Check out Half-Life Re-imagined competition results!
Check out Skewing textures in Hammer, our newest tutorial!
Say hello to novandro150, our newest member!


Site Stuff






Feeling Blue

What's your favourite shade of blue?














6 mins


8 mins

Dr. Orange

8 mins


19 mins


33 mins


34 mins


53 mins



A gaming and technology blog by TWHL admins Penguinboy and Ant. A music blog by TWHL users Ant and Hugh.

View Journal

avatar Shepard62700FR 18th July 2017, 22:51 PM

As you may already know, I am involved in a lot of projects, I'm not gonna make a list because that's not the most important stuff.

One of the problems I have with myself is basically this: I work on a project for some time, then stop working on it for a few days or even weeks and when I want to work back on it, I just do it for a few minutes or I can't.

I tried a lot of stuff like music, playing video games before/after working. I even went to the point of trying to set myself deadlines for features or bug fixes. But not a lot of success tho.

This just annoy the hell out of me and this can "harm" those projects by delaying them. So fellow TWHLers, what are your tricks/secrets to work on projects without forgetting about them and finish them to the end?


avatar Windawz says: 18th July 2017, 23:13 PM
Can't believe I've finally found a person that has the same problem I have.
avatar Admer456 says: 18th July 2017, 23:51 PM
First of all, thank you for this journal. It prevented me from overthinking something that recently happened in the ShoutBox. x(

Let's see how I do my projects, at least the mapping ones:

I don't use my phone. Except only to listen to music because Google Play Music is a nice app, and the music sounds much better on my phone with earplugs compared to listening it on my laptop with my barely-working headphones.

I stay away from social networks. I even stay away from Discord, Skype, the Steam chat etc. (sometimes)

I find it the most productive to work when my Internet connection is lost, but having Internet connection is also too useful to not be use.
Ignore this one. :P

And, lastly, I try to never drift away with my thoughts. I at least try.
When you have a problem, and you want to solve it, you think about the solution. The thinking part will cost you (probably a lot of) time if you think about other things and focus on them instead of the problem's solution.

That's pretty much it, I can't think of anything else.
avatar Windawz says: 19th July 2017, 01:18 AM
The problem is that it's pretty hard to make yourself actually continue working on a project.

Every time I boot up the editor, I either immediately close it or open a map and then close the editor. Can't say it's laziness, because I can simple start a new map for no reason, work on it some time, save it and then never open it again.

It's hard to explain, especially with my shitty language knowledge. But I hope you get the idea.
avatar James Luke says: 19th July 2017, 01:35 AM
Wow, I was thinking of typing a very similar post. I was working on a Half-Life mod for up to 3 years now, just getting little stuff done every night. When I realized what I was realistically trying to do, I gave up. I was almost done, I literally had the last stretch go, but I couldn't bring myself to finish it. I still don't know why I made that choice to go and delete everything.

I'd kill to work on a team cause I've at least got people to motivate me, but all alone I give up on every project after a few days. It's saddening. And I can get a lot of work done fast but I've lost all my motivation recently. Life just gets in the way.

Still don't know a solution, maybe someone understands my exact situation. I'll never know.
avatar Windawz says: 19th July 2017, 01:40 AM
I swear, if not this, I'd have already uploaded dm_deadlands a week/two weeks ago.

Well, I suspect it's my laziness, but I'm not sure.
avatar Penguinboy says: 19th July 2017, 01:44 AM
I have the same issue, I think most people do. I typically just stop working on it and choose a different project to work on. Eventually (a few weeks/months later) I'll get an urge to start again. If I try to force myself to work on it before that, I get nothing done.

...Though most of the projects I work on are my own so there's not really anybody else who is waiting for me to finish, that helps a lot :P
avatar Windawz says: 19th July 2017, 01:49 AM
"I have the same issue, I think most people do. I typically just stop working on it and choose a different project to work on."

That's what it does lead to. Most of these map sources will probably never get finished.

