Up a Level
Running Bomb Epilogue

There is a part of me that always expects things to be easy. I never really struggled with writing at the beginning and I quickly got good at it. I have the stories and compliments, so I feel it is just a matter of time before I get published. I think I'm missing stuff, of course, but it is more of a matter of refining my craft more than just trying to get something down on paper. Programming? I learned C when I was six. And I was good for a six year old. Actually, I was good for a 15, 20, and 25 year old, which is probably why I had a major problem with ego as a programmer. If I could imagine it, I could write it. Pure and simple.

But, game writing? I'm not so good. I don't seem to have a large well of talent to draw from. A hunk of me wanted my first game entry to be amazing, like in the top 10% of the entered games and one that people would seriously consider talking about a year later.

No... no, that didn't happen. Even working up to the last minute, I had way too many bugs. It ran in Linux but not in Windows, which was one of the requirements. It wasn't really... fun. In the end, there was simply too many things that made the "amazing game of the year" fade back until I was focusing more on "an entry." And that's what it became. I entered the contest. It was the first time I entered a game writing contest, finished something I started but I hate the game. It wasn't what I started to write and looking at it, I wonder what the hell I was doing for three weeks of late hours, obsessing, 40 pages of notes, and everything else. I wonder how I could produce crap after all that time.

Looking back already, I can see it is the same as my first published novel. My goal was to be published. And I was. The publishing company was a small one, but it was a publishing company. They went out of business, which happens, but I succeeded. I just didn't realize that I needed to be more specific, which is why my next goal is be "well published" or "published by a good company." When I did NaNoWriMo, my goal was to write a 50k word novel in 30 days. I succeeded, though it wasn't a good novel. Three months later, I wrote a 180k word novel in 61 days, got fan art from it and still have people asking for copies. Two different goals, very difference responses.

I learned a lot about writing games from this project. It isn't a complete waste of time, but I'm not proud of it. I am proud that I managed to wrap my head around the GPC library, including its port. I understand Physics2D.NET a lot better. I'm beginning to understand translating into OpenGL space for coding. I managed to get a lot of code done "under the hood" as it were that will make the next one even easier. I even learned about IPA for speech creation which might be a viable thing since I don't want to look for voice actors who want to work for free.

When it comes to foundations of thoughts and ideas and tricks, I learned a lot by this contest. When it comes to the entry itself, it sucks. Its a trunk game, a game you throw into the bottom of your closet.

Part of it is expectations verses skill. In writing, I know that if I can think about it, I can write it. If I can wrap my head around an idea, there is no doubt that my fingers will type it. In programming, I usually can do this. Right now, my head and my fingers don't quite agree with computer games. If I keep doing it, eventually they'll agree as my skills move up and my brain moves down until they mesh together. Then, I'll be "good". The question is, do I keep trying until I get good?

Well, I don't give up and I've been wanting to write good computer games since I was 6. I don't have a talent for it, but it is one of those things I want to do. So I will, or at least keep trying. Might be a long path, with that "child" thing coming up way too fast, but... I don't want to give up.