h0tWalker

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So for a long time I've wanted to get back into creating games again as a hobby. It was something I did for over 10 years, even took an education in, yet once done, abandoned it entirely. From a childhood dream, to a life long goal, I still hunt down that one dream to have completed just one game, yet I still stand unable to start the first steps of that dream.

But what is it that makes me unable to start that dream? Why can't I start working on something I've dreamed of since I was a child? I think I recently figured out the answer, but I've just denied it for some time: Fear... While I don't have an answer to overcome the issue, I've just decided to come clean and share my thoughts, in the hope of some opinions, and maybe even shed light on it for others who sit in the same situation as me. Scared of asking for help and scared of making a bad game.

Why can doing something you love, make you so worried that you stop doing it? Fear is the biggest factor, and while I can debunk almost all of it, there's still factors that has more weight than others. Even if it seems so small it could be pushed aside, it's all about how deep that fear is to you. Heck, I can even debunk my own fear, but once I look at the deeper meaning, I start seeing a tall wall that just stands there... So what is this fear? And how did I end up here?

The answer I concluded with was "Pressure". Growing up I was bullied, which even was a thing during my time as a video game student. Growing up I used to play around with game design, but people always mocked me for it and pointed out flaws and compared it to big titles. Even during my game design years people would mock my projects, calling them "Silent Hill clones" just cause I didn't have NPCs, or find other things to point out. After two heart breaking years of my world crashing down, I couldn't take it anymore. I had no one to talk to about my project. The few friends I had wasn't really interested in it, which is fair, family saw it as wasted time and for a deeper meaning in every design choice. The rest of the people around me would just mock me about it. Huge creds to my teacher who today works for Ubisoft, who despite all the harassment I got, really wanted to help me prove everyone wrong and help me reach that goal.

With that said, I always had a dream of creating an RPG, however, I have a few projects before that to help get the proper experience again. Despite having the plan, and story ideas all written down. I just can't get myself to start working on the project. I'm always questioning if a format is good or bad. How the story should be told. Is it bad? Would said thing be good? And it all becomes a lot of pressure that crashes down and scares me off. While I think it's stupid, it's still a problem I can't shake off. Despite things being bad in the start, I know I can always improve on it later. There's a lot of good reasons that really should debunk it, yet I can't seem to properly overcome it.

The pressure exists because I'm worried about every flaw being pointed out and used to trash my work. I love getting critique to work with, but with how people used it and how some people on the internet loves to harass things, it creates that sense of insecurity and pressure to perform.

When it comes to family, I'm worried about how they look for a meaning in everything. They can't accept fiction as fiction. If a character had to die, let's say the mother or father had to die for the plot to progress, I would be heavily pressured into explaining why. It being just a plot point isn't good enough, it had to be a personal reason that motivated said choice. It was essentially why I quit producing music. I like emotional and abstract stuff, and emotions meant I was sad, and abstract meant something was bad. Art couldn't be appreciated for what it was: art.

And while I don't have anything in the terms of worry when it comes to friends, it's of course the hope of getting recognition for my work. This one is stupid, I know, but it's due to it always being pushed aside. While I don't want them to talk about it, or feed my ego, it would just be nice to have friends you could talk to about it.

With that said, I'm not sure if just writing it and posting it helps me personally. Exposing myself has helped me in the past. Even if it doesn't, I hope this can help others realize, and perhaps overcome their own struggles when it comes to this. And if you have been in the same situation, how did you overcome it?

Ps. As I didn't really touch on it, the reason I've always struggled asking, is that I was bullied as mentioned. Not knowing was always a sign of weakness, so rather than ask and feel dumb / give ammunition, I've just been sitting in silence and never asked for help, even here, as I was kinda scared of looking like an idiot... I know, I really an idiot not using the forum for what it's meant for P:

Note: This is only in relation to my game hobby, everything else is A-OK! Super happy in life and all today, just this part that I struggle with.
 
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shockra

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I'm in a similar situation. I started getting into game dev about 6 years ago, and when I first started, it was so much fun. For the first few months, my schedule was basically work, game dev, sleep, repeat. But then I made the mistake of taking it too seriously. It stopped being a hobby and felt more like a second job that I wasn't getting anything out of, so I quit game dev for awhile.

Still, that didn't stop me from brainstorming ideas and boasting I could make games, bad as they might be. The boasting is likely the big issue because now that's my motive. I wind up talking about ideas I have, but never execute anything to show.

If I'm going to actually get back into game dev, it needs to be for the right reason. When it was fun, I didn't care about the grind. I need to either get back to that point or stop game dev entirely and focus on other things.

