Catch Your Dream

When I was young, my dad had a Power Macintosh 6500 and a copy of a game called MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat. By my estimation, it was not very good. It was slow and boring and I mostly got confused and died.


It had the absolute coolest intro cinematic of all time. It still gives me goosebumps.

After the intro and a minute or two of listening to the 12X CD-ROM drive spin, I had to face the menus. If I was lucky (what’s a “campaign”?), I would eventually blunder my way into the actual game and then the real frustration began. Nuclear submarines have more intuitive controls.

That’s kind of a good metaphor for my entire experience making games. There’s some intangible dream I’m chasing, just beyond my reach. In high school I would shoot hoops in the driveway for hours, dreaming up worlds that I could create later, or trying to figure out how to make soft shadows work.

Nothing I’ve made has ever measured up to my dreams. And if I’m honest, nothing in this world ever could. I think what I really have is what C.S. Lewis describes as an “unsatisfied desire which itself is more desirable than any other satisfaction.” A homesickness for a place I’ve never been. That feeling at the end of a great party that I wish could go on forever. The feeling that there has to be more than this.

I think everyone has that feeling. Ecclesiastes says God has set eternity in the human heart. I would like to capture a bit of that in the game I’m working on. I have no idea how to do that.

Progress is incredibly slow. Everything in game development takes an enormous amount of time under the best of circumstances, but having no idea what you’re doing really brings it to a screeching halt. If it’s a matter of writing code or making assets, I can get things done pretty quick with Godot. But none of that matters if you’re still not quite sure what you’re making. Which is usually the case for me right up to the end.

Our house needs a lot of work right now, and to me it feels like every hour I spend on the house is an hour I could have spent working to achieve my dreams. But this weekend I was convicted and reminded of a few things.

  1. God knows me and knows my dreams.
  2. He’s given me this house to take care of.
  3. He’s already made it clear that I’m going to have to wait on him for this project because I can’t do it.

I was reminded of the Israelites attacking the walled city of Jericho. God told them to march in circles around the wall for seven days, and then poof, the wall fell down and they waltzed in and took over the city. How stupid they must have felt during that week. I’m surprised the people didn’t revolt on the fifth day.

I hate feeling stupid. I’m frustrated that this project is taking so long and that there’s still so many unknowns. But I think I’m supposed to keep walking around the wall. Fixing up my house. Eventually the wall will crumble, and it’ll be clear who made it happen.