tabbynat continues his quest to learn how to make video games, and wonders why people of all skill levels are driven to create things.

tabbynat devblog - LEVEL 2: WHY DO WE MAKE THINGS

So my current project is coming along... nicely... as you can see from the gif up there (for certain values of "nice". Animation is hard).… Read…

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tabbynat devblog - LEVEL 2: WHY DO WE MAKE THINGS

tabbynat devblog - LEVEL 2: WHY DO WE MAKE THINGSS

So my current project is coming along... nicely... as you can see from the gif up there (for certain values of "nice". Animation is hard). Unity actually provides really good physics, so you never really have to code too much. For the above, including keyboard controls, I didn't have to code more than 15 lines or so, and the barrels are completely code free!

I need to get the police officers done, and I’m wondering if should leave the shooting off til later - shooting would be totally help the theme of the game, but at the same time, I don’t want this to become a shooting game - it’s a game primarily about running. Hrm. Still, for prototyping and testing, I should probably have a semi-finished build. Then, I'll start working on creating the "endless" part of the endless runner.

Many more things to do than my last project! Let's see if I've bitten off more than I can chew. >.>

Why do we make things?

While making this, though, I was pondering about this question - why do we make things, anyway? It’s not a very rational thing to do, after all. I spent quite a bit of money on a laptop, I’m spending a lot of my time, and if you total all of that together, I could buy a whole lot of video games, professionally made video games, that would totally be more fun and prettier.

It’s not just limited to computer games, though. What about home cooking? If you add in food and time costs, restaurants could well come out ahead. What about making a cabinet, or home improvement? The cost of your tools alone would be enough to get something reasonable.

And what you’re making? Looks crap anyway. Most fanart looks terrible. I know that there are some really talented artists out there, but there are also some terrible ones (self included). I’m sure you've seen some truly hideous cosplay. And yet we continue to do what we do, putting out substandard product. Why?

I've struggled with this question a lot over the years. Why bother to practice drawing, writing, when other people could do it better, and I could consume their product for cheap, or even free. Setting aside the money, the time I’m spending making this game, I could have bought and played a dozen indie games of similar or better quality. So why don’t I just consume?

Don’t say that consumption doesn't have any benefits. It grants you immense social benefits. For those of you who don’t consume the product of football, you know what I’m talking about, the isolation where other people have a shared experience that you don’t. Or how about people who haven’t played SMB3? Or Sonic? Or more lately, Bioshock?

Compared to the utility of having more shared social experiences, creating doesn't seem to have any advantages at all. Certainly no financial advantages – nobody’s going to pay money for my game. Social? Maybe people who have heard about my game (all of you!) would have a shared social experience, but that’s far lower a number of people who would have a shared social experience than if I’d just watched Thor: Dark World (which I still haven’t. Not the game’s fault, though). My full time job isn’t in gaming, so I don’t add to my portfolio. Or to any of my marketable skills, either.

Considering all that, I can only think of self improvement as a good rational reason why you would want to make stuff. Are you a better person for being able to play a guitar to a reasonable level? Maybe. Would people see me as a better person for being able to make a computer game? Maybe. Certainly, one of the reasons why I’m making a game is to learn how to actually finish things. A game isn’t a game until it’s finished, and people can play it. So maybe I can train myself to finish what I start.

Of course, not everyone makes poor quality stuff. Some people have talent, and make the stuff that everyone else consumes. The question is, can you make stuff that other people would find valuable enough to consume? Sure, maybe that takes practice. But even after practice, would you be able to create stuff of that quality?

Or maybe, you know... the reason why we make things? We gotta make things. ;) *shrug*

If you’re a maker, why do you make things? If you’re not, why not? Do you start making something but leave it unfinished?

crossposted from tabbynat devblog

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