Hmm, maybe I should upload all this to the "Unfinished stuff" category?
avatar Snehk says: 19th July 2017, 06:25 AM
I have the same problem, just like probably most of TWHL. It's been a few months since I last worked on my project before making the switch. And once in a while I'm making marginal progress. What helps me is posting my WIPs and getting constructive critique, that's why I post them a lot when working on something.
avatar Loulimi says: 19th July 2017, 09:42 AM
In my view, it's mostly about motivation. Not in the way you'd expect.
The issue you're describing here is very common among people working on personal projects, me included. My opinion: I think it's because we start or join a project as soon as we're excited about it, without really much thinking behind.
Personally, and I think that's the case of most of us, I grow tired of most projects quite quickly. The excitement I had at the beginning is soon gone. If I rely only on that excitement to keep me going, I'm never going to end anything. I'm just going to start a new project, cancel it, start another one. My piece of advice? Choose one project you really like, write down somewhere what project you're working on, and work on it. Dismiss any temptation to work on another project. The pleasure of working on it will plummet sooner or later, but the fact of forcing yourself to only work on this project and not start any other project will keep you going.

Also: on some of my projects I showed off what I was doing too early, like for Shift-Two v2 (which is now more dead than ever). I got used to the pleasure of showing the progress I've made to people. But the pace of the progress can slow down or be less noticeable. Besides, feeling that I'm working on my project because I am obliged to show something to other people makes me demotivated and dislike what I'm doing. If I'm not giving up, I'm won't be doing good work.

In short, choose your projects carefully (and don't choose one because you'll like to show off what you're doing), make good, good progress before you start talking about your project to other people, and don't have too many projects.
I think it's helpful to record your progress, assiduity and TODO on paper. It's very pleasant to cross out TODO items or a day on which you worked.
EDIT: Damn, I talk too much.
avatar Windawz says: 19th July 2017, 09:50 AM
Your post was pretty helpful, I'll see what I can do. Thank you.

I need to get rid of all these map sources and leave only those I'm currently working with.
avatar Loulimi says: 19th July 2017, 11:03 AM
I wouldn't recommend you to delete any of your work, absolutely not! Just keep them out of sight.
avatar Admer456 says: 19th July 2017, 11:54 AM
Exactly, don't delete the original files.
Just look at this dirt:

User Posted Image

And that's just a part of it, lol.
avatar Kachito says: 19th July 2017, 12:25 PM
Ain't nothing to it but to do it. It's one of the many reasons I never took level design seriously; it never lasts for too long so I treat it like a hobby. Do whatever I want, whenever I want.
UE realated stuff I can stretch for longer periods of time, gs/source not so much; damn engine limitations can get infuriating at times.
avatar Windawz says: 19th July 2017, 12:27 PM

The problem is that I'm not going to work on these any longer.

I can upload all my unfinished map sources (except for the ones I'm "working" on) to the map vault for modders and mappers to use these in their own mods or mappacks (without crediting me of course), or just to learn something new about HL/CS level design.

"Just look at this dirt"

That's not dirt. I store my HL and CS map sources on separate HDDs. This is the dirt.
avatar Admer456 says: 19th July 2017, 12:47 PM
Oh yeah, I pushed GoldSRC to its limit last night.
Too many sprites...

Clipnodes: 99.5% filled
AllocBlock: 62/64

And a few more things have been mostly filled, but I can't remember. I can't wait to switch to Source...

Yeah, but I only have one HDD and one partition. :c
I guess I could also upload all my old map sources somewhere. Especially de_kobbl's once I'm done with fun_kobbl.
avatar UrbaNebula says: 19th July 2017, 13:24 PM
9 years in to The Core's development... so I'll let you know when it happens.

It seems mental blocks are pretty consistent with mod developers or really any form of creative activity.

One think I can say is that it gets a lot harder to get back on the horse the longer you've been working on a project.

When I started working on The Core, I would take maybe a day or two off but I'd be itching to get back to it. These days, I can sometimes go month's before I get inspired to carry on.