Sadly, I don't have much of an answer to this situation. I guess my point is that you're not alone in what you're feeling. Simply knowing that might help someone feel better.
 

Finnuval

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My best (and yet dumbest advice) is just have fun.

Have fun before setting goals. Have fun before making anything solid. Have fun before following a dream.

Do what you love AND love what you do, first and foremost.
 

Drakkonis

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I would really say it boils down to is why. Why are you making the game? To sell? Then you'd need to worry about making a game that is likely to sell. To impress someone? You'd need to worry about what would impress them.

But for a hobby? A hobby is meant to be fun, first and foremost. And only YOU can decide what's fun to you. So if you're making a game for a hobby... don't worry about what people will think of it. You're not making it for them, you're making it for YOU. You are the only customer, the only one to impress, the only critic.

For an indie dev, this is a blessing and a curse. The blessing is not being tied down to what "traditionally" does well. The curse is that not everyone will appreciate the game for what it is. Most, if not all, indie devs make their games because it was a game they wanted to make, and decided to share with the world. Sometimes it does well, sometimes it tanks. But if you're not making it with the intent to market it for income, it doesn't really matter. What matters is you made the game you wanted to make. You learned a lot along the way, and hopefully had fun doing it. If people love it, great! If they hate it, that's their problem.

I've loved the idea of making my own game(obviously, that's how I came to be here)... but after maybe a week, I've pretty much not worked on any of my ideas, instead preferring to write plugins. You do what you love, if it's not something you need to do for money or some other requirement.

One piece of advice I got when I was younger that has stuck with me, is to never get a career in your hobby's field. It will burn you out quickly and potentially even make you hate what once brought you joy. I love playing games. I enjoy programming games(I'm terrible at it, but I have fun). My profession? I work in a factory. I drive a forklift all day. I could probably do well in an IT position with a little college... but then when I came home I probably wouldn't want to even TOUCH a computer. So I drive my forklift, mentally working on my current plugin or game so that I have a plan when I'm next in front of my keyboard. It passes the time while I'm earning my paycheck.

That last bit was a bit of a ramble, point is, don't let others dictate your hobbies. Don't make your hobby a job. Don't let anyone tell you what your personal passion project needs. If their ideas are so good, they should be making their own games instead of trying to control yours. You answer to you, and ONLY to you.
 

EpicFILE

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It seems to me that someone with artistic inclination
tend to strongly attach their self-worth with their works.
So when their works got criticised, it indirectly damages their self-worth.
I did attach my self-worth with my works, but my problem was a little different.
While you're afraid that your works will seem bad to others,
I was afraid that I didn't produce enough works.

I'd constantly push myself to produce something,
sometimes to the point of burnout.
And in that burnout phase, I'd view myself as "lazy".
I keep thinking that if I don't constantly produce something, I'm not "worthy".
That's how I used to attach my self-worth with my works.

Also, you were bullied in the past (and so I am).
Maybe that's why you attach your self-worth to your works,
because without your works you're not feeling worthy.
You have to "prove" something with your works so you can feel worthy.
It's pretty natural that someone who got bullied have a damaged self-worth.

Realize that your self-worth is not attached to anything.
You don't have to prove anything to anyone.
You're worthy no matter what you do
(as long as you don't intentionally make chaos, that is). xD

I no longer attach my self-worth with my works,
and now I can truly enjoy the process of producing something.
All becomes fun.

If removing the attachment can help me,
I believe it can help you too. :D
 

h0tWalker

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To impress someone? You'd need to worry about what would impress them.
Yeah, I always felt I had to make work to impress and prove people wrong, and to show them up. That in turn made it go from a hobby to quest of redemption. To prove others wrong and that I can, and that it is worthwhile. Perhaps that's when I lost sight of it as a hobby and what initially cause the fears and in turn burn out back then.

You're not making it for them, you're making it for YOU. You are the only customer, the only one to impress, the only critic.
As your making the game primarily as you want to make games, these are the words that should be taken to heart. While I don't worry about critique, as it helps making you better, it's just about filtering out the hate that comes with it as you mentioned. But it isn't always people will get the point, and hate it as a result. That said, it really is just their problem as you mentioned.

It seems to me that someone with artistic inclination
tend to strongly attach their self-worth with their works.
Can't speak for everyone else, but my guess would be that as I was bullied, I put all my effort into the projects to make them shine, making the project become my identity.

And in that burnout phase, I'd view myself as "lazy".
I keep thinking that if I don't constantly produce something, I'm not "worthy".
I also sit feeling like I'm lazy when I don't get going on my projects, despite having it all in place. That in turn hits my "self-worth" as well now that you've pointed it out. I have the pieces in place, so why can't I just get going?

