A few months ago I had a silly idea, and as with all my silly ideas I spent far too much time on it. I knew it was silly. I knew because whenever I thought about it I sniggered to myself. I also knew that if I worked on it that the pay-off would be relatively small (compared to the work it would require), but I couldn't resist.
I can't remember what made me think of the idea, maybe it was that I had been working with Modal Operators in Blender - tools that allow continuous execution and interaction from the user instead of the more common single-run tools. A modal operator allows you to listen for certain events, run code continuously and update the interface while it's running. These three ingredients are also necessary for something else. Games.
I wondered if it would be possible to build a game utilising parts of Blender's interface. So that's what I set about doing.
To quote from the project's eventual 'Readme' on Github:
The game is available on Github here, along with instructions on how to run it yourself.
I released it, awaiting the imminent deluge of favourites, retweets and messages such as "You're so clever!" and "You're amazing!". Some people ask me how I stay so modest. Unfortunately I can't explain, it's just one of my many, many natural talents.
However, that didn't happen (the social media frenzy, not the modesty. I am always modest).
I posted it on Twitter, got a few favourites, waited a little while and then quietly came to the conclusion that perhaps it wasn't as funny as I had first thought and was suddenly self-conscious of the amount of time I had misguidedly sunk into this project.
You see, yes, I may get silly ideas, but these small projects, while enjoyable for me, are essentially done to get my name out there a bit more. If I'm not getting any monetary value from a project I at least hope to get some promotional value from it.
While I had hoped Node Pong would be popular, I had also experienced a slight numbness to it as the project neared its end. Now, yes, I would later conclude that at least part of that numbness was my leg falling asleep, but it was also the novelty of the original idea wearing off. It had become normal to me and it suddenly seemed quite reasonable that maybe it seemed normal to other people too, leading to it's mediocre reception.
And then, some 4 hours later...I got a trickle of favourites and retweets.
And then I got more.
And soon the trickle became a river and the river a flood, but the nice type of flood, not the killing type of flood. Potamology aside, soon the most well known members of the Blender community were commenting on, favouriting and re-sharing my silly little idea. It turns out it was funny and maybe a little clever too (more modesty, it is in fact very clever). Several weeks later it now stands as the most popular and far-reaching thing I have done.
I'm sure there's some valuable lesson to be learnt here about building things for yourself instead of requiring the validation of other people or to continue with projects even when you become numb to them, but I haven't really got time to make those points.
I have other silly ideas to pursue.