How to get excited to make games again

mishakoc

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I want to thank you for any suggestions, however obvious or minor they might seem to you, they are helpful.
Feel free to skip to the end. I wanted to put the paragraph below in a spoiler but it wouldn't let me for some reason.

I haven't worked on my game for a very long time. I've been dealing with some mental health issues that took every joy out of my life and I didn't feel like I deserved to be happy or do things that were fun. Working on my game was a big hobby of mine for a few years. I spent any moment I could working on it, even though I was distracted a lot by the forums, shiny tilesets, and cool plugins and didn't really have a clear idea and plan of what I needed to do. It used to be a lot of fun, something I was excited about, something I looked forward to every day and it just... made sense to make games. But it doesn't make sense now.
I stopped working on it not because I lost interest but because I felt I didn't quite deserve to make games and be happy anymore because I was a useless person, even though it might seem silly to some. I tried to get back to it several times during the past year but it either sucked me in in such a way that I forgot about eating, sleeping, and everything else I needed to do so I forced myself to stop because I knew I shouldn't ignore what was happening "IRL". Or I had a hard time getting excited about it again because I felt like I shouldn't be doing it.
I would really like to start working on games again. I just can't give up. I tried many times to give up on it, I wanted to delete everything because I couldn't deal with wanting to but not being able to do it. I felt like the idea of possibly making games again sometime in the future was the only light at the end of the tunnel but it just became smaller and smaller as I went."

I'd like to ask you for some easy ways to get that spark going again if you can think of any or any other advice you think might be helpful in such a situation. Have you gone/are going through some mental road bumps like that and have any insights? If you haven't, what is it about game-making that makes you so excited? Especially the small things?

It means a lot to me. Thank you. :kaocry:
 

SamuelRichards

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Maybe you should go to a psychologist, or better pull yourself together. Life is one and you need to live it the way you like it, stop devaluing yourself and your activities, you deserve to be happy, so do what really brings you joy and happiness.
 

SigmaSuccour

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The answer is partially in your post:

"I tried to get back to it several times during the past year but it either sucked me in in such a way that I forgot about eating, sleeping, and everything else I needed to do..."

1st suggestion: You stop eating. Stop doing anything else that you find 'fun'. (Stop anything that could give you a hit of dopamine.)
If making game is the only 'fun' thing you do, you won't have any blocks. You'll be able to do it non-stop, without getting tired.

I eat once a day, or once every two days. (I do drink a lot of water.)
I've stopped watching movies, anime, or playing games. All I do, is game making.
I wake up every day, only to want to get back to making games.

2nd suggestion: Stop thinking, and start doing. Open RPG Maker, and say to yourself "Here goes nothing." and start doing whatever. Thoughts and ideas come after you start, not before.

To conclude: stay bored and hungry, and game making will be easier.
And do more, think less.
 

Fauxworks

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I took a three month break and all the inspiration came back full swing! More doing less thinking
 

mlogan

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I've moved this thread to General Discussion. Please be sure to post your threads in the correct forum next time. Thank you.


General Lounge is for topics not related to game dev.
 

Marquise*

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I feel you, I got parasites, illness, flood, fire, kitty health, poverty, computer troubles, anxieties, heater and plumber, renovations, cops, neighbors, depression, exterminators, debt, unemployement problems for a period of 6 years and 3 of them was kinda between sucked bone dry by bedbugs invasion waves, exterminators breaking my life/equipment and having to bug out of my place each 3 weeks with two cats, my respirator and my cane under the arm with almost no winter clothes.

Let say, I am trying to recoup it and the best I can do is sporadically create resources/assets for others games, art therapy, and orient that slowly into bits of my own stuff. When we are in a down like that for any reason in life, we feel bad about not doing things, it makes us doing less things because it take the space of other things to do, we get anxious about doing things when we try, and it gets into a very downward repetitive looping spiral to break and it is hard to do so.

I stay logged here and read the events knowing I have 6 years backlog in my life and more important things to do and my Steam contact list is almost 80% consisting of RPGMaker contacts. I try to remember that the best things in life we also can learn trough gaming. This is where the "role" is important in "role-playing", what are most boss doing in their interview? Put their candidates trough a test that is usually a picture yourself in that situation? What do you do? While you are not working there yet, you have to already put yourself into an employee role and the most you learned to improv on the spot, the better you get at this and role-playing helps. Gaming also is helpful at keeping the brains younger, keeping peoples together, helping art and culture as well as practicing skills (In and outside computers). So, peoples needs us. Peoples dearly need you, to stay entertained, connected, healthy in some manner or another, make games like never because the world now in lock-down needs your game more than ever!
 

HawkZombie

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1st suggestion: You stop eating. Stop doing anything else that you find 'fun'. (Stop anything that could give you a hit of dopamine.)
If making game is the only 'fun' thing you do, you won't have any blocks. You'll be able to do it non-stop, without getting tired.

