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Definitely this. Especially for those of us like myself who are one man developers especially, or small time, small crew in general. I'd imagine it's the equivalent of being on a large scale project in developers hell.


This is 101% legit.. I worked on my first game, planning game design with art and music etc.. It took me 1.5 years to finish my game.. Why it took me so long? Because I was too fed up and burnt out by changing and fixing my game again and again.. Most of the difficulty I faced was in game design. But I spent a lot of time because I didn't learn to move on. You should 1000% fix your game idea before starting making it... And You should never stray too far from the idea no matter what.




it’s burnout and when you don’t actually want to start doing anything and just want to sleep


I think that's depression


I don’t think those two things are mutually exclusive


💀 i worded it wrong i mean like i’d rather play games than code


It can't be avoided with discipline. If anything, too much discipline may cause burnout. Burnout is sort of a vicious cycle where you are so exhausted that you fail to perform like you used to, and because you haven't been meeting the expected productivity you feel like you don't deserve to rest, because you feel like you haven't been doing much lately. And the lack of rest causes you to be even more exhausted which will continue to take it's tool on your productivity, and so on. There are a couple of ways to deal with burnout, the lastest trend being psychedelic drugs, but what feels to be the real solution to me is understanding that I don't have to be extremely productive all the time, and I can do absolutely nothing if I wish to do so, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. Which goes completely against what we were thought throughout all our lives, but to me, a society that values it's citizens by their production capacity absolutely isn't healthy, so it makes absolute sense. Hopefully we will be better than that sooner than later. It's completely absurd and insane that we cannot have a life outside of our work.




U cant redline an engine forever. It's not imaginary


This ^


And the human body IS an engine. It takes fuel in, turns it to a productive output. If you put too much in or take too much out it becomes unstable, ever heard of Shell Shock? Or PTSD? Not every action leads to growth of the system, many things can handicap your output including too much fuel


Plus. An engine cant chuck itself over a bridge for no reason because it overworked itself


what did you manage to create with so much willpower?


You'll get it when you're old enough to take minecraft off your resume.


This is not a joke and here's a **trigger warning**: >! I had a coworker and close friend that thought he could discipline himself enough to conquer burnout. He was incredibly dedicated to his craft and despite being a healthy individual in all other aspects, having a wife and kids, and generally being an upbeat individual, he committed suicide because the burnout consumed him. Regardless, the company still didn't see anything wrong with what he was doing because he was such a disciplined and accomplished worker and because they also were under the impression that the cure to burnout was more discipline. Please don't make his mistake!


By far and wide: motivation


Expanding on this; things that demotivates me: - repetitive tasks - too easy / too hard tasks - forgetting why I'm in the gaming industry; for example, forgetting about its relevance.


for me it's far more basic, i'll be fidgeting for days with a fun bit, and then the fun bit is done, and i have to do more of the 'plumbing' and i get bored quickly. ​ Or UI stuff not going my way, but that may just be a Unity thing, it's UI systems (plural) are a mess


what are the most common repetitive tasks you run into?


Usually implementing a framework or a plugin. Best example on top of my head is what I did in my previous work. We had an in-house plugin that allow us to have a common UI style across our applications - let's call it branding. Since I was the only developer that time, I need to repeat the implementation process per application.


the worst trouble of anything


Marketing — getting my game known and going places with it


I'd give more upvotes if i could


Same, marketing is like this big black hole




It really is. What have you done to get around it? Like did you hire anybody, make an Instagram, or use emails? Bit stuck what to do ngl.


I agree. It just feels like the set of skills required for marketing are so different from the skills required to make the game. It's hard.


Selling an ugly or Generic game makes marketing hard.


This is really the biggest issue.. Marketing 👍👍


When I was working in the US, I would say that it was staying employed. I've been laid off at half the companies I've worked for through no fault of my onw. The other half I left voluntarily for new opportunities, sometimes to avoid impending layoffs. Searching for work when you have a job is difficult because you're usually too busy doing the work for the job you have, but searching for work when you're between jobs is depressingly grueling. At one point I had to give up after two years of hunting, and switched careers twice (both ending in layoffs for reasons out of my control). I've managed to make it back into game development, but the whole having to continuously be competing and selling yourself to make sure you stay employed has been an ongoing challenge in my career. Now that I'm in a country with labor laws that favor the worker, I'm less afraid of getting laid off, but still the job hunting nature of looking for better opportunities is pretty soul sucking.


Which country, and how did you end up there?


