Make Peace With Failure

So running along the same vain as my previous post (HERE) if you want to be any good as a game developer you will have to accept the fact you will fail… all the time.  Not only will you fail, but it will happen at critical moments and you will still be expected to get the work done on time.  Since developing a game is a huge team effort, you not getting your work done has a gigantic impact on the rest of the team.  So not only will your boss be upset, but the rest of the team won’t be thrilled with you either.  No one will care that you had issues and thus couldn’t get your work done.  All of them had issues too but they worked through it and got on with their lives.  Failure isn’t really a pleasant thing.  When I first start in an editor or a game engine there is usually quite a bit of growing pain to be had there.  Things that seem like they should be straight forward don’t really function the way that they should and worse yet can cause much bigger problems.  But there is a lot to be learned from failure.

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It’s usually the most frustrating to fail at the most basic parts.  Because it’s basic there are so many people that can do it well, it makes it easy to feel as though you should give up.  Worse yet the most common attitude I seem to run into is “If I can’t make the engine work, then it’s stupid.”  Not every engine is a joy to work in and some of them have clearly outlived their usefulness.  Beyond that you are also of course entitled to your opinions about whether or not the engine is any good.  But that opinion shouldn’t be simply born out of the fact you can’t use it exactly how you wish you could.

Here’s another fun fact about the game industry for you: more often than not you won’t be working in the latest engines.  It’s really expensive and time consuming to switch engines for any company.  The same teacher I mentioned in my last post, also mentioned that one of the companies he worked for did a lot of work in Notepad of all things.  Obviously Notepad wasn’t the engine they were working with, but the engine they used actually used Notepad for several things.  Moving back to the topic at hand though, you shouldn’t try to use “it’s the engine’s fault” as an excuse because really all that happened was you didn’t allow yourself to learn the engine.

If you really want to become any good at this, just make peace with the fact that in the course of it you will fail way more often than you will succeed.  It’s not a sign that you’re bad at it, but just that you’re learning.  If you wanted to learned something advanced then you have to first start with something basic.  But just because it’s basic doesn’t mean it’s going to be immediately easy.

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