The #1 Biggest Roadblock For Indie Game Developers
Today we are going to talk about the number one indie game development mistake that I see happening everywhere. Seriously, this has been the number one thing that has held me back in every way possible in my game development. It’s held me back in life and in business. It’s held me back in so many different ways, because it has prevented me from doing the things required to make a game, make it successful, and actually improve it. And the thing that I want to talk about, the number one biggest handicap that I see, the biggest problem for game developers—Did I play it up enough?
The biggest handicap that I see game developers have, is the fact that they think they have a handicap. That’s it. When people think that they cannot do something, guess what? They can’t. I have, for so many years, just for whatever reason, thought that I wasn’t capable of doing something. And when your brain does that, like, “Oh should I make a game? Oh wait, but I can’t.” When your brain shuts you down like that, in that split second, you are single-handedly altering the course of your life, of your game, of your projects, of everything. If you tell that to yourself, that you can’t do something, it’s gone forever. That thing that you would have created in an alternate timeline has just disappeared. It’s never going to exist. Because you never made it.
This is something with which I have really struggled, and I’ve mentioned this in previous articles. When I started my YouTube channel, I didn’t know anything about it. I’ve worked with cameras and video for some time and I’d always thought that I wanted to make cool videos, like some of the cool people on YouTube. But I didn’t know how they did them.
When my brain says, “Oh but you can’t do that”, I just don’t try. And for a while, when I started the channel, I stuck to whiteboard format, because that was something that I knew how to do. And I didn’t even try anything else, because my brain kept telling me: No you can’t do.
I did this in video games with procedural generation. For the longest time, I wanted to make a game that was generated randomly. I would play different games like FTL, Out There, and a couple of other titles that I loved. And every time I think about, “Oh should I make a procedure generating game?” I’d just be like, “But you can’t, dammit, you can’t make it.” For me, that just seemed perfectly normal.
I would just tell myself, “Oh, I would make that if I knew how to”, and I just made these excuses to myself, like there was some valid reason that I couldn’t do something. I’ve learned a lot of stuff from Google, and everything I know, I’ve taught myself. I’ve learned from people and from the internet. But for very specific things, especially specialized things that I don’t feel that that outsiders can learn easily, I just I shut myself off from. And it has really impacted my life to a point where there are so many things that I think I could have created by now that I didn’t, because I thought that I couldn’t.
This is why I say that that mindset is the biggest handicap of people in general, not just indie game developers—but especially with indie game developers, because they’re artists and they like to create. Anybody that has an artistic creative side about them wants to create things. Falling into the trap of thinking that there are others better than I am and using that as an excuse for not doing something, indicates very low self-esteem and self-worth. I see it a lot in other people. I see it a lot in myself, but it took me a while to realize it. One of the ways that I used to overcome that mental barrier of, “I can’t” is— I just adapted a mindset of, “Yes I can.”
And rather than asking, “Can I do this?” because then my brain would respond with, “Yes or No”, I would ask, “How can I do this?” and then my brain would start working on solutions on how to do these different things. I noticed that by switching what I asked from “Can I” to “How can I” (I think I read about this in psychology journal or something like that), was a great technique and it really helped my effectiveness in how I did things, at how I thought of myself when I would perform new tasks. It really changed the way my mind worked because now, it’s no longer a question of whether or not I can do it, but it’s like HOW am I going to do it.
When people talk to me, whether they be my family or friends or whatever, I think it comes to a point where it’s annoying. Because no matter what they say, I call them on a bullshit, like, “No, you CAN do it, you DON’T want to do it.” You can do it but you’re making an excuse. Everything is possible. Anything you can think of you can do. There has been so many achievements by so many great people in technology alone in the last 10years. Our society is in the middle of a drastic shift. It’s a technological innovation age. The Internet has only been around for 30-some years. That’s insane!
It’s insane because this groundbreaking technology, the internet, is rapidly changing the way the whole entire world works. And if you think for one second, with all of the knowledge known to man at your fingertips, that you can’t do something, you’re mistaken. There’s nothing you can’t do. When it comes to games, you are not limited by how big your physical community is anymore. On the net, there are millions of game developers out there to talk to.
The game industry is bigger than movies and music combined. You can find so many people to connect with, share your things with, you can help support other developers, and they can help support you. You can help each other get through that rut of thinking that you can’t do something, because you can. Trust me, YOU CAN. This is coming from a dude that dropped out of college, that nobody thought was going anywhere. My whole life has been a series of doing things that other people thought I couldn’t do, that I didn’t think I could do.
I fought through that barrier that has held me back for a long time. I hope that I inspired you to do the same. Because when I see someone that doesn’t think they can do something, it kills me, especially in a creative and artistic field like game development because we may never see that person’s game, that person’s creation, if they just don’t create it. And I think the game industry NEEDS more beautiful indie games from you lovely people.
That’s my message for today. Please leave a comment below and just share your thoughts on this.