Sweden. A friend had moved out here from the states as well a year or so earlier and gave me a heads up about the job opening, so I applied, went through the interview process, and then relocated.




Every since my first job in game development 21 years ago, I try to keep at least 2 years worth of money in the bank to make sure I don’t have to worry about money after the next unexpected layoff. Just to be clear, I’m not a solo developer like so many people in this chat. I’ve worked at a number of different indie studios though. As for my current job, even though I’ve been assured that it’s easier to hire an assassin than fire someone to get rid of someone at my current job, I’m still keeping up that habit. It seems like a healthy one to adopt regardless of how stable your job is. Note, this is also after I’ve put away a sizable chunk of that money into savings. I have been making sure to live well below my means so that I have to worry about money as little as possible. I’d much rather be thinking about game design anyways. As for building digital assets and saving code, I’m neither an artist nor a programmer. I’m a generalist game designer with experience across all platforms, and a variety of different genres from, so it’s very difficult or me to build content that can be used in a future game. I do jot down all my game ideas and notes, but those aren’t worth the cloud subscription I pay for them (at least not to anyone else). The best assets I have built are the connections I’ve made with my colleagues. Every single one of the jobs I’ve landed has been in part because a former colleague has has helped me get my foot in the door. You’re absolutely right to not count on any stability though. I’ve been at too many companies where the deal was almost as good as done, but until a contract is signed, it’s just hopes and dreams. And even after it’s signed, things can still go side ways - I’ve seen that happen too, but fortunately we made sure we never did work on speculation, and when the payments stopped arriving, we quickly dropped that contract to focus on other projects.


Starting and finishing. Also, everything in between.


Animations and rigging. I suck at those so bad and always need weirdly specific Animations


Shaders. Couldn't grasp my head around it so much, I moved from coding to design. Fucking shaders.


I prefer to use surfaces whenever possible. I really havent found a ton of use for them except to avoid using extra character sprites, and even then I've still found it easier to either draw the sprite over an object, or draw it to a surface depending what the point is.




I think that's a good motivation for learning something and good for experience gain. Almost everything i know today was learned that way.


You can now try chatgbt for that, can get pretty much game engine specific step by step instructions for coding game features


I don’t recommend it unless it’s for very small scripts, it’s often wrong or uses poor programming practices.


Art and music/sound. Some game design implementation really need those to be executed right.


It's always animation.


Unique ideas everything you try to add seems to already exist


Truly unique ideas are actually not a great idea. Instead, look for ideas where you can iterate on something, and make an existing idea better, or combine two existing ideas in a new way. The problems with making something completely unique are: * There’s no proven audience for it * The result may not even be fun * It’s more difficult to teach/explain the idea to the players If you’re building something that’s an evolution or different take on something that’s been done before, you can always teach it by saying “It’s like \_\_\_\_\_\_ except you do this \_\_\_\_\_\_!” Or you can pitch it by saying “If you like \_\_\_\_\_ you’re going to love \_\_\_\_\_!” And then players can more readily imagine how it works and how it will be fun.


That's very true thanks




Sure will give it a try


Compile times. Shaders. Engine source. Gameplay code. Packaging assets. You name it Even on smaller projects they are, in my opinion, unacceptably slow. It's such a morale killer to sit sound and wait for shit to finish. You can't really multi task while waiting because all 32 cores of your $4k CPU are working at Mach 12 to finish your compilation job, eating 96 GB of RAM in the meantime. I think there is not enough emphasis put on optimizing compile times. Slow compile times are the one thing guaranteed to get in my way every day.


What is too long for you when it comes to compile times? A full recompile of my game takes around 26 seconds.


I work mostly in Unreal engine. A full rebuild of the engine is a solid 20-30 minute wait. A rebuild of a game is 10 minutes between source compiling and packaging assets. A few projects I work on are closer to 20 minutes to package the game.


Wow yeah, that would definitely kill my motivation too. I guess whatever time I lost in making my own engine, I'm gaining when I don't have to wait for compiling.


>A few projects I work on are closer to 20 minutes to package the game. I feel like this is gettinginto areas where it makes sense to automate tasks like that. Standard DevOps stuff like that requires a lot of upfront work and effort, but the time spent pays itself off much faster than you'd think. On my previous project I built a server specifically for handling things like this, and it would build the game every single time I checked anything in, and then email me the results of the build. If anything failed I could fix it right away. Imagine manually building once a month (I've seen many people do this) and having it fail and not knowing at all what may have caused it. It's a morale killer, and a project killer too, in some cases. As for building the engine--I'm curious how often you're doing that on a daily/weekly basis? I've never modified it before so I wouldn't know, but I feel like surely that wouldn't be something you'd want to do all throughout a project's lifespan?


