Lost in design space
I have described my game design efforts to many family and friends and coworkers, and one suggestion I have often had is to just pick a programming language and work from that. My response is that a language designed for practical use is not well suited for my learning game purposes. Clearly, rather than working around the limitations and oddities of an existing language, it would be best to develop a language which perfectly fits my needs.
Several times in my notes I have scolded myself for not having a particular end goal in mind for the game to build up to. While I have compiled a few lists, none of the topics I have considered have been a perfect fit. Clearly, as I am not bound to a particular curriculum, I should take advantage of that freedom to hold out for a truly appropriate goal to build to. The primitives I choose to make the game out of, and the game's fiction, will certainly suggest something.
Besides a few efforts towards Victor and a vaguely related game, I have not attempted to prototype any of the ideas I have toyed with. Clearly I am able to follow them through to their inevitable failings, so there is no point in wasting my time on them. I can use that time to do the abstract planning and research that has given me so much progress already. I have no time constraints of any sort, I am not beholden to anyone who needs to check on my progress, so there is no reason to misspend the coding effort.
Oh, and I need to make a game and not a software toy or a sandbox environment, because it is the restrictions and gameplay goals that I impose that will propel people to the more interesting corners of the space I have set out for them.