SO! some things happened lately...
Don't worry, I'm still alive and well and they didn't take my wallet (not that there is much in it).
So! a lot of things happened in the past few weeks but i'll try to make it short, I found out that there is an IGN convention happening in Dubai on the 15th of December, so I took a breath, and went ahead with signing up for an artist ally table to show case the Shadow Dreams game for the FIRST TIME ever!
The game is FAR from finished, would hardly call it an Alpha build, but if there is one thing I know about my self, is that I become very productive under pressure, which is the case here, I had to create a polished, playable and fun demo in a month! now we are at week 2 and SHIT it's difficult.
I use my lunch break hour to go work on the game in the car and write my codes on paper when I don't have a computer around, and when I think that my game looks good I post a video on an Indie game group and it gets bashed to pieces, *Sigh*.....
I put on my tough skin suit and take the criticism, fix the problems and move forward, there is no other way to success!
Lately my journey has been basically nothing but little thoughts, afraid of the of light so they hid in the corners of my head, but not afraid to raise their voices to be heard, they know if one of them makes a convincing discussion and gets chosen, it will be the star of the show, it will get my full devotion and have every gear in body working to make it true.
a few of them walked that path, they were the chosen ones, we worked day and night to make them a reality but they didn't last in the endless battle, for that one chosen thought needs to be strong from the start,it needs the weapon of passion, it needs to evolve and grow stronger with time as the enemies of reality become more vicious to the idea, and it needs to stay on top of the dwelling monsters of the mind.
My previous chosen ones have survived the start of the journey, they usually do, as they are not chosen ones for nothing, but the road is tough, we strapped our gear and made our plans, read and learnt from the books written by the elder thoughts, the toughest ones who survived the longest, and started our journey again, from the start.
I still believe in my chosen ones, they have not died in vain, from every one that fell i gained a new weapon that slays the beast that killed it!
Yet this time it's different, this time the beast is strong, and the battle is long, years long, I'm running out of the elder's weapons and I feel anxious and distressed, but here is the thing, IF i lose this battle or even give up, sure i will go back to my resting place, have a moment of peace and quiet, a few days or weeks will pass and the dark thoughts of rotting in my place and losing all the powers I gained through the years will creep up and turn the resting place into ruins, and before i know it I will be on the road again with another chosen one, fighting the same beast I did before, but at that time it's strength would have doubled, and the burden will be heavier.
So maybe the road is too rough, maybe I'm not that tough, but to me, I have no other choice but to keep fighting the endless fight in hopes of a peaceful resting place where the darkest parts of my mind rest happily.......... But is there such place ?
"Thank you for applying, but we have too many people with the same talents as you"
It has been almost 2 months since my last update, the one where my decision was to focus all my powers to learning 3D design and modeling instead of working on the game, just like a farmer planting the seeds of some unknown plant, waiting to harvest gold but got apples instead, the apples I got were not so bad, they taste good and some were impressed by them, but here is the problem, the town is filled with apple farmers who have much more experience and cheaper, better apples.
The skills I gained are amazing I can create what's in my mind with clarity now, wither it's a demon from hell or a summer house with a lovely garden, BUT my expectations have let me down, thinking that as soon as I build my first house I will be an essential part of any company I apply to, ignorance is actually bless in such case, as if i didn't have this excitement in me i wouldn't have mustered the power to learn these skills in such short duration.
I do not regret my decisions to learn and improve, but this path is starting to be just too rough, maybe I'm not that tough.
I made a decision today, I will be letting the game idea simmer on low heat while learning the concepts of 3D modeling and design, as I faced a major writer's block, where Ideas are not forming, I only came up with a few fetus ideas but nothing matured into a healthy baby, it feels like I have an awesome car but there is a banana in the exhaust pipe.
So my decision is to work ONLY on the story of the game from now on, creating the levels and events on paper, while learning 3D max in hopes of perusing a career in that field, hit two pigs with one shoe they said (or something close to it), and that i will do.
Things are not going as planned, I am reaching a cross road where I have limited time, but many ideas.
I am torn between game development, music and 3D modeling/interior design, these are my 3 main Ideas that are tearing me apart.
My thoughts are made about that subject,I will be making the sound track for my game at the end of the production phase, as I see no financial future for this path, and I am not saying it out of greediness as if my ultimate target is becoming rich, it's just that at this age, Money=Time, and I want a product that gets me money thus providing me with time for my future projects.
This is the main active project for the past year or so, I am at the point where I invested so much power into learning it, and I reached a good point into developing my game, BUT I hardly reached half way into finishing my product, so I am hitting the wall where you either push through or change your path, the wall where you already put so much effort and you'r waiting the fruits of your work, but you know deep inside that the goal is far ahead, and even by then it's not determined if you will GAIN from it or it will be brushed off as another game that is "Fine".
