60 Tips to Stay Motivated and Finish Your Indie Game

60 Tips to Stay Motivated and Finish Your Indie Game

When I started programming WAYYYY back in 2005, making stuff was awesome. But more often than not, I found myself starting on projects and abandoning them when something else that was cooler popped into my head. When I eventually moved on to bigger more ambitious projects, I would find myself abandoning them deep into the build process, never wanting to look at them again. People would ask me what I did, and I would tell them I was a game developer. Then they would ask to see some of my games.

For a long time I felt like a failure, and it really bummed me out. I started to look around and ask for help on the internet, to see if any poor soul had the same issues I had. As it turns out, the vast majority of indie developers struggle with these very things. Finishing a game seems to be one of the single hardest things for an independent developer to do. The fact that such a deeply personal feeling was so common and universal blew me away. I know what that shit is like, it sucks. It made me feel horrible to work on all these things I was passionate about and never be able to complete them.

But one day not too long ago, I broke through and actually finished my first game. It took me 10 years, but I did it. Here are some things I’ve learned on that long, hard journey to stay motivated and finish my game.



SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) goal setting concept presented on blackboard with colorful crumpled sticky notes and white chalk handwriting

Goal setting could perhaps be its own separate post, but I’ve found that in my development, knowing exactly what I want to achieve helps me actually achieve it. There are hundreds of developers on the GDU email list, and I get emails from a lot of developers that make their lack of goal setting very apparent. I think goals are the first step to keeping yourself motivated because they allow you to track your progress. And what would games be without progress?

  1. Set goals. Yes, the first step is to ACTUALLY set goals. What a surprise right? But most people think they’re above setting goals. They just assume that goals work for other people but not them, so they never set any. Don’t be that guy! Sit yourself down, write out the things you want to achieve, and put them in a place you can very clearly see every day.
  2. Make sure your goals are specific, clear, and realistic. So the next step after actually setting goals is to make sure your goals are clear enough to know when you’ve succeeded. Most people will set a goal similar to “I want to be rich” or “I want to make a game”. But they stop short of actually defining the terms of success. When have you officially achieved your goal of making a game? When its live on steam? Or when the programming is finished? How will you know when the programming is finished? Define your terms of success, and stick to them.
  3. Make sure your goals are YOUR goals. A lot of times we can get lost in life and end up with goals that aren’t really ours. Whether its a parent or a significant other, they can push and pressure us (whether they know it or intend it or not) to do things and set goals for things that we don’t really want. And there is no better way to get discouraged from completing a goal than to go for a goal that isn’t yours.
  4. Break goals into actionable pieces. Whatever your goals are, they can always be broken down into a list of things that you can actively DO to complete them. If you don’t always know the next step, then your goals are not broken down into actionable pieces. Always know the next thing you have to do.
  5. Prioritize by impact. When you have a list of things that you want to achieve, sorting them by what will have the most impact is one of the most effective way to get things done. When you get the most important things done first, it allows you to leap frog your motivation, keep your spirits up, and ensure that the most critical pieces are finished.
  6. Make a daily to-do list. Every single day, write a to-do list for the items you have to do that day. You should already be prioritizing your action items by impact, so you should know the next steps that you have to take. Write them into a to-do list for only the things you can achieve TODAY. And work through them one by one. I find personally that a physical paper list or the GDU tasktracker works best, as I can cross them off and keep track of my progress.
  7. Make a list of reasons WHY you need to achieve the goals. Achieving a goal is great, but a more likely scenario is that you just forget about them and never complete them. Its common, and everyone is susceptible to this. But if you tie your goals to a reason and an emotional driving force you are far more likely to achieve them. If your mother has cancer, and you have to find a way to pay the medical bills, that’s a strong why. If you need to pay the bills for you and your family and you cant let them starve, that’s a strong why. If you want to be the best game developer ever and you’re not going to stop until you get a million downloads, that’s a strong why. Find your why.
  8. Avoid things that don’t reinforce goals, do things that reinforce goals. When you have goals that you want to achieve, but the people or things around you do not reinforce those goals, start looking for a change. Sometimes people, or distractions, or locations can be discouraging, avoid those. Instead, hang around people that support you, stay away from things that distract you.
  9. Try 333 goals. One of the techniques I’ve used over the years is to set 3 daily goals, 3 weekly goals, and 3 monthly goals. This keeps me focus, and removes that feeling of overwhelm because I always have 3 simple things that factor into the bigger vision. Anything beyond that scope is really hard to plan for. Try it! Its worked for me.



