I've been thinking about my own self-induced stress lately. Here are the factors:
- I work in QA
- I am eager to begin working in a design role
Am I too impatient? Am I too hard on myself? Or am I too lazy? I feel like I don't spend enough time at home working on my mapping. But I don't have a good metric for that. How many hours per day did other level designers put into their maps and mods before they went pro? How many months or years? Do I spend too much time reading and posting about games online, or playing games? Or do I not spend enough time with my girlfriend, or reading, or traveling? I'm trying to find a balance, but I admit that I'm impatient regardless. I want to be where I want to be and I want it now. I don't know if I should expect myself to be making quicker progress on my work, but I do. So I'm sort of stressing myself out. I'll be happy when my night job turns into my day job, and I can actually enjoy myself when I'm not working. I'm looking forward to it.
Another short-term factor I've noticed in my own dissatisfaction is when I reach a point in the mapmaking where I'm not sure exactly how to proceed. I think part of learning level design is figuring out an effective workflow, recognizing exactly which aspects of the map need to be completed in what order, and being prepared to tackle them when the time comes. I'm facing some aspects of this map that I haven't had to deal with yet-- specifically, meeting a friendly NPC in person for an expository scene-- which I still need to figure out how to set up and script, not to mention writing the actual dialogue to be spoken, and recording it, and putting it into the game. I've gotten to the point though that I know my next step is to write the dialiogue, at which point I can lay out the sequence of the NPC delivering it, script it in, and then move onto the next scene. In general, I'm much more comfortable when I know exactly what work I need to do, and just have yet to do it, than when I'm uncertain about how to proceed. I think that's really true of myself in any regard; I thrive on certainty, knowing what goals I have to complete, and completing them. This probably figures heavily into why I'm drawn to games, and specifically the ones I am.
Here are some progress shots of the living quarters where you meet the aforementioned NPC:
A comfortable seating area, with dining table in the background (the two of each seat will become significant.)