Why Can I Never Finish Anything? And More Recently: WHY CAN'T I START ANYTHING?

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by StoneFrog, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. StoneFrog

    StoneFrog L6: Sharp Member

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    The title says it all. In the course of my soon-to-be-3 years of experience with Hammer, I never get anything out past beta stages. I love TF2 and I love mapping for it, but I've been having a great deal of trouble getting anything done.

    I've never been the best at finishing maps. I think my record is about 3-4 weeks before I suddenly become infatuated with another idea. That's when I say to myself, "I've been working on this for a while but it's alright, it was probably a waste anyway - this is so much better!" Yeah right. If I could get a map to the final release stage I'd be so happy, even if it was terrible.

    For a while I was struggling with getting ideas that I'd be really in love with, to increase my chances of sticking to it. However, now I can't get any ideas. Even for a simple run-of-the-mill map with nothing special. Even if I'm just using dev textures and imagining the literal LAYOUT, I'm getting nothing.

    It's really weird. I've always been an endless fount of ideas (much to my annoyance) but now the plumbing has run dry. I really love mapping and I love this community, but I'm at a standstill. Even gimmicky things like remakes or requests by my friends, I don't feel very much like them.

    I think one problem may be because I've been struggling with this watermill idea that's been going on for months now. I could never get a layout that I personally saw as tangible for my own purposes. So far it's been scrapped through CTF, CP, then CTF again, then CP, then CTF, and now an Arena layout.

    Maybe I'm trying too hard. I've been told my standards are too high. I accept all criticism but at the same time I want my maps to count - not to be some unenthusiastic attempt at releasing a map for the sake of doing so. Still, perhaps I should just start drawing out random map layouts without consideration of the environment or anything and see what sticks. Most people do that, but as I've said earlier, I like to imagine the environment before the gameplay. Imagining a beautiful terrain and all its gimmicks (high cliffs, winding tunnels, towering buildings) and then thinking to myself, "how could I get a gameplay mode to work well in unison with this type of map?" is my preferred way to conceptualizing ideas. Maybe it's unwise to do that.

    I know TF2Maps.net isn't a mental institution, but I could really use advice. I have even been evading the concept of mapping and just playing games, but my mind has been stagnant. What's wrong with me? :bored:
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  2. MrAlBobo

    MrAlBobo L13: Stunning Member

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    ive always had a problem with coming up with designs, what usually works for me is to get into an incredibly boring situation, for a very long time (work, school, etc) then my mind becomes significantly more creative, as, honestly, what else is there to do?
     
  3. Dustoxx

    Dustoxx L6: Sharp Member

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    Don't worry too much about maps that count or not. If your map is average it will (almost) always come on a server. And since you have 3 years experience I'm pretty sure it would be. average or higher. A lot of good maps aren't that popular, and others are. It's just what the community likes (I think). :D
     
  4. The Political Gamer

    aa The Political Gamer

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    You and Irish Taxi Driver have the same problem, you both can never be happy with your maps.
     
  5. TheBladeRoden

    TheBladeRoden L7: Fancy Member

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    I know how that goes, I've got one map that's in detail block, and a couple others that are in layout block. And they all have been pretty much stuck that way for months.
     
  6. DJive

    aa DJive Cake or Death?

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    Im the same for over a year now.

    Oddly i started a map 4 days ago.. and will finish the map within the next 2 weeks.

    Play games, get inspirations. I got mine from an RTS map lol.
     
  7. Dustoxx

    Dustoxx L6: Sharp Member

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    Isn't this actually the fun about mapping? :p
    Make something, abandon it, got some more experience, make more things with that experience, abandon, learn more and more, etc. Till something great will come out, and then you have your map.
     
  8. StoneFrog

    StoneFrog L6: Sharp Member

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    Dustoxx - Very true, and thanks for the motivation. :) Of course, it's a pain to always be changing projects, regardless of whether or not they're beneficial to my skill in the long run! :p

    Do most of you design your maps based off of gameplay first, or environment? Or maybe both at the same time? I think I should try the former for a change, see what comes up. One really starts to pull their hair out in trying to be creative with the limited environments and contrasting team architecture...

    I have several ideas for some rather innovative new payload variants, but I don't want to get too deep in over my head, trying to just work on a simple arena, CTF, or CP map for now until I have something to show for my work. Maybe that's the problem - maybe I shouldn't limit myself like that? Hard to say.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  9. GrimGriz

    GrimGriz L10: Glamorous Member

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    I've limited myself to 3 mapping projects, not allowing myself to start another until at least 1 is complete. It certainly hasn't helped my motivation any...but I have a problem finishing things. I get to a point where the work required seems to be greater than the good feelings I get when people play and enjoy a map I made. Of course, negative feedback doesn't help motivate either.