Although it is one of the hardest and least sexy things to talk about when it comes to finishing your game, consistency is extremely important. It doesn’t matter what kind of project you are working on or how long it will take, working on it consistently day after day and constantly making progress will get it finished. Finding ways to keep yourself on track is a struggle, but its doable with these tips.consistency-is-key


  1. Do it daily. Its great to pull all-nighters and go without sleep to make shit happen over a weekend, it makes a great story. But if you want to make real progress over the long haul, be the tortoise not the hare. Work on your project daily, no matter how much you do, do it every day. Even if that means you sit down and work for 10 minutes, do not miss a day. Force yourself to work through it and be consistent.
  2. Keep your streak going. When I work on my game or project daily, I’ve found that crossing out the day with an X on the calendar lets me keep track of each day I’ve done so. When I get a few X’s in a row, it makes me want to keep going because I have a streak going, and I don’t want to stare at that damn empty space on the calendar for the day I messed up. Give that a shot!
  3. Track your progress, use it to motivate you. So keeping track of the days you work is awesome, but also keeping track of the things you’ve achieved and taking a moment to let it sink in can keep you motivated on a lazy day. When I start completing things, I want to complete even more. Its a cycle, and its very motivating.
  4. Set weekly checkpoints. Checking in with yourself or your team every week is a great way to keep yourself on track and remain consistent with your goals. That’s one of the reason I love 333 goals, because it makes me check in every day, week, and month. But even if you don’t set goals like that, make sure you check in on yourself every week at the least because it is very easy to get lost in your project.
  5. If it takes too long, skip it and come back. One of the biggest barriers to being consistent is being stuck. The idea of working on something every day is great in concept, but when you hit that wall and you don’t know how to proceed, that can really clog the drain. When you hit that wall, the best thing to do is just skip it, move on to something else, and come back to it when you can. Its like taking a test in school…you don’t just stare at the math problem you cant solve, you move on and finish the rest of the test, and only if you have time do you come back. That’s how you score highly.
  6. Raise the stakes for yourself. So for myself personally, I know I always seem to hustle harder when the rent is due. Whoever you are, whatever you do, there is a way that you can raise the takes for yourself. And by doing that, you can force yourself to hustle and make shit happen where you otherwise might slack off.
  7. Surround yourself with game development. One of the best ways to stay consistent for me was always to surround myself with it. I would watch Indie Game: The Movie, I would go on YouTube and look up videos of peoples development, I would go to events like GDC and spend time with other developers. The more you surround yourself with game development the more you actually want to keep doing it.
  8. Follow the ‘DOUBLE TROUBLE’ rule. This is something I used to do a lot when I was working on bigger projects that required the slog of daily work. Working every single day sounds great, but its fking hard mannnnnn. And there will be a day you mess up and miss. Even if you think you wont, you will. That’s ok, don’t get discouraged. The ‘DOUBLE TROUBLE’ rule is basically the idea that you should never skip 2 days in a row. Its ok if you miss a day, but whatever you do, don’t miss 2 in a row. This has kept me on track and prevented me from getting off the rails when I started to slack off or life got in the way.
  9. Gamify your game dev. I know if you design games as a job, designing more games to complete the job doesn’t always sound that appealing, but hear me out. Gamifying your development process with random rewards for milestones, points and leader boards etc, you can really make something cool. I designed a game for my girlfriend and I where she could earn points by letting me work certain days, or getting things done that she needed to complete, and she could cash them in for prizes like fancy dinners. She loved it! I do something similar for keeping my games moving along. Its a little harder to do on your own, but its doable.