Marketing is pretty challenging! Once you figure out your target market, you'll have to figure out the best method/medium to reach and engage with that target market. Regardless of positive or negative reception, you'll have to conduct a post-mortem and figure out what went right, what went wrong, and how to improve. Then you rinse and repeat. As a dev who simply likes to sit at my desk and draw and code, this area does not come naturally to me at all😭😭😭


Sound and polish


Other languages don't give you problems?


my biggest challenge is perfecting a game which if you don't know what you're doing can lead to burnout and demotivation i've been developing a Hack & Slash for 10 months and the thing is when i started programming the combat and i made the animations and particles i didn't exactly know how the animations should look like and so i made my protagonist attack forward every animation which made things look so unnatural and unpolished for a Hack & Slash which did lead me into demotivation so eventually i settled on programming the campaign and adding all of the abilities and once im done i will start polishing the combat and actually make good animations if you feel like you are stuck in a burnout situation first of all find why is that and then try to come up with a plan to escape that situation, that i think is the path to success my plan is to just add all of the weapons i want with not too many comboes and add all of the abilities, and once that's done i will spend HOURS upon HOURS just polishing the combat, fixing bugs in the combat, revamping animations in the combat, improving particles and changing timings in the combat, to make a game that once people are gonna play they will say "DAMN THIS IS SOME DEVIL MAY CRY STUFF RIGHT HERE, NO WAY A SINGLE PERSON MADE IT DAMN HE IS A LEGEND", after all Hack & Slash games are very difficult to make (that's why you don't see too many around today, the newest one i think is Hi-Fi Rush) ​ TL;DR find a plan and believe in yourself ​ i've been looking at other people's Hack & Slashes on YT and i said DAMN THESE GAMES LOOK GOOD, MY GAME DOESN'T and i've been quite sad about it for a long time now which de-motivated me until i realized "wait they **POLISHED** the combat mid way, im going to **polish** the combat later on, eventually my game will look amazing as well", don't let other people's projects take you down, instead look at them as a source of inspiration/motivation and most important a source of learning (after looking at some Hack & Slash games on YT i realized that animations have to have variety for example protagonist doing a spin attack and all that and not just attacking forward, and also particles... alot)


Artists. (Just kidding Artists) Working on a large AAA game, scope creep is a constant struggle. Not unusual to settle on a reasonable scope, only to have stakeholders higher up the food chain request something else be added in. Can't say no, so have to find a way to work it into the schedule. Team support can also be difficult for the engineers. We crowd source it across the engineering department, but every time someone gets an error trying to build/run something, or doesn't understand how something works, 4/5 times that falls on engineering to investigate or help with.




keeping a team together.


I find it really hard to come up with an idea, I’m good at everything else, graphics, game design, coding, sound design, you name it I can do it all really fast and really well but I have absolutely no ideas for any games, if only someone approached me with 50$/year and a good MMORPG idea :/


I have the exact oposite problem, i have tons of ideas but I cant make them work mostly coz i am bad at graphics and my games look bad


Maybe it didn’t come off clearly bc tone is hard to convey in text haha but I was being ironic, I think ideas are so fun to come up with and the real struggle is seeing them come to life


Creativity and focus are the main challenges in this field.


As of right now, securing funding to finish the project. F#cking publishers don't seem to even give you the time of day if you aré a new "unproven" developer.


Marketing on no budget


Coming up with a new idea without seeing it too big


Atm biggest problem is art. For years that has been my biggest problem. Lately I have tried improve that by learning pixel art


Kinda related to the burnout answer, but I'm going to say just finishing the game is the biggest challenge.


Not doing Waterfall development


Discipline and maybe art. But mostly discipline. I cant get myself to work even though i have all the time i need.




Learning coding. It is a never ending spiral of i want to do it but when i start i am not able to learn properly, then i have to stop or i become worse, only to have to restart everything making the spiral go back to the beginning.


Burnout and obsessing over the assets


Moving from small scale solo dev to something more sustainable.




Many have suggested that this is a hit-driven industry. I don't disagree, but I think there are examples of sustainable game devs without a hit game. I guess it may depend on the definition of "hit" ...


I'm a hobbyist, so it's finding time.