    The thing is, everyone tells me that it feels really great to finish a project....so that's the feeling I'm pursuing.

    Do you have anything playable?
     
  10. engoldin

    engoldin L2: Junior Member

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    I have similar tendencies and I have a couple of theories as to why I act the way I do.

    Most often being unable to start something is the result of my being overwhelmed with the task at hand. There are innumerable things to do, questions to answer and I've no idea where to start. The answer is actual the least obvious... START ANYWHERE. Don't concern yourself with the finality of the project your working on. It doesn't have to BE PERFECT, It just has to BE. Get your juices flowing. Its the mappers equivalent of free writing. It'll come along. One thing at a time.

    Now quitting... This one's tougher. It's tougher because while there aren't any really good reasons not to start on a map, there are some maps that just don't work and should be scrapped. It's hard to sort out maps you want to drop for the right reasons from maps that you want to drop because you know the reality will never live up to your vision or the idea's potential. Once it's DONE you have to step back and let people pick at it... let it prove its metal. Until then, if it isn't good or perfect or right, it's ok... because it isn't done yet. If it feels like a flop, take a short calculated break and come back to it, have someone with fresh eyes look at it. I promise you, if it has a chance, you CAN get excited about it again.

    Just my piece.
     
  11. Sgt Frag

    Sgt Frag L14: Epic Member

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    ADD. I think you need to see a doctor ;)

    No seriously, I go through the same thing. Terrible at finishing maps.

    I'm currently working on trying to finish 2 beta arena maps (should be easy huh?), 25% into a ctf, and now the contest is over and that's a good start on a 5 point cp.

    Typically I work pretty loosley starting with a concept. I get a picture in my head and start to build around it to see what I can do.
    My contest mission (the bridge) isn't very close to the concept I had in my head (well, the bridge is pretty much spot on) but the area under the bridge was just gonna be a street with some old buildings/shops under it - that turned into a warehouse...
    I think it'll work out as is, but it's not what I wanted to achieve really.

    I try to keep gameplay in my mind heavily while I build though.

    Too me you really need a strong concept first. If you just start throwing blocks together in an area and try to make it into something it might not work too well.
    Hydro for example. If they had made cliffs first and tried to cram the dam in for looks later it probably would've been awkward. I'm sure Valve had planned to do a 'dam site' first, then worked on fitting gameplay area in around it.
    Ravine, I don't know. It's nothing specific so they could've laid out general gameplay area then just detailed it.

    Maybe you should pick up one of those old maps. One that you had a good start on and were once enthusiastic about. Go back and see how you could add to it, improve it now that you haven't seen it for awhile.
     
  12. Vilepickle

    Vilepickle L7: Fancy Member

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    Just think about it. If you finalize a map you never have to look at it again if you don't want to. :)
     
  13. StoneFrog

    StoneFrog L6: Sharp Member

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    When I was younger, I used to make maps for a variety of games, nothing major, of course. Little scenarios for SimCity 3000 Unlimited, Civ III, et cetera. They were mostly played among me/friends/my brother but the way they'd support me and really be looking forward to playing my work is what would keep me going.

    Somewhere along the line, I lost that motivation. It doesn't help that I like mapping for older things like DOOM and TFC. It also doesn't help that one of very few intelligent, creative, and mapping-literary friends of mine generally frowns on Goldsrc mapping. Telling me the game is "dead" and all. Dead or not, I enjoy it. But I certainly don't enjoy your attempts at discouraging me. Oh well. One reason I joined this great community so long ago (well, not that long ago) was because of the likeminded and helpful people in it. :D

    I've gone back to older projects and eventually abandon them again. Of course, I do greatly improve them in the time I've worked on them. I was working on a Wolfenstein 3D WAD a while back - first episode contained 5 levels, nothing major. I abandoned it after that, but recently got back into it and have been motivated by friends to resume it. Episode two (about 7 maps) is about done. Of course, I'm starting to lose motivation again. :( Still, if this keeps progressing I'll eventually get it all done!

    Not really. One problem with me is I'm a very visual person. Relatively often I'll lay down the basic geometry for a control point or something, but then I'll look at the big picture: "I can't imagine how this would fit in well with the rest of the map." This usually leads me into detailing that area or something in order to help cement my idea of how it'd be. I don't like working in phases, even though I've begun to accept them more and more.
     
  14. GrimGriz

    GrimGriz L10: Glamorous Member

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    I'm a tinkerer..I make a change, then play it...go back, fiddle some more, play it. That's why it's taken me so long to make any progress this time...I majorly altered the scale and it's been such a chore to get it back to a playable state I falter.