What I learned the past several months

What I learned the past several months

So I noticed a few things about how I work lately. Might be useful to other people perhaps to share.

First I learned about decision fatigue. This is a real problem and I thought it was just a bullshit excuse. Being aware of it I was able to notice where I start fucking up in my projects. If I push myself too far in a day I start a snowball of mistakes. It seems at about 3 hours if I am not in the zone I will start to make mistakes in my choices, either getting too complacent and not thinking of enough options or just getting stuck in a single track of thought about a problem.

The easiest way I found to deal with this is to be aware of how I am feeling and call it a day at the three hour mark if I can. There are other things I can work on or chores I could do instead of creating some problems for future me.

Next I learned that my fear of failure is my biggest enemy, it stops me from starting and forces me to give up. Can't succeed if you don't try, can't learn if you don't fail. Well you can learn but I find the lessons learned from failure are more potent.

Then there's the feeling that what I am working on is shit. When I am pixeling something it looks like crap to me pretty much the whole time until I am finished with it. Even then I tend to feel like I could probably make another pass and just try to make it better but if I keep doing that it'll never get done and I will probably just make it worse. So at the end of the day working on something I will decide if I will put another day into it or just leave it, knowing that another day subtracts from other things. This lets me weigh out my time a bit better.

I also figured out that a lot of my depression comes from putting too much pressure on myself. I tend to feel like the weight of the world is on me and I am always running out of time. I have goals and I want to accomplish them as soon as possible. Trying to run a marathon in a sprint and burning out and collapsing, in essence.

The final thing I learned is if you are like me and have this need to create games and you've done all the learning to get yourself to the point to just sit down and start on any game you feel like making. You can draw your own assets, write your own music, pull a story out of your ass and write any system you'll need... you're gonna have a bad time.

The road as a solo dev doing all the asset creation and everything yourself, especially if you want to make more complex projects can spread you really thin, stretching you to a breaking point. I don't advise anyone do this unless they really have a passion for it. Find some people that also want to make games like you. I am just a stubborn ass and tend to work better alone so I suffered through. It would be sooooo much easier if I wasn't a jackass hermit.

The best advice I can give you from my experience as a game dev is just make something. Finish it. It could start out as one thing and evolve into another thing, but do not give up on it. The worst thing you can do is give up. It's far worse than releasing something and getting blasted by some asshats on twitter that never made shit in their lives. Just fucking go for it. Even if it does end up shitty it's something, something you can point at and say "I worked hard and maybe it sucks but I learned a lot and the next one wont suck so much at least. It might even be good... or great." If you're trying to pay the bills with this I would recommend looking to do contract work for others while you work on your project though... don't gamble your life on your game.

So in summary (tl;dr) don't push yourself too much or you'll fuck up. You have to push yourself a bit to get started which is always going to be the hardest part. Once you get going all you gotta do is keep going, it's way easier to maintain momentum than it is to build. Don't fear failure, use it. Find friends to help, treat them well, but don't let them make you the work horse(I was there once, you come to resent people). Your art isn't as bad as you think, it's just not done yet. Even the most busted thing can be turned around with a little detail work and some clutter to distract the eye from the fuckery. You can always come back and finish things later, too... take some time away and get fresh eyes.

Also; Don't do milk, eat your school, get 8 hours of drugs and above all drink all your sleep.