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Maintaining Motivation


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#1 Twilight Hero

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Posted 05 September 2021 - 09:58 PM

I have been trying several times to make a new quest, and I'll plan things out and imagine it in my head, and then when the time comes to actually start placing tiles, I start to lose patience and motivation, get burned out, and maybe start a new quest entirely. Any tips on maintaining patience and motivation throughout the development of your quest?


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#2 Moosh

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Posted 05 September 2021 - 10:20 PM

Wouldn't we all like to know...

 

A few tips that I've picked up on, none of which a miracle cure, but they might help:

  • Write up plans: This one isn't always necessary and I rarely go super in depth, but generally the more fleshed out I make my ideas the longer they stick in my mind. For boss design I'll sometimes throw together a flowchart of attack ideas and for dungeons I'll make a small pixel based map with key elements, item, key, and lock locations.
  • Reconsider scale: Sometimes I just don't have enough ideas for something and have to scale it down. Spending as little time running on fumes as possible helps maintain motivation and pride in my work. I'm actually really bad at realizing and following through on this one, but as a general rule this thinking has lead me to start much smaller projects than I used to.
  • Immerse yourself in aesthetics: A lot of time gameplay ideas come to me better when I have a strong visual or musical association. Picking out level music that resonates with me and listening to it as I design can really help inspire the design process. The same can go for visuals, look over some sources of inspiration, and if the screen design really isn't hitting you that day, maybe set aside time for detailing or refining instead.
  • Just do it: Momentum in ZQuest sometimes leads to further momentum. Some days I really have to force myself to just design and test an uninspired screen and sometimes that's enough to squeeze out a couple more inspired ones afterwards. If you start out designing with low momentum and just going through the motions you can always refine it later.

 

I almost make it sound like I've got some idea what I'm talking about. Take it from me though, I'm no authority on motivation. :P


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#3 Sheik

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Posted 06 September 2021 - 03:35 AM

I suppose it depends a bit on how serious you are about wanting to make a quest. If you like to work on your projects only when kissed by the muse, i.e. when truly intrinsically motivated, then you are probably not going to finish the whole thing soon - - but on the upside you will probably always enjoy working on it. If you set the goal to get trough with it no matter what, then what you need more urgently then motivation might be routine. In that case you might try to make something like a plan for your week where you decide that on x evenings you will spend y hours working in ZC for the next z months or so. That way it might not always be super fun to work on the project, but there will be steady progress none the less.

On a side note: I would always encourage people to share their ideas, designs and progress on the forums. Keeping the whole thing 'secret' can be a buzzkill during development because part of what many of us enjoy about using ZC is sharing our results with the community. That's the main reason the community exists anyways and in that regard it's a bit silly that over the years there seems to have grown a trend to keep things under cover and work towards big reveals and whatnot. Even if you spoiler big chunks of your game, people will still play it.


Edited by Sheik, 06 September 2021 - 03:36 AM.

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#4 Valerie

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Posted 06 September 2021 - 02:46 PM

I have big problems with motivation in ZC. I usually just do small bits and pieces at a time, and tend to jump around from one thing to another. Though I do have motivation problems with things other than ZC, like everything.
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#5 Einsiety

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Posted 06 September 2021 - 05:05 PM

For me, spending time with friends who are interested in my stuff and even streaming when I'm working on my project helps push me to come up with ideas on the fly and I usually at least get a single screen's worth of progress done in that day.


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#6 Shane

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Posted 06 September 2021 - 05:17 PM

On a side note: I would always encourage people to share their ideas, designs and progress on the forums. Keeping the whole thing 'secret' can be a buzzkill during development because part of what many of us enjoy about using ZC is sharing our results with the community. That's the main reason the community exists anyways and in that regard it's a bit silly that over the years there seems to have grown a trend to keep things under cover and work towards big reveals and whatnot. Even if you spoiler big chunks of your game, people will still play it.

I agree with this actually. I really miss when things like the screenshot thread and quest projects were more active. They were really motivating to see. Makes me wish I had an actual active project to showcase and help bring life even if it's just a little. A lot of activity simply has been on Discord servers but it's a lot less organised.


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#7 Joelmacool

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Posted 06 September 2021 - 05:36 PM

On a side note: I would always encourage people to share their ideas, designs and progress on the forums. Keeping the whole thing 'secret' can be a buzzkill during development because part of what many of us enjoy about using ZC is sharing our results with the community. That's the main reason the community exists anyways and in that regard it's a bit silly that over the years there seems to have grown a trend to keep things under cover and work towards big reveals and whatnot. Even if you spoiler big chunks of your game, people will still play it.

I would say that I'm the complete opposite to this mindset, where if I were to keep my project a secret I would become even more motivated to finish it. This is likely due to the fact that when I make my quests, I enjoy seeing the reactions people have to it. If I were to more publicly showcase my quest during development, the key of my motivation would be missing, because I would have already gotten a reaction from people through me releasing demos/screenshots of my quest. The reason older quests of mine, like Whistle of Wisdom, have died is likely due to the fact that I kept deciding to reveal core aspects of the quest; me releasing several demos of the quest, showcasing the entirety of the first segment of the quest, for example, was great in the short-term as I was able to increase adrenaline through the reaction people had of it, but in the long term I started to lose motivation to complete the rest of the quest because I no longer wondered what people's initial reactions to the quest would be. I already knew what people thought of my first dungeon, and so the surprise factor vanished. I suppose you could argue that the rest of the quest was still kept secret, but the fact that I made the first portion of the quest public for everyone to see completely destroyed any motivation I had for finishing the game.

That's why nowadays, I opt to make all my quest projects a secret to the wider community, and only really share the odd map with closer friend groups. This way, I'm able to maintain motivation through anticipating what people's reactions to my quest are going to be, while still being allowed feedback by close friends. So to answer the question provided by the thread itself: the way I maintain motivation is to keep things a secret, in order to build suspense in regards to people's reactions. There are other factors which allow myself to stay motivated - like creating the quest in a non-chronological order, so when I play the finished quest myself it'll feel like I haven't played the quest at all yet - but the one I went into depth about is the key aspect of this.


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#8 Jamian

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Posted 09 September 2021 - 10:25 AM

I write down the cool ideas/puzzles/concepts that I want to use in the quest. I keep them a secret while I'm developing the quest because, like Joelmacool, I enjoy seeing people's reactions to what I came up with, and don't want to dilute that feeling by revealing too much in advance. I see from the other responses that some people feel the opposite, but that's how it is for me at least.

 

Then when I reread the "cool things" list, I know that if I don't finish the quest, then people won't get to see the cool things, and I feel that would be a shame, so it motivates me to continue.


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