What Happens If I Actually Finish This Project?

I finished another really difficult chunk of work. Enemies can now damage your ship, the damage done is saved, and lots of bugs are fixed. It was so exhausting that I don’t even feel like going into all the details!

Instead, I just want to mention this incredibly insightful and somewhat saddening bit of wisdom that I came across:

“I thought all I needed to be happy and satisfied as an artist was to become a better craftsman.  But guess what – once I became a better craftsman, even more skillful than I imagined, I felt kinda empty and what I was doing felt kinda pointless.  Not necessarily because It wasn’t good, but because I completely overestimated how happy those things would really make me, and I didn’t consider how much I would change over time.  By the time I finally became the great craftsman I always wanted to be, I was no longer the person who wanted those things in the first place.”

Alpay Efe

That quote is from an artist who was painting the same picture he had painted ten years earlier. His technique was much better. In fact, his painting ability now really could be called “mastery.” So it was surprising to hear him say he didn’t feel greatly fulfilled as an artist.

I do understand what he means. Anything can seem alluring from a distance, but when you actually put in the effort required to get that thing, you see it up close in all of its gory detail. The process might be difficult, unforgiving, and endlessly frustrating. Going through the struggle of attaining it could change you in the process.

I’ve been writing code for forty years, almost exactly. I’m only three months into this current project, and it’s finally “the” project that I’ve always wanted to do. My own game. Every day that I work on it, it beats me up more. I’m not the kid in a candy store that I expected to be. But I can’t help but think that finishing it will be amazing. I don’t know what I’m expecting, other than the fact that I’ll be able to say “I did it. I created and released a game.”

I’m hoping that there’s much more to Alpay’s journey. After that harsh discovery that “mastery” is really just more hard work and not some magical shining light from the heavens, I hope to find that it’s rewarding in a better way. We’re creators, and without creativity, the world would be awful. We’d all just talk about politics and the stock market. The world needs amazing artists.

Check out version 0.4.5.3 over on the releases page.

Here’s Alpay’s art: https://www.alpayefe.com

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