I have lost the ability to create

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I have lost the ability to create

Postby Mehis on Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:31 pm

This topic is basically me trying to fight my inner demons. If you have any experiences go ahead and share.


Title says everything. I have lost the ability to mod. Everything that I try to create either doesn't satisfy me or I get bored of the project and jump to another one. This goes with modelling, texturing and mapping.

I've tried many tactics without any luck. Showing the progress to others (hence boosting self-esteem/pressuring you to finish the project), trying to keep projects short and simple, trying to get gameplay down first before adding any details, etc.
If I don't do anything I get depressed but when I do something, I have a timebomb counting down and saying "There's that one awesome game that would be awesome to make X for. You can finish this project after that."

I do not have any say when it comes to experience at those categories I listed, but I do have the required skill. Even though I have 2500+ hours in SDK I've only "released" two maps. The first map I ever created and some non-textured piece of shit.
It really makes me wonder what pushed me to release these maps. Was it the feeling of learning new skills?

I'm very jealous that you guys are even able to do something and make it all the way to the end. I know it's all self-discipline. I just cannot control it. Props to you guys. Maybe this isn't for me.
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Re: I have lost the ability to create

Postby cz_squishy on Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:39 pm

Out of the 7 years that I have been mapping I have not released any maps, not even a beta or alpha.
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Re: I have lost the ability to create

Postby marnamai on Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:33 pm

Set a realistic achieveable goal for yourself, take on one small project and commit to it. Don't do anything overambitious!

Create a design document for the project from start to end, write down every idea you have. Collect reference materials. Doodle some layouts. Wait for a few days after you made your design doc, if you still feel like it's a good project to work on, get started.

Work in iterations, dev blockout, gameplay prototypes, playtest, implementing gameplay into the dev blockout, playtest, first texture and lighting pass, playtest, refine gameplay, playtest, detail, ... keep refining untill you're satisfied!

If you ever run into a creative block during the creation process you can allways fallback onto your designdoc. Try not to divert yourself too far from your initial goal and design doc, otherwise you 'll never know where you 'll end.

I've been mapping for 8 years and only released 1 map, so don't pin yourself down on only having released 2 maps ... Everything you learned during that period is carried over onto your next mapping endeavour.

I get an enormous kick out of seeing other people play my maps, which is enormous motivator for me.
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Re: I have lost the ability to create

Postby Black_Stormy on Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:53 pm

I know that feel bro. Lord almighty do I know that feel. I have combated it since day 1. I'll shamelessly point you to a few posts from my blog. (the first two most relevantly).

I am on the complete opposite side of marnamai. Don't plan anything out. Don't create in terms of a whole map. Your attention span is short at the moment. You have fantastical ideas of awesome creations when you lay awake in bed at night but in the morning when you go to make them happen they just don't hold your attention. So work in terms of sessions. Make one wall and make it awesome. Throw it out at the end of that session. It's easier to do this with models since they take much less time than a whole map. I find that when I can't keep focus it's because I don't have any immediate feedback. So provide yourself with some immediate feedback. I much prefer to detail than block out (and I know it's a bad habit but fuck you it's the only way I can get shit done). So I often detail as much as I want, and then block out for an equal amount of time.

I find that I work far better when I am learning something new, or reinforcing stuff I already know. So try to work in terms of education. Just because you know how to place a light in hammer doesn't mean you know how to get the most out of that light. Study other maps, take a random tutorial (you'd be surprised how much you can learn from someone who works in a different way) emulate the early days when you were learning and mapping like a machine.

Also I have a really bad habit of losing all motivation once I have shown a project to anyone. Once I show a WIP and get feedback, it's like my desire for praise is sated, and I no longer need to work anymore. It's another stupid thing my brain does to fuck me over. I never announce anything I am doing anymore until I consider it done. At most I will ask for opinions on small areas that I think will benefit from input. Also once I show a WIP I am afraid to destroy the good progress I have made so far, so I stop work altogether. Don't be afraid to fuck it all up. If you are really scared, save a copy of your project before you embark on the next stage. You can always come back to it. Fuck ups are how we learn, and they are a completely essential part of the process of making anything that's worth making. You have to embrace the fuck ups.

Which leads me to my final point, everything takes time. I used to get really down on myself for spending days (yes, DAYS) on the flow of a single loop around a model, or the lighting in a single room. You need to embrace the fact that your project is going to take copious amounts of time, but it's not time wasted, it's research, it's education, it's doing what you want to do. What will you do otherwise? Watch TV? A project takes a set amount of time. Whether you do three hours now or three hours later, it will still take three hours. It's up to you to decide when those three hours end. Today or next week?

One last aside, avoid burnouts. They are the bane of the modders existence. Take breaks. Take vacations. You'll find time and time again you eventually come back to it without meaning to. That's what makes the difference between a chore and a hobby.