Ready to start developing that MMO RPG FPS you’ve always wanted to play? Don’t. Scope is one of the biggest reasons that projects don’t get finished. And that’s all projects all around the globe, not just games. But games specifically tend to have a massive scope done by inexperienced developers, and they end up trapping themselves in their ambition. Here are a few tips to avoid that trap.scope-postit

  1. Don’t set yourself up for failure. The hands down easiest way to lose yourself and give up on a project is by building something that’s too big for you to handle. By designing something with scope that is too large, it is very easy to lose sight of the project and get discouraged. In a smaller project, little things are big wins. In a bigger project, huge things don’t even make a dent in the bucket. Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to build the next MMO RPG. Start with a remake of Pacman.
  2. Scale your vision back. We all want to make that epic AAA game we dreamed up when we were a kid, but trying to make that game without the resources that some of the larger companies have can be a great way to demotivate you and discourage yourself. Whatever your vision is, scale it back to something manageable. And believe me, whatever you think is manageable, cut it in half. It will still be a tough challenge.
  3. Prototype early. Like other software, games exist to serve a purpose. That purpose for a video game is fun and entertainment, and the faster you can build that core of your game, the faster you can iterate. You want to build a prototype as early as possible because that lets you see very clearly the potential of the game. If the prototype is not fun, the final game with all of its bells and whistles will not be fun.
  4. Start small. Whatever idea you have, it can be boiled down to its essence. In the startup world, we call this an “MVP” or “Minimum Viable Product”. You should aim to build your minimum viable game. If you want to build a platformer, don’t start with the engine, build 1 fun level for people to play. Start with the smallest possible version of what you’re building, and iterate from there.
  5. Iterate often. Once you have your minimum viable game, you want to iterate on that game as quickly as possible. Adding new features, move-sets, levels, etc. Those sorts of things give you motivation boosts from completing things, and the tighter that loop is, the more you can operate on that adrenaline high. Building small and then iterating often is the #1 most motivating change I’ve made to my projects. Its keeps me going, and excites me for each new iteration.
  6. Build a game, not an engine. We’ve all had that urge to build an engine. Or when we start on the game, we get lost in building the systems and sections. But focusing on the game, the prototype, and the very first playable version is almost always a better option. Building frameworks and engines take a lot of time and are not very rewarding. Games on the other hand can get you a lot of short term wins and keep you motivated for the long haul.
  7. Multiply your estimates by 3. However long you think it takes, you’re wrong. The bigger the project, the more wrong you are. Humans suck at estimating, and whatever time you think it will take, multiply that by 3. This does 2 different things. 1) It gives you a more accurate representation of the time it will actually take you to build something. And 2) it properly sets your expectations so that you don’t get discouraged when your development takes 3 times as long as you think it should.
  8. Anticipate roadblocks. Something always goes wrong. No matter what you plan for or how much experience you have, there will always be roadblocks. And when you go into something without expecting the unexpected, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Expect for things to go wrong, and by doing that, you keep yourself motivated when they do.
  9. Avoid scope creep. Us developers are very susceptible to starting a project, and adding features as we go. The problem with that is that many times, we add features faster than we can develop them. On top of that, the features that we add were not created with an objective mind. We can get lost inside the actual game we’re developing and add features that actually do not make the game better. If you start small and iterate often, you can keep some objectivity and avoid scope creep on a major scale by focusing on only the highest-impact items on your list and working through them.
  10. Leave out awesome features. Similar to scope creep, which can have you adding bad features, you also need to leave out good features. Here’s what I mean: just because a feature or a mechanic is awesome, doesn’t mean it belongs in your game. There are lots of things to consider when you are developing your game like the heart, soul, and theme of your game. The reason this is a separate item than scope creep is simple: way too many developers don’t include awesome features as scope creep. Sometimes what you take out is just as important as what you put in, and it is important that you understand that to reduce your scope and stay motivated.



hello-im-accountableProbably one of the most underappreciated things to keep you motivated, the power of the group can help you do great things. Us humans tend to be hard on ourselves and overly critical. We also tend to quit too soon, lose objectivity and get discouraged because we feel alone. When you bring other people into the loop, it solves a lot of problems. It can help you keep motivated, it can give you the clarity you need to make the right changes, and it can keep you consistent by adding in some accountability. Here are some tips on that use the power of the group.

