Keeping up constant motivation when developing games as an indie developer can be one of the hardest tasks you come across. There are endless reasons behind this and you may have to tackle many obstacles and challenges along the way. You could start out small but may end up working on a product for long arduous hours and not realize until you are burnt out and ready to call it quits.
Now don’t get me wrong: the purpose of this article is not to freak you out and scare you away from getting into the industry, but one must be truthful about it. After all you won’t be alone even if you are a one-man team. The indie development community is fairly big and everyone is sharing their techniques or ideas and you are never short of having a branch to hold onto if you ever get stuck or need a break from climbing.
You never want to slump into a state where you feel you are forcing yourself to work. If you really want to develop games but feel things are tough and don’t seem right, then you must find a way to fix that. Over time, your motivation to keep going may dry up due to the reality of the industry, as it can be severely tough. The way to mend this is to fix a few things. Not by changing you as a developer but how you approach developing with your methods and tweak your process.
Analyzing Your Situation
Some questions you may want to ask yourself in relation to your situation may help you realign your focus as a developer.
- Do I want to keep doing what I am doing today?
- What do I find enjoyable about developing games?
- Where can I improve in my process that can help accomplish development goals?
- Where do I see myself in three years?
Answering this questions will help give yourself some insight and remind you about what is important about developing. That is of course if developing games is something you are sure you want to do.
Staying positive is important and is key to helping your succeed. Try your best to avoid blocking yourself out from everything. For example, opening yourself up to the community, interacting with other people, and sharing your experience. People prefer to communicate with those who are positive.
A negative person might think of the following things, which I will follow up with likely solutions.
- The thought of getting motivated and then letting that motivation slide immediately after.
Look at previous work you have done and see if you have improved. Also, show what you have worked on to others to get other opinions on it.
- I find that keeping flexible hours open is too difficult.
Adjust your schedule, understand your priorities, and format each day before it comes, making sure you have allotted time you can agree on before hand.
- I have a family to juggle with developing games.
Talk with your partner and understand where you are needed. Maybe when you are developing your partner can watch over your children, and you can take over when they want some time to themselves. This will depend on many different variables, but the key takeaway is to open up the lines of communication and try to compromise—on both ends.
- Denial of ability. Doubting every decision.
“Should I improve my skill level? Making work on something easier?” You could possibly take a few steps back and pace yourself slower, figuring out where you might be able to approach things in a more agreeable way.
Holding onto Passion
Something I should mention too which may be hard for some: Developing games can be a career for some—most turn it into a career for themselves if they are able to bring a product for the market. What you need to grasp and never let go of is a passion for what you are doing.
Time and time again I see developers within larger companies lack passion for the games they make. It’s not just a bad thing for their own motivation, as they will burn out very quickly, but it will also affect their games too. Many players will notice this in a developers work almost straight away. However it doesn’t happen all the time, you can still work your way up to large companies and still hold onto that passion. If you end up losing that passion for your work, it will become instantly detrimental for you though at that level in the industry.
As an independent developer, make this a strength as early on as possible. Make sure you have a passion for what you do, that you enjoy creating games and want to aim to succeed even if it initially seems unlikely.
Always look for a positive outcome throughout your ventures. Try to avoid negativity, but never force your positivity. Make sure your reasons for developing games and enjoying that work are valid. Forcing yourself though this industry will only become a burden over time and essentially, it’s like digging a hole into the ground that will be harder and harder to get out of as you go along. Understanding that you have a passion for what you are doing is what will automatically drive you to complete development goals and work longer hours. Good luck!