3D modeling and interior design
That is the new path where I am still afraid to step into, I will be starting all over again, stepping into it as a complete newbie, yet it holds the potential of being the most efficient financially, but devoting my already short time into it can only hinder the progress of the game into a full stop, I tried studying 3D modeling and working on the game + the day job at the same time but my brain was fried in a couple of days, So i may have to make a tough decision very soon, or try to juggle both paths at the same time.
"Time is our only true currency in this life"
Thankfully I had a bit of time to spend off the constant motion of thinking and creating, and now I'm trying to get back on track but to my surprise things are not going as smoothly as I want them to go, I have little sparks but they fade fast without connecting and maturing into a full idea, the issue maybe is that I switched my attention lately into trying to understand marketing instead of focusing on developing, as one thought came to my mind "If i make the game and no one knows about it, what's the point ?"
Am trying to figure out the face book adverts and google ads but it all feels like a money suckling scheme, or I don't really understand how it works, here is the thing when you start your one man project, you are the developer,artist,programmer,marketing team,puplishing studio and much more
So here is the thing, I'm very opssesive when it comes to a project I start, up to now almost daily when I go to bed, I'm thinking about my next step in the game, UI? game mechanices? why did the monster I made turn stupid and aimed to the sky instead of the player? should i fix that? the sky I have is boring, I need better clouds.
don't get me wrong, I enjoy it! when my mind is not busy it goes crazy with voices and people talking in it, BUT... it gets tiring after a while of over thinking, that's the point where you start to hate your project and the negativity starts to pour in, "what's the point? am I really expecting this game to make me a living? is it even good?" you say to your self.
now from what i learned, that is the time to turn off your PC and call it a day, and plan a day off where your mind flows into what you desire, surround your self with a new enviroment to occupy that thinking demon in your head.
that's what I did today.
I changed the story of the game about a 100 times. (and counting)
Here is the thing, I actually started this whole game development thing out of me wanting to write a fantasy book, thinking it's easy to pick up a pen and write the best and most involving story ever, oh how arrogant I was, as expected the plan failed, my lack of experience in writing lead to me learning new things, and with every new thing I learned I had to scratch the story and start over ! was that the right thing to do? I'am not sure,but my self-esteem wouldn't allow for anything else
This has been going on ever since I remember starting, being convinced that I can do better therefor considering anything I wrote before to be rotten garbage, after so many tries I'am finally starting to get a grip on my vicious ego,as re-writing maybe could help,but developing an idea after certain amount of research would be much better, and the story has started to take form, sure I had to adjust it many times to match the game mechanics and such but it was all in the same direction.
I'am still trying to make the story flare the curiosity of the player but usually fail by looking like I try too hard to evoke emotions, or sound too dull by not trying enough, finding that balance in between has been and still is quite difficult, but every time the story fails crashes and burns, another less shitty story rises from the ashes, when will a phoenix rise from the shitty ashes? that question is yet to be answered.
Saying I'am overwhelmed is an understatement
As few of you might know or seen some updates of mine, I have been working on developing my first video game for the past year or so.
It has been an amazing journey that tickled beautiful parts of my brain and re-ignited that flare of passion again.
But with great power comes great shit load of work to be done, I am now in the point of the game where I learned and did A LOT! yet I have so much more until I say "I'am done".
Yet I look at what i achieved, and I take a look at the real world, my boss screaming today about some concrete that needs to be done pulled me back to reality(I work in construction), that if I don't finish my game and make it profitable, there is hardly a chance of me continuing with this time consuming hobby, and that's when my mind floats away into day dream land, imagining that my game already made it, that I am working in something I love and everything is OK, which makes it even harder to get back to the reality of the huge amount of tasks that need to be done.
I may just be feeling bad today about things in general, it happens, but I need to push through and finish my project, profitable or not, I have set my mind on it and I must use every possible hour to completing this part of my dream.
So if any one is sharing those feelings about their dreams, let's push through, maybe one of us can make it one day.
The First step is the hardest
Here is the thing, I find my self quite socially awkward, since childhood I always favored my imagination compared to the real world, it was much more exciting than a finding the difference between two kinds of rocks (looking at you geology).
I spent my days doodling on note books, desks and what ever i could get my hands on, I wouldn't consider my self as a good artist, my hands didn't quite follow my imagination's standards (that's when you end up with drawing a potato instead of the unicorn you are imagining).
That's when i was interested in music, ton of stuff happened and lets skip 8 years into where we are now because who cares what happened in between, for now I will be putting my full focus into explaining my journy in Music, Game development, and complaining about my day job.
As this is my first try in "Blogging" which i always found weird in the sense of who am I for people to be interested in what I do? Well, today i decided that i have something interesting to share and maybe,just maybe it can motivate some one else into pushing through with their journey.
-Ahmad Yassin Al-Natshe