On Stuckness, Cheerleaders, and Mentors

The last couple of weeks have been a bit rough on the Guys! Stop Pressing Buttons! front. Apart from the existential crisis regarding the name, I’ve hit this point where the more I hash out the concept in my design document (like a real developer omg! :|), the less I like the game. Every time I hit a problem, my thoughts immediately stray toward my backlog of other game ideas. They’re all better ideas, after all! None of them have any problems that I’ve found yet because I haven’t worked on them!

It’s been during this time that I’ve discovered just how valuable it is to have a circle of peer support. Within seconds of tweeting about the trouble I was having with the design and how I wanted to give up, I had encouraging rebuttals coming in.

Nothing helps your motivation better than knowing it’s perfectly normal to lose it!

These tweets were just the beginning. The words of support poured in for hours after that, and I even got a phone call from Tim at Final Form, who was in his usual pep-talky mood. I’m extremely lucky to be able to count him and the other Final Formers as friends and mentors, and luckier still to have such a network of friends to cheer me on when I feel like quitting.

You can’t work in a vacuum. You can’t suffer silently. I forget way too often that games are by nature a highly social animal. Working on design documentation is well and good, but it keeps you from getting feedback. It isolates you into this nasty little bubble of pain that you can only escape by letting others into it. As Tim told me, game development is a cycle of designing, implementing, playtesting, and designing again. Hypothesis becomes experiment becomes theory becomes new hypothesis. The last two weeks, I’ve done nothing but hypothesize. No wonder I’ve felt stuck!

So today I open Unity and Blender back up and start building again. Hopefully I’ll have something to show next week!

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