I first touched hammer sometime around 2004. I have never released a map, or been on a team that has released a map.
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Re: I have lost the ability to create

Postby source-maps on Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:47 pm

what really motivates and helps me:

-seeing my self get better
-knowing that I learned something new

-clean working environment
-good sleeping cycle/habit
-stay hydrated

-I hate failure, getting my self in situations where other have to judge me really makes me work more dedicated.
-competitive drive, it's basically an extended version of what I said above (failure + wanting to be the best)

turn your psychological weaknesses into your strengths
it's not much compared to the stuff above me, but I hope it helps :)
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Re: I have lost the ability to create

Postby Gambini on Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:50 pm

I think guys it´s down to the tools we use. I´ve been struggling for releasing something using Hammer since 2000. There´s always something that delays the project, that makes the goal impossible at the very end... if the low amount of detail an HL1 map can afford before qvis starts crashing... if Steampipe that put the rules upside down and pisses off everything modders have been working on... In all these years I only released a map for a PlanetPhillip contest that was made in 20 hours and an unfinshed HL1 map that I found 13 years later and just published it.

For my other modding toy, Duke Nukem 3D, I have released 7 fullweight maps, contributed to mods that were released and leaded and made a 5 maps mod. Many of those things got all the accolades I would have dreamed to receive, so it´s not like I rushed them or something. Before you say you lost the ability to create, try another game, maybe what lost the ability to be useful for creating something is Source.
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Re: I have lost the ability to create

Postby marnamai on Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:58 pm

Black_Stormy wrote:Don't plan anything out. Don't create in terms of a whole map. So provide yourself with some immediate feedback. I much prefer to detail than block out

/facepalm, not planning out will lead to an inconsistent end result. If you decide something doesn't work you'll have to spend a lot of time moving sections of your map around, due to all the additional detail.

I find that I work far better when I am learning something new, or reinforcing stuff I already know. So try to work in terms of education.

This is the only point I agree on.

Also I have a really bad habit of losing all motivation once I have shown a project to anyone. Once I show a WIP and get feedback, it's like my desire for praise is sated

Due to instantly going for a quick reward with praise and not having a set goal (design doc) you'll lose the "need" to reward yourself again. That's why it's better to plan stuff out and work in itterations.

I first touched hammer sometime around 2004. I have never released a map, or been on a team that has released a map.

*looks back at previous 3 quotes :-D *
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Re: I have lost the ability to create

Postby Black_Stormy on Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:20 pm

Yeah I'm not talking in terms of producing a whole map, I'm talking about finding the drive to create again. Start small and don't plan to release, allowing you to do small things that you can be somewhat proud of, and you can draw on for later projects.

As for the rest, I don't like these features of myself either, but it's how I work. Only years of banging my head against a wall has allowed me to find what works for me, maybe someone else can benefit from my backwards workflow.
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Re: I have lost the ability to create

Postby MrTwoVideoCards on Sat Aug 10, 2013 11:31 pm

The whole thing with marnamai and black stormy focuses on a single aspect: Hobby versus Career. It might be possible that you have some small spurts of creativity, but if you aren't happy with them as you progress and lose motivation then you might not be able to turn what you do into a career. That isn't a bad thing by any means, but it requires that you really focus the kind of scope you want to aim for.
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Re: I have lost the ability to create

Postby Xyos212 on Sun Aug 11, 2013 12:14 am

I myself am terrified of failure. Of completing something and not having it turn out the way I envisioned it. As artists, we are creative. We all have the capacity to create beautiful unique models, maps, and locations. The thing that stands out with those who can finish and those who cant in my opinion is dedication. Just do it, and commit to it. When you dont feel like mapping, put on some inspiring music and do it anyway. Get it done and out there, even if its not up to the vision you originally had, you completed it, and thats a great feeling.

For me quitting something is very hard for me to handle. Failure is too, but if you give it your all, complete it, and its a failure, at least you saw it through to the end, learned and became a stronger person through it.

I dont want to come off as all high and mighty and "wise". I still struggle with finding the motivation to complete projects, but I do end up getting it done. Ill go for a run, then go back to the work, or weight lift, or just take a break from it for a little bit, maybe cook something.

The advice I can give that helped me is try to better yourself in other areas of your life. Try waking up early, eating better, exercising daily. It really can change your outlook on a lot of things in life. Give you that extra motivation.

This youtube video and this guys channel has some very good advice. If you feel like it give it a watch, the guy really has some wisdom to give:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Xgjb8spwew

:)
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Re: I have lost the ability to create

Postby Mehis on Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:41 am

Haha, that's great. Thanks to the bot for reminding me about this. ;)

If anybody else is struggling with this, I recommend trying something else. Mapping might not be the thing for you. I've moved on to do other things and those other things make me feel like I'm accomplishing something again.
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