June 21, 2008

Motivation --> 0

Well, it's 9:00 on Saturday and before the "end of the day" I am supposed to have finished my Thesis proposal and created a level prototype for level design. Then tomorrow I am supposed to write an entire GDD and actually begin work on creating said level. It's not like I haven't been working, I think I've been working a great deal, I probably put in about 20 hours on my LDD alone in only a few days. I clearly haven't been working with the same intensity as I have in the past, which I can only chalk up to a lack of motivation. I think it stems from a number of different sources, but two specifically: long-term weariness and creative burn-out.

The first is pretty obvious, this place is taxing and over time, while you do get used to it, the effects sort of add up. In terms 1 and 2, I could basically get by on optimism and excitement. By term 3, the effects were certainly diminished, but I could push myself when needed. Term 4, I was pretty much at my breaking point, and by the end I was putting the time I had available and accepting my fate. This is probably a healthier perspective than the "work as hard as possible" approach I may have adopted earlier on, at least when you can afford it. This term honestly hasn't been that difficult, overall. Certainly a lot more than your average job or school, but nothing compared to some of our prior terms. Still, after having working weekends for most of a full year, it starts to get to you, and at least for me, my body (or more importantly, my mind) started taking the time off whether I wanted to or not. The term is close to over so I guess there's not a whole lot to really complain about, I mean, there's only so much left that can go wrong (fingers thoroughly crossed).

Of course, literally the day after my last final I start my internship so there isn't really a lot of time to relax. Not that I'm complaining, mind you, I'm really, really looking forward to it, but it means not time less time to recuperate after finals week burnout (a common occurrence here) and it means I have the added stress of trying to teach myself a minimum amount of UE3 during whatever extra time I can scrape together. As I said, really excited, really grateful for the opportunity, just venting a bit of what's been rolling around my head the last couple days. Anyway, the constant low-level of work I should be doing or thinking about takes its toll.

The other piece is the whole creative burnout idea. This term I came up with two unique game ideas (and probably half-concepted a dozen or so that I eventually cut), came up with entirely unique gameplay for another, came up with a Thesis project including a research methodology, and created a new level design for Half Life 2. All this is very cool mind you, I love the creative stuff, but I feel like my brain needs some rest working on the execution before I can continue trying to invent completely new things. At the very least, I feel like I need to see some level of progress on the things I've already invented. Sadly, that doesn't keep the documentation demons at bay. I've got another level to design for Thesis and a GDD due in draft form no later than Tuesday.

I guess the truth is, I know that I am responsible for a lot of my current predicament. I have definitely been taking more time off than I normally do, and my work time has been a bit more unfocused and less productive. As I said, I think my motivation has been sapped by a number of factors, and I've been having trouble getting my head "back in the game." Anyway, that's probably enough of my whining for one post. I've got work to do, so I should probably just pull myself together and get to it. Night!

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