Hey there Gamers and Game Makers!
So, this week I'm going to take a look at something that we all need in our work, and that's motivation. Whether or not you are making a game, animation or something else on your own, motivation is key to not just getting the work done but also to having a positive attitude towards it. I'm going to talk a little about how I as an independent developer stay motivated to create.
So, how do you stay motivated as an indie game dev? Well, that's different for everyone in terms of finding that key thing that drives you on. For me it's a combination of things. I'm lucky that I'm surrounded by people close to me that understand making games is my passion and that it's something I keep improving at.
They may not all even understand the world of video game development but can see the drive I have for it. That support from people close to me is a huge help to my motivation any time that little bit of self-doubt creeps in.
For self-doubt, there's a few things I try to do to keep it in check.
1. Stop comparing yourself to others!
Seriously, this is one that we all struggle with and it's a huge waste of energy. Everyone lives their own life and everyone's is different. Don't compare your work, your life or your achievements to those of others. Focus on what's good in your life and what you can do to improve it further. Don't feel as if life is a competition, because if you do, you'll lose.
2. Don't focus on what people think of you.
As creatives and especially as indie devs, when we make something and put it out there, we worry about what people will think. That's only natural for a creative person. You made something and on some level, that work is a representation of yourself to some extent and we feel when people judge that, they are also judging you personally. Let me tell you, that's rarely the case. And even if you do get people who judge you on a personal level based on your work, they're not the right people to listen to. Worrying about what others think of you will only hold you back and stop you from creating more and better work. Focus on the constructive criticism that's based around your work and not you personally and use that to get better.
3. Remember how far you've come.
When those times of negativity sneak up on us and trust me they will, remember how far you've come to get to this point and remember what you've accomplished so far. Keep a note of all you've accomplished, even if it's just a page you keep in your desk. Take it out when you feel the negative thoughts pushing you down and read it. More importantly, keep adding your accomplishments to it as they come no matter how big or small so you can see the progress you are making.
4. Take some time.
Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed and we may feel as if we're burning out. The best thing to do when we find ourselves in this position is to simply take some time. Be it a few minutes away from your desk, a few hours or a day. Take some time to clear your mind of all that clutter and noise. Get out for a walk, play some music, do some exercise. Do whatever works for you. Then come back recharged and ready to do something great.
When it comes specifically to making games, there are a number of things you can do to keep motivation and productivity up.
1. Set realistic goals.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to set realistic goals for your game dev project. A lot of people go into it with the one goal of "finish the game" and while that's the end goal, it's not the only goal. Break that goal down to the smaller goals such as "make the art" "make the audio" "gameplay prototype" and even break those down again so, "make the art" has a sub goal of "design the main character". Set goals that you can hit each day and each week. All the while making progress towards that final goal of finishing the game.
2. Avoid adding more than needed.
In games development, it's always so tempting to keep designing features and content that you think would be perfect for the game. Keep it simple. Focus on the core design and story of your game that makes it good. If you keep adding lists of extra stuff to put in game, you'll start to become frustrated and ultimately won't finish the game. You can always build on a finished game that's good. Focus on creating a solid, polished game that you can extend rather than building a buggy frankenstein's monster. Once you make something that's great at its core, you'll feel motivated to keep going! Make short, great games and ship them.
3. Take care of yourself.
The most important one of all, take care of yourself. While we may be creatives and our work is a huge part of what makes us tick. It's pointless if we don't live our lives. So while making games or art of any kind is what makes you happy, do all the other things that bring a smile to your face. Hang out with people you care about, go see a movie, listen to music that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, get active for even 30 minutes in a day, do whatever it is that recharges you so that once you come back ready to create something, you have that motivation and drive to create something great!
Well, that about does it for this weeks blog. I hope this has been of some help to someone out there. So, go do your thing and keep creating awesome things!