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Perfectionism is not a positive quality

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Some sound points and I generally agree, though I'd take issue with the seemingly self-evident notion that being a perfectionist demands an aspiration to what it is commonly accepted to mean—an unmoving peak of absolute values. I am afflicted by this problem of perfectionism probably more so than the next guy*, but what my idea of perfection actually is will shift to accommodate for past failings and prospective projects and ideas all at once; ideas that will inevitably fall short of my impossible goal-setting... even as I profess they will do otherwise, again and again. They are perfect for precisely this reason: I tell myself that this is finally the terminus. "Ah, this is the model into which all things will settle—warts and all. Balance will finally be restored!" In this frame of mind, it is indistinguishable from the top of the mountain. You simply hadn't seen it before. When the ideal shifts again, it will only be because the previous one was a ruse conjured up by an ailing mind.


Of course, this difference doesn't preclude the sorts of things you've pointed out, here (except for guilt, maybe. I don't feel any of that). Even in trying to stretch the model of perfection to some new, arbitrary heights, the efforts will still not satisfy. At the very least, constantly shifting the values of things will feel in and of itself unsatisfactory! You will still spend your resources poorly. You will still be prone to anxiety, distraction and frustration resulting from unmet "needs." You will continue to be blind to the lessons that can be learned from error-making. You will still make it more difficult for others to align their goals with your own in collaboration...


Good topic, and it needs to be said. I have to rid myself of this mindset. It's so deep-seated, though, I'm sure it won't be a quick fix.


*Now if you don't mind, I have 50 speedmidis I need to correct before they get unleashed onto the /idgames archive and pollute the airwaves forever.

Edited by Alfonzo : Perfectionism

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6 hours ago, Memfis said:

So you just have to stop being one. You must learn the concept of something doing its job well enough. You have to realize that some improvements are too insignificant or too time-consuming to bother. And you need to understand that people on the street won't laugh at you because your usage of TEKGREN is inconsistent between the rooms. You think your perfectionism results in your maps being so much better, but in reality most people don't even notice your misguided efforts. So get rid of it.

i'll take "have you tried just being happy?" for $400

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Yep, I suffer from the need for perfection too. I only have one piece of advice:


Prioritize. Always work on the worst part. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so they say. So, if you always work on the weakest part, and continually re-prioritize, you can stop working on it earlier, and end up with a pretty good release. Not a "perfect" release, but a good release. If we can come to the conclusion that perfection is not possible, then "good" starts to become attainable.


Now, I think I'll take some of my own advice, and get to work...

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I'm one of those perfectionist goofuses, and while I agree that it's dangerously consuming if left unchecked, I don't identify with this bit:


12 hours ago, Memfis said:

Perfectionists are never satisfied with what they do and they know that it's impossible for them to ever reach satisfaction because perfection doesn't exist. So why are they still here? What force drives them? You could call it guilt.

The reason I keep pressing onward is because it's fun to make stuff. I make mods n' maps 'cause it's fun, and the obsessive-tinkering process is extremely self-satisfying. And when the tedium outweighs the fun, well, I move on to the next project. :P


That in of itself is a bit troublesome, of course. Since this isn't my job, there's usually little tangible negative consequences of procrastination, so it's easy to get sidetracked. That combined with perfectionism makes for an unfortunate combo (i.e. why so many of my projects are still not on /idgames) -- two sides of the same coin.


But no, "guilt" has nothing to do with any of it.

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Perfection is death.


Did you know "perfect" is a grammar notion? It designs tenses corresponding to actions that are completed. Something perfect is something that is completed, that is finished, that will not grow and change anymore. Something dead.


So when is a project perfect? Once you've decided to stop working on it.

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I have obsessive compulsive tendancies, but still like to be creative - Though i'd like to be creative and finish things, rather than wasting infinite time going down rabbitholes instead of focusing on more foundational aspects of the map.


I've been trying to get better at speed-mapping for this reason, and have been working on a series of 4-hour speedmaps.  Goal: use stock textures only and build a functioning before the timer's up.  In one session, I wanted a waterfall and started experimenting with a waterfall gimmick (doom2 has no waterfalls).  But after a minute of fiddling, I said, "i like where this is going, i'll just spend like 1 more minute on it and move on."  But i said that like 20 times in a row, and wasted like 20 minutes on something that wasn't really important:
unnecessary waterfall:


this forced a pretty mono-textured map:


But, after completing about 12 of these speedmaps, i finally got comfier with texturing and using more variety.  I'm a little better at managing time too, but it took a while to get there.


I still get the urge to go down conceptual rabbit holes, and sometimes i feel like i'll lose a concept forever if i don't act on it immediately; It's like an irrational loss-aversion which results in an inefficient and lopsided mapping process.  But effort and practice certainly helps make up for these deficits.


Differently, but still on topic: there's a part of mapping where a layout starts coming together, but subsequent changes/additions get harder make.  If you choose one design path, then you might paint yourself into a corner or forfeit other design choices (or make it awkward to backtrack the decision).  If you put too much importance on "perfection", then you might just get frozen by choice paralysis here, instead of just buckling down and finishing the map in some capacity.


Analogy: It's like starting with a perfectly blank Sudoku board and start filling in numbers in a way that you find fun.  It starts out easy because it doesn't matter where you place numbers at first.  But after placing enough numbers, you'll find it increasingly strenuous to place more after a certain point.  At this point I usually just start filling out another blank, fresh sudoku board, and never return to the one I started.  (That, or I shove 2000 cacodemons into the sudoku board and submit it to a community project anyways as a joke.)  Either that analogy doesn't make sense or it makes perfect sense, i dunno.

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I went through a phase where I focussed a lot on eye candy. The upshot was bloated level sizes. The gameplay didn't suffer but it was a lot of work. But when you're testing this stuff hardly any of it is noticed unless you stop. If you're stopping to look you're not playing the level. Probably the only people that appreciate the extra work are other game designers who are on the look out for new ideas.


Recently I included the Millennium Falcon in a level. The player finds it crash landed and abandoned on a planet then can go into the ship and repair it. The internal of the ship has 3 times the linedefs and sectors than the rest of the level. I couldn't help it, the ship deserves the best effort. A gift to any Star Wars fans (if they ever play it lol).


That's 18 maps in this PWAD so far. 10 to 30 minutes play per level. For now I'm going back and finishing those few areas in past levels that I ran out of ideas for and fixing some bugs like glitches and bleeding (that need to be done but I tend to put off, like the washing up lol).


The latest level is very low on eye candy (almost non existent) because I'm just focussing on gameplay. Adding extra design wouldn't add much but there's some leeway to add it if I feel like it. This can be achieved by just making sure there's plenty of unused space between "rooms" where simple methods like recessed walls can be added later.


Personally I find perfectionism comes in the testing phase. I must test my levels about 100 times each lol. Sometimes after every door or pit is added I retest the whole level (cause I'm too lazy to move the player1 start position lol). Once you've ironed out any unexpected issues, like getting trapped, or non-sequencial play leading to ammo deserts or unintended results, and it's as perfect as you like it, then that's good enough in my book.









Edited by alowe

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