So I’m enrolled on a Coursera Unity course and I’m loving it. I’ve completed a Solar Simulation project to my family’s amazement (perhaps they humour me) & I’m part way through a Rollerball project. I’m getting my head around the X,Y, Z axis (is there a plural for “axis”? – yes, looked it up, it is “axes” – I may have just grown a brain cell). I’m learning the difference between Materials & Textures (not the same thing apparently – you put a Texture onto a Material but something could be a Material with no Texture – I think – although it’s now reading like something the Riddler would send to Batman). I’ve also learnt about Game Objects, Assets and Prefabs. It’s a great course – the instructor is easy to understand and each stage of the project is broken down into nice bite size chunks. I feel like I’m learning new and interesting things. So why then am I feeling so guilty about the whole thing?
The answer lies in the reason for doing the course. You see I’d like to make my own game. I’ve wanted to do so for awhile but aside from making a couple of little games in Scratch (as part of another course) and dabbling a bit in RPG Maker I’ve not really got very far. And I’m no programmer – I’ve completed two beginner Coursera courses on Python but that’s it. One poor version of Pong does not a programmer make.
So I’ve thought about games development a lot but have always stopped myself either before starting out on anything or part way through whatever I’ve enrolled on (or checked out from the library). And the reason for all this is that I feel very foolish about wanting to do this (even worse now I’m putting it out here on the blog – but where else but my Bravetank blog for a post about me being foolish?).
I try to be my own cheerleader of course. I tell myself – you’re never too old, you should always pursue your passions, you’ll never get anywhere unless you take that first step. I’ve said all these things. I’ve even done a Rah Rah at the end. But still the fears and doubts come :-
I’m in my early 40s so probably too old
The world is awash with games – who needs mine?
People already complain about all the dross on Steam made from Unity – why add to it?
To make something really good would require more knowledge, skill & ability than I could ever hope to develop – particularly at my age with brain cells dying off every second (although I did just grow one a moment ago).
I should be doing something more useful instead.
When do I intend doing all this – particularly come January when my work/life “busyness” is going to increase hundredfold?
So I have all these thoughts whirling around in my head making me feel silly for starting this Unity course. At my time of life I shouldn’t be feeling all pleased with myself for applying a Texture to a Material (or was it the other way round?) and oohing and aahing about my rotating planets. I’m being silly, deluding myself & wasting precious time. Maybe. And in any case it’s going to take me ages to learn enough Unity & programming skills to create any type of game, let alone the one I want to create.
But I read something the other day about setting ourselves a 10 year plan. The idea is we shouldn’t be put off starting learning something new because it’s so hard and/or would take ages to reach anything approacher a mastery of the subject. We should tell ourselves that if we practice something new every day in about 10 years time we’ll have a lot of it figured out. I think I can commit to a 10 year plan – while accepting that we plan and God guffaws till his sides split, and all that. A ten year plan would take me to my early 50s. If I could create something that I want to create by my early 50s surely that’s worth doing or at least attempting? Sometimes I think I hit my peak too long ago – 11 years to be precise when I completed my PhD and published a book that was well received. I left academia not long after. I didn’t want the academic life – too much travelling, too many conferences, too much home sickness. But I sometimes regret that decision. I’m proud of the book – it’s very occasionally cited in other academic texts on the subject and that gives me hope it will be around long after I’m gone. But I feel frustrated too. I feel that there’s still more in me. But I don’t really know what that “more” is. For awhile I thought it was writing – I self published some books on Amazon a few years ago but I pulled them all down not long after. I lost my nerve.
So will games creation be the same? Something I will try, get so far with and then chicken out from? It’s not that I lose the interest. It’s that the fear becomes overwhelming. Fear of screwing up in a conference, fear of travel and homesickness, fear of bad reviews, fear of ridicule. All I know right now is I keep thinking about creating a game and then I admonish myself for these thoughts. I tell myself that games creation was a road I should have travelled in my 20s. It’s all so confusing. Roads travelled and not travelled, and the constant fear I’m now at a dead end.
So anyway I’ve enrolled on this Unity course because I have an idea for a game and I have to start somewhere. But I’ve had ideas like this before and I’ve talked myself out of them before. I’m hoping for once I can just shut up for a moment and let myself enjoy what I’m doing. And maybe that way I’ll find my way onto a road I often wish I’d taken a long time ago.