucked it up.

    9. archont: I have a basement full of monkeys in my house that write code for me when I read blogs in the meantime.

    10. archont

      You mean just the boring bits like code refactoring, commenting, rewriting TODOs so they actually make sense, writing singleton managers and stuff?

      Gotta get me one of those monkeys!

    11. Very true… Focus is everything! You made a good point with this article again: The basics matter most (in a special way), and without the basics going on, you can’t really focus on the “fun” stuff. I still find making the basics pretty fun, though it is hard to find a balance of time commitment.

      I have to say I’m jealous of the community support 😛 Of course you naturally earned it and I hope other developers understand that they will gain support as well; but with time.

    12. bad for programming games: “5) Grand plans”

      Oyoyoy… so this is why you set your target in the future to just “release something to play with” ?

      Sorry to say, but this somehow sounds like its against your philosophy. Not so long time ago i thought you’Re supposed to “believe” that you will achieve something big or else it’s not gonna happen. And now? Now you have to think small to get big?

    13. Cosmin: Sorry to say, but this somehow sounds like its against your philosophy.
      Think big but don’t expect it to happen now. Time plays a vital factor here. The big thing will come but only after the little things. So focus your energy on the small but possible things and keep improving towards the great thing (believing that it will happen, eventually it will). That’s my philosophy.

    14. Michal: So focus your energy on the small but possible things.

      Yes, altough dont be scared to try things out! Always begining with small useless stuff, because your scared of doing Errors, when working on slitly difficult things, wont get you anywhere (Not only in code but also in real life).

    15. I think this is finally the right point of view. I mean when i saw Berserker i thought:”wtf is this” Maybe because you promised a great game. But when you take a lock at the early versions from Soldat you can see that Soldat sucked these days too. But it had potential and i think Link-Dead has potential too.
      And work alone :d its better then teamwork anyway.

    16. :)MoNkEy(:

      Hell yea! Finally some good news! By the way im not a programmer monkey, so please dont try to lock me in your basement…i got friends at PETA and GreenPeace!
      And about your focus: It’s good to hear that you have made it back into yourself and you are on track again. Soldat was indeed a crappy little game at start, and I used to hate it. But eventually it got better and better and I found myself addicted to it even to this day. You know the saying:
      “Big things come in small packages”.
      So I wish you a lot of energy to keep your focus, and a lot of luck to make it easyer :)


      Michal , I’d like to provoke you to a constructive thread in your blog.
      One that ACTUALLY TALKS about how games are made.
      Talk to us about some code patterns that you would use.
      Code architecture.
      Tell us about some features in C++ that you like if you code in that language.
      If not tell us what language you write into.
      Give us some book recommendations if you can.
      Do you think it’s appropriate to talk about something like this in your blog ?

      Thanks for reading this

    18. Yeah, it doesn’t matter how fine are the community features and scripting and shit you make for your new game, if the game itself is mediocre. The hardest problem should be the design of the engine & core gameplay and that’s where your effort should go. The best option for you would be to isolate yourself in the woods for a year to concentrate on coding the best possible game.

    19. archont

      Here little :)monkey(:.. look what good ‘ol uncle archont gots for ya.. a big shiny banana.. right there for the taking.. just follow me to the basement..

      And Michal yeah, I guess some of us would appreciate some nerdy code stuff. Like “I was so going to use the Controller design pattern with a singleton invoker but then I got the fabulous idea of using events instead!”

    20. DARK AVENGER: I dont think he should start talking about his coding pattern!

      Because if he does so he will get some shit of every oriented object coders… He dose some things that are really anoying like putting a attribute public… 😀

    21. DARK AVENGER: its appropriate to talk about code :), but it’s boring that’s why I don’t do it. I don’t write about technical stuff because I have enough of it after a day of work. I would like to write about coding but in a manner that is exciting and shows how programming is fascinating. I’m looking for that way for nearly a year now :).

      Xo: yes.

    22. Have you ever seen the Matrix, Michal? lol.

    23. Xo: a wood with no internet exept a direct link to GameDev. for the monkeys it wouldnt be a problem :)



      Why do you find it boring to talk about programming/coding ?
      Maybe there’s someone over here with some new ideas you could try out…
      Or maybe we could learn something from how you code.

    25. The good thing about keyboards is that they have lots of keys you can bind to different function so you can have wasd for movement and the mouse for fighting and the rest can be for pissing eye gouging picking up stuff shitting jacking off rape shoving your arm in a fags/sluts ass or pussy skinning some raped pissed on cum dump corpse then wearing the skin to show just how fucking awesome you are skull fucking guns and knifes especially knifes has to be in there too I want to cut some guy in the gut and watch his guts spill out all over the fucking floor then some guy comes running and slips on the gutsnblood provideing me with the perfect opportunity to rape him while hes still alive after I rape him and break his neck id smoke a cig and chug back a bottle of whiskey and smoke some pcp then continue kicking ass. This game i going to be fucking awesome!

    26. Hey man, whenever You want to be reminded of who is the greatest: I AM THE GREATEST.
      Any time.

    27. EODD The Every Other Day Diet Plan Have solid foods four to five hours before you do the yoga exercises and take liquid foods one hour before practicing yoga and do not take anything for at least one hour before starting with the yoga postures.

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