  1. Find an accountabillibuddy. The best thing I’ve ever done in terms of sticking to my goals and staying motivated was finding someone to hold me accountable. This can be a friend, a loved one, or anyone that you trust and you know has your back. It works best when you hold them accountable for their goals too. I call them “Accountabillibuddies”. My brother is mine, but we have a super good and encouraging relationship. Not everyone has that, and sometimes family can be very negative without intending to be. Play it by ear, but make sure you pick someone that really cares about your success.
  2. Find or start a mastermind group. A mastermind group is pretty much a collection of accountabillibuddies. Think of it like a board meeting for a bunch of people with similar goals. It helps everyone be more successful by sharing goals, keeping people on target and sharing mistakes so that no one ever has to repeat them. Most mastermind groups meet once a week or once a month, and I highly recommend them!
  3. Find a mentor, or someone that has achieved your goal. The best way to get somewhere is to find someone who’s been there and ask them how they did it. A mentor doesn’t have to be Mr. Miyagi or Morpheous. They can just as easily be your Grandpa, your favorite author, or that developer that’s already shipped a game that you love. Find someone who has done what you want to do or made a game like you want to make, and talk to them. Send them an email, tweet them, or message them on Facebook. Ask them the questions you are really curious about. You’d be surprised how happy most people will be to help.
  4. Share your goals with your friends. If you’ve got supportive friends, that rocks! Tell them your goals and hopefully they will hold you accountable and help you along your journey. Maybe you can even return the favor and become accountabillibuddies.
  5. Don’t share your goals with your friends. If you don’t have supportive friends, that sucks. But its more common than you think it is. Friends that are really truly supportive and want you to succeed rather than hold you back or get jealous are rare. It sucks to say that, but its true. If your friends would joke about your goals, or tell you to try to do something else because what you want is not practical, don’t share anything with them. Negative friends should have no place in your life.
  6. Avoid negative people or groups. We’ve all experienced what it’s like to be in a group of people that are not supportive or overly negative. In fact a lot of family members tend to be negative towards our goals without even knowing it. That’s OK…a lot of times there isn’t malicious intent there, they are just doing what they think is right for you. But only you know what’s really right for you. So if you are part of a peer group, or social media site, or family that is overly negative, you need to remove yourself from their exposure. Being around negative people is draining and it will suck your motivation out of you like a vacuum.
  7. Join relevant forums, and participate. Forums and message boards are probably one of the internet’s oldest forms of social connection, and also one of the most effective. Forums are organized by topic, which makes them great places to connect with like minded individuals. When you’re surrounded by people in the same business or hobby as you, seeing their projects can help inspire you to do more, and getting feedback can help keep you motivated to finish. Find some game development forums like gdu.io, gamedev.netindiegamer.comtigsource.com.
  8. Join relevant subreddits, and participate. Reddit is probably one of the coolest iterations of the forum or message board, and its one of the most trafficked site on the internet. Getting feedback on your game keeps you motivated, so try Feedback Friday on /r/gamedev. You can also show off your game on /r/playmygame or /r/indiegames. And you can chronicle your progress on /r/devblogs.
  9. Join relevant Facebook groups, and participate. We all check Facebook almost daily, and a great way to squeeze a little bit of extra inspiration or motivation is to see some awesome creative projects pop up in your Facebook feed. If you check Facebook in the morning like half of the population, seeing something awesome from another developer is a great way to spark your day. My favorite is the Indie Game Developers group.
  10. Join in on twitter with relevant hashtags. If you prefer to Tweet instead of update your status, using the right hashtags will make sure you can keep your inspiration up by seeing some awesome projects, or get motivated by tweeting your own. My favorite hashtags are #gamedev #indiegamedev and #indiegames.
  11. Contribute to others. So I’ve listed a bunch of places for you to post your game, get feedback, and get inspired by other peoples contributions, but actually contributing is important too. By helping others, you not only increase the likelihood that they will help you, but it is also encouraging to watch other developers progress and build a relationship over time.
  12. Ask for help when you need it. Probably the opposite of contributing to others, asking for help or just venting your frustration or your feelings can be a great way to stay on track. Telling someone that you’re struggling and getting the help you need can be a great way to keep your spirits up, but its also necessary for your sanity long term.



