Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Free creativity.

Something I look forward too.

Finally, I got rid of another demoscene project that I started planning for it more than a month ago but ended up in a burden. And after so much time of being anxious and unmotivated to work with it and simply wasting my time thinking but not doing, it ended up into something I am not proud of, also not worth the struggle. Whatever it is, I can remember murphy's saying that projects take up twice the ammount of time and half of the originally planned produced, as my usual expectition on every programming project I work into. So that's almost ok (Well, it's worse than ok in this case but wtf)

Nevertheless it was nice remembering how to code the good old C64 after a year of inactivity (Well, my previous release on the C64 was 3 years from now as I surprisingly discover, but I must have tried to finish some code the previous summer just before going to the friggin army). I had to open the docs to remember once again where the screen or color ram address is and how can I change the modes, actually everything. Still, it's more familiar to me to code on the CPC after a long time of absence (where you just have to remember &C000 and maybe few CRTC registers if you are more into hardware tricks).

So, the release was a Invitation for the Primary Star 2007 demoparty but there is nothing to see there just a text fader (You'll need a real C64 or emulator) and since it was an invitation I had to finish it in time before the date of the event. If that was a planned demo for the competitions of PS2007 I would skip the deadline but now it had to be done. And it pains having to release such a simple thing while I was originally planning to show to the C64 scene that I have evolved since my first.

But then I tried to compensate myself saying that it's an invitation and the main reason of it is to display text that invites you to a demoparty. I also tried to compensate with it by thinking of other mediocre stuff even the leet coders released from time to time.

Most of all I tried to remember why I didn't have motivation for this one. The original motivation is maybe to combine the writer with a nice idea (My idea was a plasma twisterbar that I had since long in my mind to code but this time revealing the text of the next page as it moved over it. Some unrolled code upon hardware sprites over the char screen of text, moving in a sine matter, I had it in mind, I wrote some compiler code but it remained there :P). But this was the one motivation and the other thing saying to me "I must hurry with the invitation" that is incompatible with this. If I wanted to code an effect I wouldn't have hurried that piece of code for the invitation.

After this I start making thoughts about how things will go with my scene activity from now on. Well, I always have said that and everytime I came back whinning why after so struggle in a demo production it didn't end up as I'd like and I even felt oppressed by my wish to release a demo.

I had two projects to finish this period. First just going on with coding for my job on the second game of our great casual games company (Oh I know, all that shameless promotion and stuff! :) and second to finish the requested invitation. It's hard to see the motivation kicking here because I've found out that when there is a MUST then I get anxious over it and that anxiety acts against me, reducing my mood to actually work and finish these projects.

In fact, I just did an experiment during those days of inactivity. Ignoring those two projects I was forced to work with and chosing to enjoy creativity in another programming project that I do not ask from myself to finish in time but rather get exited working on some idea or project I wished since a long time. I simply was inspired to rewrite from scratch parts of my 3d engine for the GP2X handheld, improve things here and there and optimize stuff, something I wanted since a long to day but the priority project that HAD to be done didn't allow me. So for 3 days I started working on this and generally I have noticed I was more motivated with it and more sattisfied and enjoyed by the not forced creativity here. I even left the project at some early stage to get back to priority work without caring about finishing it soon because simply there was no deadline. Something similar happened when I opened my old 386 and tried optimizing some bits of my fire effect routine I mentioned in an older blog post or experimenting with other things on compilers and assemblers in my 486.

When it's experimentation, natural motivation, not a reason of releasing something to the scene, then it's more closer to free creativity

When it's all about deadlines, finishing something in time or generally putting too much value into something and forgetting the fun, then it's forced creativity

Motivation can be something like:

  • 1) "Hey! I'd like to try coding that and see what happens!!!"

  • 2) "I am dreaming of coding this, I can't wait the time to start!"

  • 3) "Damn! The deadline of the demo competition is near and I have to finish a demo for it."

  • 4) "I must code something good, I don't want to show to the scene that I am a lame coder."

  • 5) "If something bothers you, just finish with it instantly instead of whinning for a month or so. That would be a motivation, wouldn't it?"

Several people are telling me the 5th. When my creativity is blocked and while I really wish to be productive my psychology doesn't let me (or something that I got totally wrong here), they tell me "Just do it! If you didn't whine all the time about not being motivated to work you would have probably already get rid of it and stop worrying.". It isn't easy. Also, some people are telling this to me concerning my studies in the past. When I was worrying that I am bored to study but the only way to get rid of my boring studies was to study so that I get my diploma and finish with all the fuzz. So they told me to invent an imaginary (for me) motive that says if you finish your studies sooner you won't have to worry about them. But there are no real motives for me in studying than getting good notes and passing exams (which are no motives for me). And inventing an imaginary motive of just finishing the shit you don't like doesn't work on me.

As we go up from 4th to 1st, we reach more what I call "free creativity". Still though, even the 2nd choice while innocent and seeming pure, can lead eventually to expectations.

For example, I have been doing a 3d engine for fun. Later I thought that "Hey! It's quite good and much better in some aspects than some other engines there in the community that are advertising themselves so hard. So, maybe I could catch up and release a new better version of my engine soon". That's what I plan actually, to release a good version of the GP2X engine before late October. And then what was once upon pure fun of creativity or experimentation, takes a form as something with a strong casue, a solid good programming project I shouldn't be late with it because it's a pitty such a cool piece of software to not be released. And so I invent an imaginary deadline and expect from myself to have grown my little fun project into something big! Which is too big for me or the motivation is lost because now I am focused into the release/success of the software rather the fun I have coding it.

Now I am looking at it, it seems that the order from 1 to 4 and maybe 5 too is a physical process from something pure to something with expectations. And the way a programming project starts and ends sometimes. At first we get motivated by some experimentation in coding (I'd like to try this and see what effect it has on the screen). Then we see that there is something cool here actually and start dreaming of a bigger project based on this algorithm that works. Actually we dream of a cause for our work. The 1st is like playing with lego's, the 2nd is like thinking of stop playing and do something bigger that is supposed to have purpose. The 3rd is trying to present that thing somewhere where other software compete or are presented. And having expectations. The 4th is connecting your personality with a status of how good your work is and what people expect from you. The 5th is getting rid of it that causes so much fuzz and anxiety in your head.

And after the 5th you reevaluate your success/failure, what to do next, if you want to oppress yourself or relax or choose a different direction like not caring about your image in the scene and just releasing any crap you feel like.

So, I have decided to reevaluate (well I have done this a lot of times before without success but this time I know more and I will be more precautious) and maybe only (or mainly) work on programming or other projects that bear the 1st and maybe 2nd point. Also, maybe something else like updating my old website or pixeling/tracking in the scene. Now that would be!

And I have other thoughts of free creativity which will be like writting with a pencil randomly without caring at all, letting it flow. It might work in pixeling, tracking and maybe coding too. But the problem is the expectations, not the art or the scene. Time will tell..

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