Learning is Often a Painful Experience
Posted by Devgamer [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 9 June 2009, 1:50 pm
A long time ago, a great programmer that I knew by the name of Steve Ranck told me that learning is painful. At the time, I think it was around when I was learning to use 3d Studio Max when I was a track designer for the arcade game Hydro Thunder, and I was having a rough time with it. Hell, I was having a rough time with all the tools we were using, despite the fact that they were fantastic.

The bottom line is, alot of game design is painful to some extent. Putting ideas on down on paper is one thing, but executing them is another. That's why you hear about all of these developer horror stories where an executive or producer that isn't close to the actual production of his game makes outrageous demands of his designers, artists and programmers, leading up to an implosion of sorts for the game. They just don't understand that some tasks are difficult to the point of being "painful".

For just over a week now, I've been learning some new design stuff for The Agency, and boy oh boy have I been pinging the pain threshold! The work I'm currently doing is super cool, and fun to do, but man oh man, It is rough when you make n00b mistakes. I'm the kind of guy that likes to get really good at one thing, then move on to the next, and I'm in that "next" transition right now.

The point of this is, you aren't going to learn anything unless you get out of that comfort zone. Those of you that are picking up unreal ed for the first time for example, you are going to find it almost insurmountable in how complex it is. What I want to say to you guys is, don't give up! You have to break through the wall before you can really get comfortable with the tools of the trade.

I'm by no means an expert in the realm to be truthful. I am a great tool user when it comes to game design, but I require a certain amount of ramp up time before I really get comfortable with it. I'm blessed in the aspect that I have a job that I can go to that practically forces me to learn these things... Things that I'm already interested in on a hobby level, where I have to get results in X amount of time, therefore I'm forced to persevere through that tough learning stage. Those of you out there that are just getting started, sitting in your bedroom dreaming of becoming a game designer, you have to buckle down and blast through the roadblocks, it's the only way it's going to happen.

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