Balancing work and play (=authoring and playing IF)

I’ve been pretty hard at work at learning Inform and implementing my game for a couple of weeks now. I haven’t played anything during that time. I do have stuff on my list. Hadean Lands immediately jumps to mind. Also interested in Heliopause as Andrew mentioned it’s based on a fictional universe I’m invested in. Well, I reached a personal goal today with the project and am taking the rest of the day off, but playing IF feels like a pretty distant thought right now. Not that it’s a problem per se, I mixed myself a drink, thinking of going for a walk as it’s a sunny day here. IF takes quite a bit out of you and you’re just not always in the mood anyway. But, it made me wonder. Do any of you others who author get a similar sort of, je-ne-sais-quoi, alienation…? when you stop working? How do you find the balance? I’m probably just overthinking it. There’s also the fact that I’m enthused by a brand new project so I’ve probably been burning the candle on both ends, something that more experienced authors are probably less likely to do.

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It’s very hard for me to play IF when I’m writing. I haven’t really unpacked all of why this is so, but I think it has to do with getting intimidated by others’ fine work while I’m struggling with a gestating idea. I just can’t focus on either thing if I try to balance it out. So I generally just don’t play much IF while I’m working on something of my own.

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LoL I was complaining about this the other day… There’s not enough time in the day to both write/code as much as I should and play as much as I want to.

Honestly, I try to write a bit, and if it doesn’t work, I start playing instead. Except close to the end of Neo-Interactive Jams, because I’m playing all the entries (except except during this month, because I remember last year, and I want to get ahead of it), or during voting periods of other IF events (because there are some really cool works coming out of competitions).

And often, after playing games, it gets me excited to write or code stuff, because I’ve seen something interesting done by other authors that inspires me to work on stuff.

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Like films, or books, or even plain old video games, there is just too much incredible content out there, too many worthy things we simply won’t live long enough to experience. And while there’s heartache in that, it can make the things we choose to do special.

I like writing more than playing, though I like playing a lot. So, gravity being what it is, I find myself doing what I like the most when I can. During my last game, I would open games and look for specific things, but that was more research than play.

I wouldn’t worry too much about it, do what you love when you can, for as long as you can. You will need breaks, when you want to do something else. And that will be great, too.

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That’s interesting. I think I’m still so humbled by being a bit out of my depth that intimidation isn’t even a consideration. Like, the default mentality is that these other games are better than mine. :smiley:

But yeah, I get not playing while in the process. I think there are static fiction writers too who prefer not to dive too deep into other people’s writing while they’re at it, for various reasons.

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Not gonna lie, I’m a little jealous. I just double down when I run into a problem and bang my head against it until it’s solved. Luckily I figured out I should join these boards early in the process. I’d be so much further back in the learning process without y’all.

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That’s what I used to do, until I burnt out of a project of mine and let it gather dust for years because I couldn’t bear even opening the folder. At one point, it almost made me want to give up making games altogether (even though I enjoy making them). So I learnt to listen to my brain and just take breaks so I can go the distance :stuck_out_tongue:

(sometimes I distract myself from a project by… making a tiny other one instead :joy: )

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I can’t say yet on which side I fall on, but I’m actually really surprised by how much I enjoy programming! I’ve never been interested in learning any of the more traditional languages. Not an engineer at heart, I’m afraid. But learning a new skill has been so much fun! I really think I’ve gotten a bit too comfortable with the skills I already have over the years. And Inform is so great for being approachable for someone with no prior knowledge of coding.

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Goals. I’ll get there once the dust settles, I’m sure.

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Like the others, I’m currently working on a project right now and unless the game I play is really really really short (max 15 minutes), I won’t ply ut unless there is a really good reason to. It breaks my concentration and makes me think, “hey! I could do this as a game…”

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Maybe I’m just close-minded but I find a game that lasts for less than 15 minutes and is worth playing hard to imagine. :thinking: Unless it’s like… solitaire or something.

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You don’t have to imagine them. They exist! Just more stuff to add to the list, I suppose.

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You should check the Neo-Twiny Jam entries :wink:
Some really nice ones coming out from both this and last edition!
Quite a few games from jams/short competitions are both under 15min and great!

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I’d like to point you to my original post. :laughing:

I’m sure I’ll be checking out jam stuff eventually since I seem to be getting sucked up into the community. But now’s not the time.

I also have a hard time playing when I’m in the middle of writing; it has to be one or the other. So I generally use comps as a reason to switch from writing to playing: I’ll try to play as many ECTOCOMP games as I can, for example, and write reviews of all of them, and it refreshes my mind after the time spent writing my own entry.

EDIT: That’s also why I’m happy about IFComp moving a bit earlier this year! Last year I struggled to play many of the IFComp entries since I was still in writing mode. Now there’s more of a break between it and ECTOCOMP so I can enjoy the games more.

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