motivation Posts

The Zombie Project Effect: How to Succeed By Quitting

The Zombie Project Effect: How to Succeed By Quitting

If you ask any developer about their zombie projects, they will instantly know what you mean. And not just in game development either, its a common thing with creators across the planet. Every person that has the ability to create things from the ground up invariably wants to create as many things as they can. It’s almost hard wired in our brains to seek out the fun parts of creation. The discovery, the experimentation, the planning. It’s a blast to sit down and prototype, or just get a bunch of ideas together and create the begining framework of something awesome.

But with game development specifically, “zombie projects” are a different beast, because it is so freaking easy to start a game these days, and yet it is so damn hard to finish one. And finishing is hard enough, but its difficulty gets magnified when you keep on starting.

And  dude…I’m not judging. I’m talking from experience here. And I’m going to share with you how I overcame this very problem.

The Deep Dark Cave of Game Development Depression (and How to Dig Yourself Out!)

The Deep Dark Cave of Game Development Depression (and How to Dig Yourself Out!)

Depression is one of those things that doesn’t really get talked about. But I’m going to talk about it. Because depression can destroy lives. It can mentally and physically destroy people. And worst of all, it can destroy dreams. I almost let it destroy mine.

Since I was little I always wanted to make games. It started with Halo, but after that I would get inspired by lots of other games. I always wanted to make myself, but no matter what I did it seemed like I couldn’t quite get there. This feeling of discouragement made me quit on my dream to actually make games, and it led to a life of me joining the business and marketing world.

I remember waking up one day, and I realized that years had gone by, and this thing I had always wanted to do, I wasn’t even trying to do anymore. The games that I always wanted to make were buried away years ago in old notebooks I hadn’t even touched. And my life became a constant blur of things I hated.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Developers

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Developers

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with some amazing developers over the past couple of years. I got to watch in the shadows when I consulted with game companies, I got to work side by side with them when I developed web platforms, and I got to observe them when they worked for me. Being a developer myself, I’m always looking for the opportunity to learn something from someone, so I’ve paid keen attention to the things the guys I admired said and did.

Being a developer is one of those things you can never really be perfect at. There’s always more to learn and there’s always a next step. So as I was looking through my notes recently to review them as I do often, I found a list of things I had written down during that period of my life that could help me improve. After reading through them, I realized this list of commonalities goes way beyond just me, and I decided to share them. Here are what I call the 7 habits of highly effective developers.

 

Game Development: What To Do When You Have No Idea What To Do

Game Development: What To Do When You Have No Idea What To Do

I was staring at my computer screen like a senile old man stares into space. I was clearly looking at something, yet my focus was not present. I was lost in my head, thoughts and ideas racing past me like a cat that just saw a cucumber.

I had no idea what to do.

I was in the middle of this massive project. So many pieces, so many things to do…yet I had no idea where to begin. It started out great. I just jumped in and worked on the fun parts. But all the fun parts were done, and now I was dealing with the aftermath of getting slapped in the face with the big fat fist of reality. My project was bigger than my head could handle at this point, and it was driving me psycho. My brain felt like it was ruining my life, like a deranged vault dweller with a Fatman.

This had to stop.

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.

 

Why Being Broke And Having No Budget Is Great For Making Video Games

Why Being Broke And Having No Budget Is Great For Making Video Games

I remember it like it was yesterday. My bank account notified me that my balance was at $0.15 the same day that I had gotten an email about my largest client pulling my biggest project. In an instant, the  majority of my income went down the drain. Good times.

Now had I let that stop me and make me quit working on things I loved, I never would have learned a few extremely valuable lessons.

I’m not gonna lie, that winter was ruff. It was right around the holidays, and I was visiting friends and family at the time. But I got through it, and I kept working on my projects. And the things I learned that winter will be with me for the rest of my life. And lucky me, I get to share them now with you. Here are the 3 things I learned about why being broke is surprisingly awesome for making games.

Passion Does Not Equal Unlimited Motivation

Passion Does Not Equal Unlimited Motivation

People always told me that if I found something I was passionate about, I’d never work a day in my life. “Do what you love” they said. “Follow your passion” they said. After all, how bad could it be? I had found something I loved to my core; what could go wrong with diving head first into it and trying to turn my passion into a full time job?

It seemed pretty harmless, so that’s what I did. I worked non stop at what I loved for months going on years. I surrounded myself with what I loved and I lived and breathed my passion…