Realize that your self-worth is not attached to anything.
You don't have to prove anything to anyone.
You're worthy no matter what you do
That's some solid advice and wording.
What anime is that from? :p
Jokes aside, I really took that to heart. Just having someone spell it out for you can be enough to let go of that feeling of attachment. To free you from the shackles your bound to. While I feel more confident after the post and the replies I've gotten, it's hard to say if it has its fully fledged effect, or if the chains have gotten cracks and is on the verge of breaking. But it has definitely helped! :D
 

EpicFILE

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That's some solid advice and wording.
What anime is that from? :p
Jokes aside, I really took that to heart. Just having someone spell it out for you can be enough to let go of that feeling of attachment. To free you from the shackles your bound to. While I feel more confident after the post and the replies I've gotten, it's hard to say if it has its fully fledged effect, or if the chains have gotten cracks and is on the verge of breaking. But it has definitely helped! :D
It's from anime called life. xD
It actually came from videos related to self-love
and self-healing.

Removing attachment won't happen overnight,
so be patient when you can't remove it right away. :D

Anyway, glad that it helped!
 

Frogboy

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Anyone who has ever achieved greatness has been bullied, made fun of, stepped on, pushed aside and ridiculed for pursuing their passion. It's practically part of the process. If you truly want it, you've got to [metaphorically] throw up two big middle fingers at all your haters and just go for it until you're the "winner" and they are all the "losers".

It's not an easy road and if you decide that it's not worth it in the end, there's no shame in that. Life changes. Priorities change. Maybe you find that you want to fall in love and start a family or something and that this dream you have now is probably better off shifting back to a hobby.

But for now, you have a goal, dream, passion, whatever you want to call it. If you want to achieve it, you absolutely must cease caring what other say, think or might say about your work. Listen to constructive criticism and see if you can use that to improve. Always strive to be the best. If and when you do make it, try to dial back your aggression against your haters that remain. I've seen that ruin people's dreams after they achieved them which is equally sad to see. Always punch up, not down.

And that's it, really. Good luck! Happy hunting. May the odds be ever in your favor.
 

ATT_Turan

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Have you considered trying to get some therapy to help with the bullied/self-esteem things? Sometimes people can overcome emotional problems by forcing themselves to logic through it, but sometimes they can't (and a handful of untrained random people on a forum aren't a substitute :wink: )

And once you get over the over-attachment of your emotions and self-worth to the games, the rest just happens. Everyone makes bad games at some point. Everyone gets negative feedback or unfair criticism at some point. It's how you react to receiving those things (and your preemptive fear of those reactions) that's hindering you.

I don't know how you found the people who playtested your earlier games, but they sound like immature/mean people to begin with. I've had a number of people playtest for me at various times, and while you want to get the feedback that's negative or critical, none of them ever did it in a way to mock me.

But some of that might go back around to your emotional state, again - I recently provided feedback to someone who was asking for playtesters. The things I said were rational, never personally mean, and included compliments. But for that person's emotional/mental state, it was interpreted as personal insults and flaming, to the point that they threatened me.
 

Frogboy

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Have you considered trying to get some therapy to help with the bullied/self-esteem things? Sometimes people can overcome emotional problems by forcing themselves to logic through it, but sometimes they can't (and a handful of untrained random people on a forum aren't a substitute :wink: )
Good advice. Yes, if you are not able to power through it, please get the help you need. I kinda come from a generation that didn't have any choice in the matter but this may be a better place to start if you feel you need it.
 

h0tWalker

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Have you considered trying to get some therapy to help with the bullied/self-esteem things? Sometimes people can overcome emotional problems by forcing themselves to logic through it, but sometimes they can't (and a handful of untrained random people on a forum aren't a substitute :wink: )
I don't really have a problem with self-esteem or the bullying part. It doesn't affect me on a personal level, but my work instead (if it makes sense). I totally agree if people are stuck in a situation like that, they should definitely talk to a professional rather than ask people on forums. I just mentioned it as its part of the reason I got my little "writers block". While therapists are professionals when it comes to that sort of stuff, it doesn't necessarily mean they can unlock that writers block.

I found that talking with people who went through the same usually holds the best answers. That said, it definitely did the job. I work on a "say it out loud" to kinda get it off my chest, have it heard and just let others see "That's my problem" and sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. With the replies to this post, I feel like I've managed to grow as a person and learned a lot. It's as if my shoulders got a bit lighter because the advice and wording was perfect for me as a person. So I am really grateful for the interest and response I got on this post. Something I feel like others who come across it down the line might appreciate as well :biggrin:
 

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