Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Maintaining Momentum 'n' Motivation

Because alliteration is key, anyways...

Motivation is a bastard thing and it always seems to elude me. It's pretty fucked up actually. But I do find myself needing it when I want to code up some games. Motivation being a pretty key thing I hear. I am working on a programming environment that is conducive for creating and maintaining motivation. It's rough and it's far from perfect but I am on the right track.

First off, I use Notepad++ to type up all my code. Why? One word: tabs. Yes the main reason is that I use this for the tabs. I've been considering using PsPad and I guarantee you that if I start install the thing and I don't see tabs anywhere I'm clicking the little [X] in the corner and deleting it off my hard drive immediately (read: eventually). It is a dealbreaker. What I need to be able to do is to divide my time between different projects as effortlessly as possible. The most important part of it is the ability to switch between files as easily as possible. I tend to work on a project until I reach an obstacle or problem that I cannot solve immediately, but I'll usually have an idea for another project or more likely, a different part of the project I'm on. So BOOM! I switch on over to take advantage of this bit of creativity. Now here's the cool part, even as I'm 'distracted' by this other task, my mind is still working on the former task, so that when I hit an obstacle/problem with the new task, I'm ready to switch to the first task. I find it maintains energy. Also, keeping the file in view, prevents me from feeling like I abandoned the first task and the demotivating guilt that comes with it.

Oh and multiple windows instead of tabs pisses me the fuck off.

Second, background noise. Usually music of some sort, but recently I've discovered movies to be excellent background as well. I had a most productive session the other night with Tank Girl playing in the background. So not only did I get tons of coding done, I realized that I had forgotten that Naomi Watts was in this movie. (as a brunette but whatever, her hair could be snot green and she'd still be hot in 9 different ways*) Productive!

Third, as here is the part I am working on, fast results. I realize that for a project to reach completion, for me, I need to have moved pixels around on the screen by the time I reach 125-150 lines. Python + Pygame has been really good to me for that purpose. However, I still have a tendancy to work on the design stuff of a game a lot, with no real good way to test it so I end up working on something not seeing a lot of results. And that equals death. I have directory full of projects that died in that fashion.

Fourth, while hanging out around downtown it occured to me how much I respect those who can freestyle rap. I attempt it a lot, and while I'm getting better, I'm not good yet. However in attempting it, I understand the skill it takes to make a good freestyle rap. I guess, I want to be able to apply that spontaneous creativity to me making games. This is really a combination of point one and three, but this is the inspiration for all this, so I guess rappers are my guides in producing art (so are film directors but that's not exactly relevant right now. They take forever.) However you feel about hip-hop, you should be able to admire the way that they can keep producing stuff. (Sure, you may say most of its crap, but I'd counter that most of ANY genre is crap and at least rap fans don't wait 3+ years for a sophomore record)

Five, I've been naming my various scripts after fruit. That is neat.

Six, I've been gathering all my commonly used functions and objects together for better reuse. Yes, yes, yes, nothing new or special, but it's something I keep forgetting. But I'm getting better. I've been starting to collect them in Pineapple is delicious but not on pizza. (Hawaiian pizza? Yuck, put pepperoni, bacon, burger, chicken, meat, dead animal flesh as toppings on my pizza. Extra cheese is also acceptable)

Seven, never quiting the editor but quiting Firefox. This does wonders. Blogs are fun but it does tend to suck you in.

Eight. What eight? There is no eight. Eight is where I conclude this blog post because I'm trying to code and this has taken far too much time. I'm going to code. or bed. something

Oh and P.S. Does anyone else have a habit of pressing Ctrl+S while typing and Blogger starts publishing way before you've finished? It's so automatic for me to save randomly as precautionary measure. It feels wierd not doing that now. Like I'm unprotected.

*I don't generally prefer blondes (Mandy Moore is hotter as a brunette), but Naomi Watts is definitely much hotter as a blonde than brunette.