motivation-from-groupThe vast majority of things that make us quit and lose motivation tend to be inside our own heads. Your own personal psychology and how you deal with things  plays a major role in the outcome of those events and how you react to them. There are a number of things you can do to help your mood, elevate your state, or just keep your brain a little happier and healthier. Here are some tips to stay motivated with psychology.

  1. Revisit your ‘WHY’. If you wrote down your goals and your list of reasons why you want to achieve those goals, congratulations. But revisiting the reasons why you want to accomplish those things can be very powerful. If there is a deep emotional feeling tied to a goal of yours, and you make conscious effort to revisit those things consistently it can tune your brain and motivate you. For me this works extremely well, and I would highly recommend it.
  2. Focus on positives, not negatives. This seems like one of those generic points that you see on blog posts sometimes just telling you to be more positive. But I’ve found that this piece of advice has significantly improved my mood, and therefore motivated me far more often to get things done. Shit happens in life, but playing the victim never gets anyone anywhere. Always try to find the positive side to things when you can. Did you lose 8 hours worth of work while coding? Well at least that means you get to re-code it better. Do players hate your amazing new mechanic? Now you get to design a new one! You get the idea.
  3. Associate work with something you love. I happen to be a huge fan of movies. SciFi movies with spaceships specifically get me all giddy. So when I started working on my space rougelike, every time I would sit down to work on it, I would play my favorite movies and TV shows from that genre, non stop. These movies and shows that I so dearly loved over time became associated in my brain with working on this game, and this allowed me to think positively and get excited to work on it. That game was a LOT of work, and doing that really helped me along more than one of the programming slogs I faced.
  4. Plan your down time. Developers in particular seem to pride themselves on all-nighters or marathon weekends. Crunch time is a popular thing in this industry. But planning down time as part of getting things done is actually extremely rewarding. I find personally that taking a day off in the middle of the week for me to not stress and go out and do things I love is a fantastic way to stay motivated and keep my eyes on the goal. If you don’t plan your down time, you may skip it. If you skip it, you can burn yourself out…and that takes a lot to recover from.
  5. Don’t be abusive to yourself. When humans set goals, start large projects, and have a series of things they have to do daily…it can suck hard when we mess up. But one thing you shouldnt do is abuse yourself and talk negatively to your brain. This can add in feelings of guilt, it can cause stress, and it can actually demotivate you to start again. Love yourself, and whatever your inner monologue says, make sure its positive.
  6. Keep a ‘gratitude list’ for accomplishments. This is one of my personal favorite things because it has really helped me when I was struggling with my self worth, always looking at myself as a failure. By keeping a list of cool things that I’ve achieved, and things that im gracious to have achieved, it helped me stay my ground when I was feeling negative. When I would have a huge setback or I would feel like a failure, I would look at that list and it would help me remember that I have actually done some cool shit in my life. Try it!
  7. Treat finishing like a feature. This probably goes under general game development advice, but it can definitely make sure that you keep yourself motivated if you do it right. By treating the release of your game like a feature that you have to implement, it changes how you perceive what needs to be done and whats important. I have way too many stories of indie games that are in the dev cycle of doom and never get finished. Instead, implement finishing the game as if it is the most important feature.
  8. Turn off media/news/negativity. This kind of goes alone with focusing on positives, but it is its own separate beast because I don’t think that many people consider their media or news source as negotiable. Well, I’ve got news for you. The news sucks. Its full of negative, horrible, shitty things that humans do to each other, and it is engineered to create fear and stress because that’s what drives up the views, which makes them more money. So what the hell does news have to do with making games? Well its simple, the more fear and stress you have (negative emotions) the less room there is for inspiration and creativity (positive emotions). For me personally, not watching the news or consuming traditional media has been a godsend.
  9. Reward yourself, but not against your goal. This also goes along with gamification of your process and allowing yourself to feel that sense of accomplishment for achieving something, but it is under the psychological category for a reason. The human brain is wired to seek out rewards. Specifically, randomized rewards produce the most dopamine (the feel-good chemical) in our brains. When you know psychologically that a reward is coming, the anticipation of a reward is a great boost to motivation.
  10. Celebrate accomplishments, big or small. If you’ve set goals or milestones, when you complete those things, do not just skim over them and continue. Actually take the time to bask in your completion glory. Celebrate the thing you did either out in the real world or simply inside your mind. Make a conscious effort to recognize how much work it took to get there, understand how awesome you are for doing it, and then pat yourself on the back for a job well done. These dinky little mental celebrations may sound cheesy, but for me they’ve been super effective in maintaining my motivation over extremely large projects.



