Ten Bad Habits Stopping Me From Finishing My Indie Game Projects

If only it was as easy as coming up with ideas, prototyping, creating gameplay, creating assets, testing, bug fixing, promoting, shipping etc. We’d all have several games finished and shipped by now. Unfortunately there is a whole new side to indie game development and arguably to most creative endeavors that constantly stops us from finishing our game projects. The following are my ten mental roadblocks/demons which I’m fighting on daily basis to finish and ship my games.

I Delay Doing The Work
A texture waits to be painted, a character needs new animation cycles, a mesh needs to be modeled. The amount of work is overwhelming, the path to completion not very clear. Work needed to be done is not as exciting or sexy as I’d like it to be. What do I do? I find ways to push back doing the actual work, I focus on things which I tell myself are important but most likely don’t contribute as much to the final goal of finishing and shipping my game project.

I Think I Lack The Ability To Complete My Task at Hand
If only I read one more article, perhaps a new tutorial, one more game design/art/code book I’ll be better prepared for the task. After reading one, I move on to another always thinking I need to improve more. Thinking of always needing to improve stops me from actually jumping in and making decisions that will move me forward towards finishing.

I Can’t Commit To A Solid Plan
I have rough ideas for my games. In fact lots of ideas. I have troubles committing to a single one. This makes it difficult to commit to one single solid plan, focus on that one plan and work efficiently towards completing it. This has me creating work that’s not keepable. I frustrate myself with things that ultimately will not be used in the final game.

I Don’t Keep Myself Accountable
I want to get things done but I don’t keep a detailed schedule to check my progress. I have vague goals of what I’d like to accomplish but often change them as I see fit. Nobody is looking over my back so I think there is always plenty of time. I don’t keep metrics to test whether I’m on track to meet my own deadlines. Days, weeks, months go by feeling like not much progress is being made.

I Lack Focus
I have too many things on my plate. Too many side projects. Too many directions and possible paths to take, the amount of other work/choices is adding too much extra stress so I find excuses to procrastinate.

I Can’t Decide On The Direction I Want To Take
I spend too much time thinking of perfecting my ideas, I find one idea that I like but after few days change to another. I’m unable to decide what idea I should go with. I keep looking at other games and each new released game makes me want to change direction. The integrity of original design breaks apart or at least in my head it feels like it breaks apart. I jump from one idea to another ending up not getting much done.

I’m Not Giving It 200%
I want to make a great game, but I don’t put the right amount of effort to make it happen. I choose to consume media that doesn’t contribute to the final goal of finishing my game. When I finally start working on something I get easily distracted by other less important things. I don’t put enough time into making things better and making solid decisions that will move me towards completion closer.

I Worry About Things Outside The Scope Of Making A Game
Obviously there are things which take higher priority than working on the game. It’s hard to keep in a healthy productive/creative mental state when there are things outside of the scope of game development which are more important and need mine attention. That can include finances, relationships, health etc. Minimizing these worries by maintaining good health and having positive healthy relationships with others is important. My ability to focus and getting things done increases ten fold when I know these worries are taken care of.

I Fear How The Game Will Be Received
The “what if” thinking paralyzes me and stops me from creating. I fear the game is going to be a failure and my time making it will be a waste. Perhaps it’s the opposite I fear that it’s going to be a big hit and I’ll be in the spotlight which will not make me comfortable. I’m stalling to finish the game over-thinking the final outcome.

I Don’t Ship
The amount of work I’ve put in to making a game means nothing if I don’t ship. Shipping is not easy. After few months working on the same project, the assets lose their appeal. Judging gameplay is difficult because you’ve been so close to it for so long, I start questioning if what I’ve done is worth sending out. The mind is in overdrive thinking of all the possible ways I shouldn’t finish it.

I fight several of these demons on daily basis. The more of these I can eliminate any single day the more productive the day becomes. There is no single day where at least one of these doesn’t creep in. I’m being aware, and moving towards accepting these as part of the process rather than something that stresses me out even more.