Belated new year greetings o/
Now that it's the beginning of 2015, I'm going to try extra hard to create a good work ethic for this year and aim to accomplish even more things. One of them is blogging and keeping a record of what I'm currently doing and reminding myself of goals to tick off. This post was originally written on my Tumblr
and I'd thought it would be nice to share here. Hope someone would find this helpful!
In case you're a new follower, I'm JDWasabi. I've been wanting to write music for computer games since Final Fantasy 9 came out (seriously? 15 years ago?!) and ever since then I've been on a quest to do just that.
Right now I'm currently writing the soundtrack for Dragon Fin Souplook my name's on it!
) and while I've 'accomplished a childhood dream', the hard part is now keeping that momentum going. So how did it start? I decided to do my own game
because I didn't want to wait for a game to fall onto my lap.//fast forward
Now 2015, I have decided to try and blog regularly so that I can keep a record of what I've been doing and document just how far I've come (then look back in like 5 years time and be like omg wow such noob). I realised that there are many peeps out there who wants to be part of this industry so I hope that by sharing my experiences, it will encourage you to take that extra step!
The end of 2014 was absolutely pants but at least I knew why. So what better way to look back, evaluate and learn from it? To sum it up into 4 points:
- I learnt what I really want.
- Evaluated how badly I wanted it.
- Realised the importance of a Game Design Document.
- Learnt how to keep my emotions separate.
Going into detail and translating what I learnt into tips:
1.Decide what you really want.I want to be a game artist! I want to be a game music composer!
Great! Now I'm going to ask you what are you strengths then? Is it character design? Is it writing chip tune? Will you be happy doing just background art? Concepting building designs for the next GTAV? (heck someone's gotta do it) Or writing reggae? Will you be happy doing it for a project? Several? Months? Years?!
The point that I want to make is what would make you
stand out from the competition? Being in this industry will require you to do the things that you don't want to do but you have to. And until the time comes when you're famous/amazing, the journey will never be an easy start.
You're still going to have put in the effort x100000000. Are you prepared for that? Do you really understand the path towards your dream job? Because there are hundreds of others in your exact same shoes who will not bat an eyelid at doing something they personally wouldn't want to do, but if it offers a chance of them doing something that they do want to do, they'll do it.
How does this relate to me? Horror music is my thing. I'm confident in my knowledge of horror game soundtracks and I've studied fear and music psychology in my own time. But you know what I suck at? Writing happy music. To me they're the hardest thing ever! Do I still want people to be reduced to tears of horror or happiness whenever they hear my work? Possibly have concerts where they play music and people on Youtube doing covers of my work? Yes? Well I better show that I know my shiz then and give peeps and my clients the best emotional ride their ears have ever heard.
2. How badly do you want it?Now you've talked the talk, will you honestly walk the walk?
Let's say you've been wanting to do Project X for a while now. It's been playing in your head every time you go to bed. You build its world in your spare time, you imagine all the cool things that could happen in it. You imagine new awesome characters, you write these epic scenarios. You imagine internet fame and people going 'omg I love your work/game!' and you imagine how you're going to spend the rest of your life doing what you've always dreamed of doing. Okay the last point is subjective but you know what I mean.
So what have you actually got a part from talking about your project to a few friends and a few scribbles here and there? What is the point of being a creative and not sharing your work with the general masses? Have you received public/professional feedback if that's the route you want to go down?
Do you procrastinate? Do you say you have X,Y,Z and more going on in life and that you do not have time? Do you have to worry about school? Work? Not that I'm saying School/Work etc shouldn't be a priority but if Project X can't move forward past an odd scribble here and there, then it'll never get anywhere. It WILL forever be a pipe project and you'll only get older, not younger.
Unless you're Benjamin Button ofc.
Whenever I procrastinate or get lazy, I remind myself of why I'm doing things in the first place. I remind myself of the type of person I want to become and I also remind myself of the type of person I DON'T want to become. As long as I'm a step closer to doing what I want to do, that's good enough for me. Self reflection is incredibly useful. #priorities
3. Have a game design document
Once you've actually sat down and planned wtf is going to happen and why
, you'll be able to break it into manageable chunks and see how long it'll take before it can be actually completed without feeling overwhelmed.
It will be much easier to keep your focus once you get swamped with everything else. Will this bit be actually fun? How can I convey this message to players? Why should they care in the first place? I guess this bit can be applicable to just about anything. Want to write a comic? Storyboard your shiz! Want to do your own film? Script your shiz! Want to do your own game? Write a game design document about how it's going to work! Want to release a game soundtrack? Decide on a concept and do! If there is no focus for your project, it will turn into a never ending cycle of new ideas that will never get anywhere.
Pre-production is so underrated. Like seriously. The amount of times I created extra work for myself only to find that it wasn't needed. I guess this point is a no brainer but it really drives home about how serious you are with your project and actually getting it off the ground.
4. Keep emotions separate
This is an interesting one because I can go into many different instances with this one.
For argument's sake, let's say you get some neutral to negative comments on your project. "I don't like this character. This character is annoying. Not a lot of work has gone into this. Why does this keep changing? The artwork is not good. The music's too loud. This is boring. The quality's not great. I prefer your previous work. I don't enjoy this. This is not fun to play." etc...etc.."
So I ask again. How serious are you about this project? Are you doing this project to massage your ego or are you doing it because you want to improve your skills and create something many people will enjoy?
If people aren't enjoying your work, and that is not your intended aim, why? What can be done to find a solution to this? Bad feedback is just as important as good feedback
as this is how you'll quickly learn and improve.
- Does being a drama llama show how serious you are about your project?
- Will being emotional bring you a step closer to completing your project?
I'm not saying you can't have feelings but I think it is important to effectively turn your feelings into something proactive.
These were some of the questions I kept in mind whenever I felt frustrated:
- Why is this not working? What can I do to fix this?
- My actions can reflect my professional reputation.
- Hurt feelings won't fix things.
- What can I do to improve?
- What can I learn from this?
- Am I getting better at what I'm doing?
- Once I solve this problem, I WILL gain exp and level up!
I could go on and on. There is working hard, and there is working smart. If I find that I get bad vibes, I'll try and turn those vibes to my advantage and convert that energy into drive.
And that concludes my Jan post. Gosh I wrote more than I intended but I hope this post will be of use to someone! I plan to do another post in Feb so I am open to suggestions and questions. Feedback is always appreciated!