Jan 26, 2015

DualMondays: Motivation

DualMondays is a more or less weekly column by Jim Spanos (a.k.a. Dualnames) on game design, adventures and all sorts of highly intriguing things. It usually appears on Mondays -- only rarely on Wednesdays. And some times fortnightly.

My main concern about this topic is that I'll fail to stay on it. Like, miserable fail.

I've grown to realize something god-awful when it comes to game developers as a collective of human beings who enjoy making games as much, if not more, as playing them. All of them start with this super-fancy excitement frenzy. Which, is normal. You've decided you wanna make games, and it freaks the living shit out of you; especially as you're growing so very ambitious so very fast. So, you spam forums and retweet people you're jealous of.

You are running on pure energy, being all revved up, but have no actual idea how to make a game. You're most likely lacking all the necessary skills as it is. Coding, artwork, game design, sound design. And that's okay, don't be hard on yourself. Ask any game developer that's successful and she/he 'll say, "I was never that immature", and you'll know that she/he 's lying. They've definitely been there, they hid it by lurking or showing their attempts to a selective few, or maybe nobody knew who they were anyway back then.

This flow of excitement is completely natural, and your improbability of making a good game is also equally high. It's like wanting to play the guitar. Υou like the instrument, you dream of playing solos, and then you buy one, and completely suck at it. At first. But honing your skills with practice and research and proper techniques will yield results, both in guitar playing and game making.

So, why do we as game developers start with such motivation and then proceed to lose it? Well, mainly due to letting people get into our heads. We get an honest comment about how awful something we spent hours upon hours on, is, and we get discouraged. We lose motivation. We tell ourselves "I'm bad at this." and it is then decided that we shouldn't bother with it anymore. I couldn't disagree more. Hear this then: Nobody gets good at something unless they try, and try, and try and try, and then some more. You may not get it, you may abandon a project, but you sure as heck need to keep moving.

Most importantly however, you need to stop being afraid of what other people will say about your creations. You need to anticipate all reactions and realize what reactions you really crave for. Then, you devise a plan on adjusting things to achieve/force these behaviors, from those who befall into the midst of your. From the peeps who play your games.The difference between you as a game designer now, and [insert name of game designer idol here], is only that she or he took risks by trying.

Related @ Gnome's Lair:


  1. Having this post right after Global Game Jam is the best timing ever. Great post!