Making this game for Ludum Dare 36 was harder than making all the previous ones for two reasons:
- The theme ('Ancient Technology') didn't speak to me and
- I'm starting to get better at it.
It's obvious: If you don't know what to make you can't start. I spend the first 10 hours of the jam thinking about what to do. I had no idea. I slowly worked my way into a solution by just starting to work on it. That's the 'getting better at it' part. After doing this regularly for four months I now know the steps to make a game. Not a great game, but a game nonetheless. I don't need to look up every little detail anymore. I can pick up the pencil and start drawing something, knowing that it will lead me somewhere. And that's a great feeling to have.
But it is also terrifying. Sort of knowing what you do means you know where you could improve. You're not fiddling around anymore, hoping to hit the right thing at the right time, or following a carefully laid out tutorial; you are actually making something on your own. That's what makes it hard, psychologically. You know for certain, that if anything goes wrong, you're the only one to blame.
Now, I'm nowhere near as good as I need to be. I know this. Creating sounds is really hard. I haven't done nearly enough reading on that (= none at all.) I need to practise a whole lot more before I can call the graphics pretty. But I'm going in the right direction. Compare the textures I made four months ago with the ones I made for this game:
There are clear improvements. Or look at the menu: It has an animated background now, because I've learned how to animate things and throwing that in there wasn't hard at all.
I think my next game, the one I'm starting to work on today, needs to be bigger in scope. I'm still doing the 'one game per month' thing, but so far my games have been more like 'let's see what I can manage in a week(end)'. I put off work until the last minute and the end product suffers for it. So my goal for this month is to work on a game every day of the month. No excuses. I have a vague idea about a dinosaur and possibly space, but I'm not making any promises. You'll have to wait and see.
Progress is only apparent in hindsight. You're too close to the thing while you're making it, so you don't see the million little steps you took along the way. You only see the next three and the past three steps at most and figure, 'well, that isn't much'. Every once in a while you have to step back and see how far you've really come and then get right back in it to go even further. On that note: Go, go Dinosaur!