You may only use your brain and your fingers to make a video game, but your body is the machine that keeps those things alive.  Taking the time to take proper care of your body can go a long way for your consistency, motivation, and ability to actually get things done. I’ve listed a lot of things that have helped me over the years to improve my mood and stay motivated on my projects. Here are some physical tips to help you keep working.eliminate-distractions

  1. Get organized. A messy desk is a messy mind. If you’re like me, its really easy for things to just start piling up on your desk, and before you know it you live in a zoo full of stuff you don’t know what to do with. Don’t do that. Studies show that having a clean and organized desk leads to an increase in productivity. It allows you to think clearer and feel better about the place you spend a ton of time.
  2. Eliminate distractions. Facebook. Twitter. Reddit. YouTube. Emails. Phone notifications. Do I really need to describe this any more? Things that ding and distract you from the task at hand are EXTREMELY bad for being productive. In every field, but SPECIFICALLY in programming, getting interrupted can cause you to waste as much as 15 minutes trying to get back into the zone and finish up what you were working on. And that doesn’t include all the time you actually spent being distracted in the first place. The more time you spend away from your task or outside of the zone, the less you get done. The less you get done, the more likely you are to get discouraged and give up.
  3. Get some exercise. Physical exercise is a great way to clear your head and get yourself ready to actually be productive. I know this sounds like weird advice coming from a fat dude, but even I have to admit that it absolutely helps not only my productivity, but also my mood, my clarity, and my creativity. Whenever I come back from the gym I feel like I’m ready to do more, not less.
  4. Eat well. I know the stereotypical game developer drinks Mountain Dew and eats Ramen, Hot Pockets, and Doritos. But eating good quality food with an array of nutrients can do wonders for how you think and how you feel. My brother is a nutritionist and fitness specialist, and every time I hang with him and eat what he eats its like night and day. Its a struggle to stay away from sugary drinks and fast food, but I have noticed a significant energy boost and mood elevation when I eat right for a few days.
  5. Create visual reminders. The weirdest yet most effective thing I’ve ever done to keep myself motivated was this: I bought a wrist band, I took a ton of mental effort and assigned my goal of completing a game to it, and then I wore that wrist band 24/7. Every time I would see it or touch it, I would be reminded that I needed to finish a game. Every time someone would ask about it, I would tell them what it meant. I got this idea from the old “string around your finger” method to remind yourself of things, but it seemed to work really well as a motivational tool.
  6. Break routines every once in a while. So most information that you read about being consistent and productive over the long haul will tell you to get into a routine. And I think routines and consistency are great, but game developers are a different beast, and they tend to pour their heart and soul into their project and forget about the real world. Sometimes, waking up on a Tuesday and blowing everything off to go to the beach is a good idea, despite how bad it sounds. Breaking up your routine for a little variety goes a long way. The more boring you perceive your life, the better this works.