I'm afraid I don't have the answer to your question just yet. :(
avatar rufee says: 19th July 2017, 17:22 PM
Ive heard somewhere that this phenomenon is referred to as "Mid development hell". Basically when you start you have all these ideas and the drive to actually implement them in reality, but after sometime the interest dies or you hit a very repetitive part (such as making levels for a game/mod) and thus stop working on it. Unless you are driven like crazy this probably affects most people, not much you can do about it either, just suck it up and keep going or find something interesting in the work you do. In the end when you do finish however the sense of achievement should persist into other projects and will make it easier (forming a habit i suppose?).
avatar Windawz says: 19th July 2017, 18:03 PM
"In the end when you do finish however the sense of achievement should persist into other projects and will make it easier (forming a habit i suppose?)"

Well, this gave me a hope.
avatar zeeba-G says: 19th July 2017, 18:31 PM
In big projects there are tons of starts. Those are the hardest parts. Get started before your mind tells you to lay on the couch or something else and then momentum will build. Take it from me, been working on the same damn thing for over a year and finally finished it.

My favorite thing to do is crank down the AC and put on a warm plaid shirt, maybe sip some wine and get to work.
avatar Shepard62700FR says: 19th July 2017, 23:02 PM
Wow so many answers ! Thank you for the replies guys ! ^^

@Admer : even with music I can't find the motivation or will to work on the projects. And when I do, I'm not the kind of guy that gets distracted by social media or whatever.

@Windauz & @Penguinboy : same, I started my IDE (Visual Studio or Qt Creator), open the project, open a source file, stare at it for 10 seconds, then close everything.

@Snehk : From a programmer's point of view, I would like to post more W.I.P. or even PoC (Proof of Concept) but most of them require specific assets like models/animations and I don't have the skills to do that. I did tried to learn one or both of them but no luck about it. So my only solution is to use assets from other mods/games and since they are protected by copyrights and licenses, I can't showcase them (even if I do tell they are placeholders and used for demonstration purposes).

@Loulimi : I think you are right, maybe if I had one project at a time, I wouldn't be here complaining about that. But back then, I was a stupid kid that was excited about programming things and would say "Yes" without hesitation. Right now, this is no longer a problem, I can say "No, I've already got those on my hands." even if it pains me to say so. About the "progress report", I do have "TODOs" laying around my own code (and my IDE reminds me about it), for some projects we even have a Trello board and aside from organization, it doesn't help a lot (also it can be easy to forgot to update the board).

@Kachito : engine's limitations aren't really a problem for me. I know right from the start that I can't ask Gold Source to perform as well as an Unreal Engine 4 game.

@Urby : I share the same feeling as you do.

@rufee : you are right about the "loose interest for repetitive tasks" part and I realize this with "Half-Rats: Parasomnia". It was more fun (re)programming the "core" systems (FMOD, shop system, mutator system...) rather than working on the major gameplay stuff like NPCs (except for their special traits) and weapons, but I always kept sight that those repetitive tasks is what make the project shining it's light. @Half-Rats: if you do read this, don't take it the wrong way, I enjoyed (and still enjoy) working on Parasomnia ^^

@zeeba-G : even stuff like that didn't helped to bring (back) motivation to work on a project. I remember sometimes preparing a cup of coffee, starting the tools, staring at the code for 15 seconds and shutting everything down.
avatar Snehk says: 19th July 2017, 23:36 PM
As a programmer you still can post snippets of code showing how you implemented a feature or post a general idea how to do it. While such proof of concepts or just code may get more to other coders, it gives rooks something to copy-paste (as a start for tinkering with coding), or give a base for experimenting (like, you posted the variable method for making a shield in response to Abbadon's thread. I assumed that it was made as a toggle-able secondary attack that sets boolean variable to true and an if...else that activates damage nullifying code when the variable gives true - something I'd want to check once I'll be working with hl coding, or implement in any other project in similat manner).

Also, if you need assets you may ask around TWHL or some other site if anyone is willing to lend you a hand, with reward being satisfaction and practise. A real enthusiast, rook, or someone with too much time on his/her's hands will sooner or later help.
avatar DiscoStu says: 21st July 2017, 04:39 AM
So all of us have ADD?

You must be logged in to comment.