Let's try to make this.
I can't even focus today but whatever.
As somebody who has spent 20 of their 30+ years on this earth making video games, even when I'm not making a game there's always that desire to make something. Playing various games awaken little flashes of inspiration but nothing has really been concrete enough to commit to something.
But I need to study Hindi. And I haven't kept up with Duolingo or my grammar books. It's not how I learn best.
I've tried to start up this project again multiple times over the years since the original version (originally called Fantazio de Esperanto), but have never managed to build anything more than that original version, and a small PC version that has a dungeon crawling mining minigame.
One of the biggest things that have stopped me from working on various projects over the years is platform; maybe I really want to work on an idea, but I know that PC isn't the easiest place to be discovered anymore. Especially with making something like Math Kingdom Quest - an educational game for kids - most kids just aren't going to have access to an actual desktop computer. It's more likely they'll have an iPad or Chromebook for school, or maybe a smartphone in their household. But I hate writing games if I'm not writing them in C++ - it's something I've struggled with for a decade.
The games I'm most proud of were games I released in 2008 and written in C++ and Allegro, back when I could just make games for myself and not worry about platform. Just make a game. Just have fun exploring. Then, throughout my 20's, I had all this anxiety around making something that people would play, so I hopped between Java/LibGDX, Lua/Gideros, Python/PyGame, and eventually back to C++/SFML or C++/SDL but never really feeling committed to a platform.
This also brought burn out over writing the same damn code over and over and over. How many times do I need to write an asset manager? A base state class to inherit from? Any of it?
But here's where I'm at: Fuck it.
A game for me. But also you?
I want to write something for myself to help me learn Hindi. I want to program it for my own enjoyment, but also write it so that I can plug in other languages so people can use it to study other languages as well. I've prototyped this approach before in the "Merri: Language Fantasy" game prototype and design notes. Of course each language is different but working closely with speakers of other languages and understanding how those linguistic differences could pose challenges is fun - it's interesting. And I have some idea of how languages can differ from spending time studying different languages, too. (Esperanto, Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, ASL). I'm not fluent at any other language (except like Esperanto I guess), but I have some idea of how writing systems differ, how grammar differs, etc.
But generally, if I'm thinking of features in terms of what I want to see in the game, I'm less likely to face that sort of frustration and anxiety around "what if I spend a year working on this game and then literally nobody cares?"
No, I don't think so. In my 20's I was also somewhat desperate to make something I could sell because of the pain that is working as a corporate software developer. But I'm in a better place now, I love teaching computer science, and so I'm in a stable position. I don't need to make money off my programming. I never really had a desire to market any of my work - I just make stuff because I feel happy when I make stuff. (That's not to say you shouldn't pay other people for their work. Definitely go pay people for the work they do. I'm just speaking for myself personally.)
Anyway uhh. Oh yeah! I was going to try to outline how I might try to stay motivated.
Minimum Viable Product (seriously)
I tend to get caught up in writing stuff around a game - the user interface for the title screen, the character creator, the toolset to build things; usually everything but the game itself.
So I'm not doing that right now. Not while my momentum is at 0 and I have to get myself to reliably work on something regularly.
So I'm going to start by rewriting one minigame. I'm going to make the main character a cat and the NPC a cat or whatever. Making one minigame won't take long, and I can polish it up, and then work on the next one. If I get enough momentum going, then I can start stitching it all together with a main menu, I can add in that character creator and profile system. But I'm not going to do that first. I always do that stuff first. I'm going to actually write a game first.
So that's where I'm at. I just thought I'd blog to get my brain into the right state to think of the code. I'll have to do a little art, I'll have to do some set up for the language stuff, and then I can write the minigame - probably for the animal vocabulary first.
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