  7. Read lots of motivational material. Every morning I start my day on motivational subreddits or blogs, and it has had a tremendous effect on the way I carry myself through the day. See it turns out that when you first wake up, your conscious brain isn’t fully in control. The first 30 minutes of the day, your brain retains and soaks in far more information without your conscious brain rejecting or filtering the things you don’t like. And what do most people do in their first 30 minutes? They open their phone and read about their friends negativity on Facebook, or they turn on the TV and hear about how there was a murder 2,000 miles away. These things do not add any value to your life, but they also can set your mood for the day if you’re not careful. Filling that time with motivational and positive material has the opposite effect, and I highly recommend it.
  8. Change up your surroundings. I have a kick ass desk, with multiple monitors, an epic desktop, and every accessory you could need to make games. But I still finding myself going to Panera or Starbucks every once in a while to work on my laptop. Sometimes just changing your scenery helps you get things done and keep motivated. I’m not quite sure why this works, but I know for me personally some days I just want to be somewhere else, and I’m almost always more productive when I follow through with that.
  9. Listen to music. I know, “DUHH” right? But you’d be surprised how many people don’t take advantage of this beautiful medium to help them get through their work. Most people tend to use music to amplify their feelings. If they are sad for example, they put some sad Taylor Swift on and cry in bed. If they’re happy, they put on some upbeat pop, rock or EDM and dance. Personally, I like to organize my music by mood like others do, except I use that music to get into that mood, not amplify my current mood. For example, some days I don’t feel like doing shit on my project. But by putting on some fast paced and upbeat music, I find that I can ease myself into the productive mood, because that is the music I listen to when I’m productive.
  10. Meditate. I know, this sounds like some woo-woo mystical bullshit, but hear me out here. At first I thought meditating was stupid and that it was for Yoga chicks and hippies. But after opening my mind and actually trying it, it became something I do almost daily. When you meditate properly, you clear your mind. Your mind is a lot messier than you think it is, and days and days of messiness is like keeping your computer on for months without rebooting…some shit just starts to get weird. Meditation allows you to clear your mind, get some clarity and see things from a different perspective. This is awesome for creativity, but it also helps keep you on track for your goals. Especially when you pair it with things like writing out your goals every day and going over your why.


Conclusion – Just do it.

I just gave you 60+ tips on how to stay motivated and finish your game. The next time you think about quitting one of your projects and giving in to that dark side of game development, read over this post, and imagine me staring at you with a mean face.

Its weird, but out of everything I’ve written here, all of it still boils down to one concept: just do it. Nike may have the best slogan of all time, because it is so true for so many different fields. When you don’t feel like working, just do it. When you feel like stopping instead of getting it done, just do it. Don’t quit, keep working, and you’ll get there.


Did I miss anything? Leave a comment below if you have a suggestion about something to add or any questions!

Tim Ruswick

Tim Ruswick is the founder of Game Dev Underground and the author of the Game-Maker's Manifesto.

  • What is something that keeps *YOU* motivated and on task?

  • Kuba Poliszuk

    @gamedevunderground:disqus Playable game of course :D! When you see something in what you can play, even if this game haven’t any sense right now is really motivating 😉

    • True dat! Getting to the playable game as fast as you can is super important. If you work for too long with nothing to show it can be demotivating. Good point dude!

  • Armaan Sandhu

    Awesome post, thank you! Just about to get started with really working on my game after working on it in spots for the past 6 months, and this should keep me on track!

    • Glad to help man! This stuff has def helped me.