I eat once a day, or once every two days. (I do drink a lot of water.)
I've stopped watching movies, anime, or playing games. All I do, is game making.
I wake up every day, only to want to get back to making games.

I....huh?

If I'm reading this correctly, you are advising them to stop anything else that brings them joy and ONLY focus on game making for that hit of dopamine.

Sigma, I love the work you do, but wow is this awful advice.

Absolutely do NOT stop doing things you enjoy. If you only get happiness from one thing in life, you'll come to resent it when it starts to bring you less joy than it had before. It's the same reason they tell you to never base your happiness solely on relationships or other people. When things get rough or rocky, you'll begin to fill with resentment.

Go out and enjoy the world. Watch movies. Play games. Read books/comic books. Enjoy things! They're a huge source of inspiration. And while motivation may be fleeting (a pain I know all too well) if you're only using one thing for the source of ALL your happiness, it's going to be a hollow and shallow life.

Oh, and music. I love listening to music while I write.
 

Mythmaker19

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yeah, I would recommend HawkZombie's advice. Perhaps taking a small break from RPGM if it seems overwhelming wouldn't be the worst thing you can do for yourself.

find a group of people who are willing to support you. there are a lot of avenues you could try: through gaming, discord, family or friends, what have you. if no one knows you're struggling, you're on your own, and you've done a very difficult and brave thing in asking for help here on the forums and there are people who want to help, so don't feel alone.

read, draw/paint, write out your feelings, scream into a pillow to vent out some frustration. hell, even doing nothing but standing on your porch and getting a little bit of fresh air is a great start. I know working up the motivation to do things is awfully difficult when nothing seems fun in the first place, but doing it poorly (or in this case even just for a few minutes at a time) is better than not doing it at all.

I would not recommend you put aside taking care of yourself. if your body is miserable, you'll be miserable.
 

Marquise*

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(been ninjaed while reacting @HawkZombie reacting @SigmaSuccour )

I really was wondering if my dyslexia and french upbringing made me understand that post allll wrong as even thinking just of the end result, we all need fuel to go and... erm... at the age I do have now, I know the bloody complications of not eating in the future. My thyroid was already trashed as a toddler, I am happy to still can use what's left with medication but I must eat each 4 hours. My 3 weeks with no money/no food in life must had drastically impaired it and you don't want to be there when my body gets a lack of food panic attack.

What is doable is the "carrot" process I developed while in the cartoon industry.
It comes from that old trick to keep a donkey moving; get a long stick, tie a carrot to a rope and to it, get on your chariot and let the carrot dangle in the front of the donkey in order for the donkey to pull the chariot. It is not best, but my solution was to set a goal for the morning, breakfeast, make lunch with a treat or the lunch being a treat (I got a very refine taste as well as the opposite, so I can switch spartiate/junk to bagel with fromage à la crème, with câpres, onions and smoked salmon) and while sat at my post, get the treat on the top side of my computer/animator table/lab set and not touch the smelling tantalizing treat until my morning workload is over, if I passed the mark it is pause snack early, if I missed the mark it is half bagel treat. In the end, clients, boss and mini-bosses caught on to that and treated me or bonused me with Pepsi can on the spot or DVD full series on the spot. They knew I would probably overtime on some tasks. So for evening shift, well it is as usual off normal job, go home and crash in front of TV or computer with your TV diner LOL or play with the cats. But in almost everyone's case here, I guess a 4 hours a day is swell enough. ^^

And BTW, in the end the donkey always gets the carrot! (Unless the chariot rider is a j**k!)
 

Matseb2611

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Honestly, I think the first thing that would really help you is to start figuring out why you believe that you don't deserve happiness. I don't think you've done anything wrong to others in order to be undeserving of happiness. So the first thing is to start loving yourself, and I don't mean that in some egoistical, narcissistic manner, but in a healthy manner of loving and respecting yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. It can be hard to do this on your own, so reaching out and socialising with people close to you (family and friends you can trust) is perhaps the best way.

The thing with depression is that it's a downward spiral, with your empty feeling causing you to care less for yourself, which in turn makes you feel worse, and so on. The trick with that is to do the opposite, to break the loop. It is very hard to overcome that barrier at first, but over time once you gain momentum, it gets easier and easier.

Definitely take care of all your physical needs first. That means a good night's sleep (7 - 8 hours), eating proper meals 3 times a day (not just snacks), socialising with someone in person, and some physical activity even if it's just a walk outside. If you don't take care of physical needs, your mental wellbeing will also be worse. Our body's physical and mental states are linked. When we don't eat well enough, we feel cranky and irritable. When we don't sleep enough, we feel not only cranky and irritable but also unable to focus and any negative experience causes a stronger impact on our mental health.

