My worst 5 projects of GoAT

Oh boy, did I take some time writing this one? From a weekly schedule to one post per month. Well, I needed a bit of rest from the constant pressure of having to publish something every week. And that actually ties very well with the subject of this post because the lack of time while having said pressure is the main culprit behind most of my worst projects from the previous year.

The previous post about the best projects is a nice ego boost, but I think this one is important too. One reason is to keep me grounded. And the other is to show people that not everything we do is, or needs to be great. In the age of social media, we are used to seeing extremely curated pieces of people’s lives. And why shouldn’t people show only the best parts of them? That sounds very logical to me. The issue is when we are oversaturated with such content. And even though we rationally know that not everything is great for everyone, it does get under your skin. You can’t not compare your life with everyone else’s. Well, I’ve gone too much into philosophy here, and probably unnecessarily because the things I do aren’t so great anyway so there is not much danger somebody will envy me. However, I believe my point still stands and I think it’s important to show failures.

Speaking of failures here are the worst 5(ish):

5. Scraping the bottom of the barrel

This is why I sad fiveish because the fifth place is actually reserved for 5 different projects. But they have something very important in common. They were all done at the last minute and they were chosen from desperation. For every one of them, I had no idea what to make that week and I would delay making anything until it was too late for any decent project so I would come up with something extremely simple to make. I would make something just so I would have something to make, not because I was excited about that project.

I’m still not sure how I feel about that. Obviously, everyone can see that you shouldn’t force yourself to do something that doesn’t feel good for you just so you can follow some imaginary rules you’ve set for yourself. But, that is also the reason why I finished this project, so something good did come out of it. If I haven’t forced myself through those, I would’ve stopped after a third of the project. Well, maybe I wouldn’t have stopped completely, but I would’ve missed a week and it would be hard to recover from that. I guess the best of both worlds would be to accept the defeat early on, make something lame and skip the whole torture of trying to figure out something exciting for that week.

And the projects in question are (in chronological order):
Make a timelapse
Make a pinwheel
Make a paper chatterbox
Make dopamine
Make Leonardo da Vinci’s bridge

4. Make a pop-up card

I had high hopes for this one. I dabbled with pop-ups a couple of years ago, so when I added this idea to my list, I was planning to make something awesome. To have different pop-up mechanisms, a nice design and a fun card. But, as I’ve already mentioned a couple of times already, I ran out of time. And without time, all I had time for was the most basic card with a demonstration of two pop-up mechanisms and with no design whatsoever.

Pop-up gif

3. Make a game

Another one with high hopes. With this one, I was too ambitious. It is far from impossible to make a game in a week. In fact, a lot of game jams are limited to 24 or 48 hours. Where I ran into problems is trying to fit this project into a busy week and with a full-time job. This is still not impossible, but if you wanted to get something decent in those conditions, you would need to crunch hard, and in the end, this wasn’t important enough to justify the needed effort.

This project is on the list because I’m not sure if what I’ve made can be called a game. And if it can, then it is a very lame game.

Game in Unity

2. Make a song

The theme continues. High expectations not met.

Making a song is something I wanted to do for a long time. And not just making a song, but learning about music because I love it but have no idea how it is made. It is one of the most mysterious worlds for me. Music means a lot to me, and usually, when I like something so much, I want to learn how to make it.

When I’ve put this idea onto my list of ideas, which was long before I started this challenge, my plan was to learn about music slowly throughout the year, maybe practice guitar a little bit, and then pick one week in which I would make a song. And I didn’t have that high expectation. I didn’t expect to make a great song. I just wanted to make a basic composition which can be called a song.

And now what happened in reality. Throughout the year I almost haven’t touched anything about making music. And since this was one of the scariest projects I planned, I delayed it until I couldn’t delay it anymore – until the second to last week of the challenge. And to make things more fun, that ended up being a week when I was moving, so you know, not busy at all. The result is as awful as you can imagine. But, I’ll keep the dream alive, and hopefully, I will redeem myself one day.

1. Make artisan keycaps… or at least try to

I’m not sure if this really deserves the first place, but ordering things on lists like this is hard so why not. What I am sure of is that the end result of this project was a failure and a sticky mess. Funnily enough, time was part of the reason here too. But this time, it wasn’t a lack of time because of being busy or because I was delaying the project. This time, I didn’t realize how long the epoxy had to harden. In every video of making something with epoxy, they would be finished in a couple of days max. But, I ended up with an epoxy that needed a whole week to harden. And I started working on the project on Thursday.

Maybe it’s nicer like this, to finish the list on a stupid user error instead of on a bummer story like previous ones.

Epoxy keycaps

In the end, I was actually pleasantly surprised while making this list. I had way fewer candidates for the worst 5 list than for the top 5. And I had a way harder time deciding which are the best projects than the worst. I’d like to think that means this project wasn’t as bad as it seemed at times. Sometimes, and when I say sometimes I mean almost all the time, we focus more on bad than on the good, and this post did help put things into perspective for me.

I will leave you with one of my favorite Doctor Who quotes:

“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”

The Doctor, Doctor Who S05E10 – Vincent and the Doctor

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