Just to reinforce this point about physical health, do check out Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs if you get a chance. We have certain needs, and the more basic those needs are, the more of our attention they are going to occupy if unfulfilled, meaning it becomes harder to reach higher needs. So we first have to take care of physiological needs (air, water, food, sleep, health), then safety needs (shelter, money, protection from crime), then social needs (love, family, friends), then achievement needs (career, education, etc), and finally we can reach self-actualisation (creativity, morality, knowledge, etc). So, do make sure that your first two tiers of needs (physiological and safety needs) are satisfied, or else it will become too much of a drain on your attention and emotional energy.

Another important thing is to have a sense of purpose. Without purpose, days start to blend together and life feels meaningless. Ask yourself - what is it that you want to achieve, what do you expect to happen for you to have a happier life, and how can game-making help you with this? Perhaps there is a game idea that you really want to turn into reality. Keep thinking about this idea, keep imagining how it would turn out, develop it and make it grow, and it will fill you with energy and drive to want to make it. It will get to a point where it's not you making the game, but rather the game is making itself through you.

What could help perhaps is getting friendly with a few people on here who are also currently working on a game project, and discuss the progress you made on your games with them and let them talk about their progress with you. You can even bounce ideas off each other if you like. When you have someone to talk to about your ideas, it can make it feel more inspirational and worth it. Even just one person supporting you can make a big difference, and you in turn can be that person for them. You can do it on the Monthly Progress Thread as some people do, although doing these discussions more privately as 1 on 1 or in a small group would feel even more personal.

Anyways, sorry for a wall of text. I hope at least some of it helps. :)
 

Nightblade50

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I'll make some more comments that I hope will help you battle depression, which it seems like you probably have.

I recommend constructively venting about your problems, not just hiding them. Try keeping a diary or something like that.

I'd also recommend setting attainable goals, doing one small thing, then another.

Don't listen to the negative irrational voice in your head; use logic as a weapon.

Be sure to reward yourself for a job you've done well. You could celebrate when you've done a goal properly.

Create a routine, and find what you like doing most. If that's RPG Maker, great, if not, that's totally fine. Maybe listen to music, which can be really good for battling depression. Spend time in nature. Just try something new entirely.

Exercise and physical activity can possibly be powerful fighters of depression, but studies appear a little mixed on this issue. Be sure you're getting enough sleep, too.

And finally, you could consider clinical treatment. You could talk to a professional therapist; they might be able to help.
 

CleanWater

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I'm not psychologist, but if I'm not wrong, it clearly seems to me that you are fatigued.

I had this problem too. I was working so hard on my projects I was even didn't sleeping at night to finish something or other on my projects. I was also dealing with a lot of stress on that time because I literally lived of games and had no other possible job to do, had some fake friends around "helping" me out and a lot of other personal problems to deal with.

Then something happened, it's hard to put it into words, but imagine a big explosion destroying everything around you, including yourself, but you managed to barely survived it. In a figured manner, it was what happened to me and I was forced to stop. I didn't worked into anything related to game development for over one year. Some problems I managed to solve, others not. But now I'm back to the scene and refreshed.

My personal advice...

1 - DRINK WELL, EAT WELL, REST WELL, DO PHYSICAL EXERCISES WELL
2 - Have fun, enjoy your free time doing things you like
3 - Find some other hobby to do

Sooner or later you will find the will to come back developing games.


:MV1:
 

orochi2k

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Have a cat or dog.
Try to teach the cat or dog to make games by making the games by yourself as an example.

OK...this may not be the best idea as the cat can get bored and decide to take the keyboard/monitor/mouse as hostage
 

Kyuukon

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@SigmaSuccour Damn. That's what I call HARDCORE xD

OT: Definitely take care of your mental/physical needs (that includes proper sleep/diet lol). The key is balance (for as cliche as that may sound).
I don't think you really want to give up on making games (else you wouldn't have posted this) but you have to understand that making games requires dedication and perseverance (and various skills) so it's not an easy task (but highly rewarding!). Try taking it slow at your own pace man. If you need a break, take it (it's not like you owe to some investor or big company).

Good luck :e
 

Marquise*

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I think I need to take some of everyone's advice too -just threw a line about being anguished and feeling guilty each time I take some Me-Time, somewhere.-

 

CleanWater

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Have a cat or dog.
Try to teach the cat or dog to make games by making the games by yourself as an example.

OK...this may not be the best idea as the cat can get bored and decide to take the keyboard/monitor/mouse as hostage

It may sound funny, but it's actually a good advice. I adopted a dog past two years. When it grow up, it started to eat my washed clothes hanging in the clothesline. The solution was to put a small gate in the passage to where the clothes were hanged. I could not find anywhere to purchase one, so I had to build it myself.

The time I took building wooden gates (four times, because the dog was eating every attempt) was really stress relieving for me.
 
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