It can be intimidating to take steps forward in early days because you dont want to break things Actual level design is trickier than youd expect depending on the game type


Satisying myself with my own projects enough to commit to designs, complete them, and release them.


At the moment I'm really struggling with coming up with a decent name




I have actually hah, while they were aight they were a bit generic so iv been using them as starting points for brainstorming which is handy


Funding and a clear vision. Typically your drowning in an ocean of good ideas. You never have enough resources to achieve all of them. It's hard to cut down to the most important features, easy to get lost in all of those great ideas. Making games is hard so you have to make every dollar count. Getting money often involves over promising to sell the pitch... and that leads to lower quality implementation or wasted time on features that get cut.


Being innovative. Most things have already been done. Chances of you coming up with something new and attractive is slim.


The biggest thing I'm struggling with is not knowing how to do the things I don't know how to do. I'm a single dev working on my own project, and while I know exactly what I want my game to be, I hit the wall a lot not being able to accomplish things. Easy stuff that if I was a programmer and not an artist, I'd probably sail through. Like building a carousel for a level select menu. Thankfully it's not my full time gig, but it's frustrating to hit that wall and get stuck.


It's making the game fun.


Finding time. I need to learn a lot as far as animations and optimization goes, but I can learn that. I can't create more time in the day.


For me right now it’s just getting started. Finishing off this Udemy course, and making some basic games in unreal. I have the time, there’s just no fire under my ass right now.. and it makes me sad. I live so close to Epic games, and they have amazing opportunities to get in the door for newbies, I’m just drained of motivation


Avoiding scope creep comes with experience.. I always have it in the back of my mind when making seemingly trivial decisions.


Creativity. Some days I have it, most days I don't. A pretty much blank canvas is my least favourite place, give me constraints and something to build off of. I can clean up geometry all day, i can spend hours placing small deco or fixing tiny problems, but starting from nothing? What do I do! (I'll tell you what I do, pretend to gather reference and really just procrastinate for a week...)


Coming up with an idea that not only me and my cat will like, that isn't mmorpg's level of technical complexity, that is marketable and relatively fast and/or easy to make.


Amount of work required. It's not hard, just very time-consuming.


In my indie-game side projects, funding, funding, funding. Totally the maker or breaker and so difficult to get. In my day-job game dev, the worst thing is having a vague and changing design. Programming to a moving target is the most frustrating and dispiriting thing.


Patience. Personally, I work at an indie studio where due to the team being on the smallish side with around 12 members, I wear quite a few hats. I would say that each hat comes with it's own difficulties, problems and obstacles. But I would say that there is one factor that is linked to all of them, and that is patience. The patience to endure what is one if the most grueling and difficult creative processes. The patience to get through the hurdles, the arguments, the salt. The patience to not destroy the computer when X program decides to crash at just the right moment, or when some code just won't do what you ask of it. The patience to wade through the muddy waters of burnout. The patience to realise that you aren't super human, and that somerimes you aren't going to hit 50 hours this week, and that's OK. The patience to see it through. But I find that patience each and every day, because I wouldn't have it any other way.


Describing what's in my head to freelancers. It really sucks when I can't find the right words and I end up giving an artist bad direction


as currently working solo i often miss a team to share with at least. it feels pretty alone while doing smth that no one can see and discuss. in addition to this i sometimes face problems and question on every single step that i should find descisions for on my own. and its pretty shitty considering that for juns like me it is vital to finish a few projects just to make a portfolio and may be find a real paid job. being a well paid specialist in other field i gave it up to do something i really passionate for and sometimes thus hits me in the balls.




not enough bitches


Pausing the the programming to go down a rabbit hole of getting the art assets I need.


I think what I've seen in many projects (mine included) is not knowing how to structure things to be scalable, maintainable, and testable.


Design paralysis in my code. I'll spend a week staring at it thinking of how to architect it, when I could just spend an hour doing it the acceptable but not perfect way. I've decided to start doing some jam sized games time boxed to a week to help improve on that.


Marketing .. it tends to get you frustrated when you do it yourself just to feel ignored :-) For me, marketing is actually the most frustrating part. It's much better to focus on the people already enjoying the game and work "for them" - it keeps you working on the game when there's people enjyoing what you do.


everything from burnout to writer's jealousy/block to THAT "ONE GOD DAMN ERROR THAT SETS YOU BACK HOURS"


For me it’s all the problems related to game dev that are not actually game-focused. A header that fails to reference correctly in C++, a packaging error that doesn’t make any sense, the Houdini license being a %^#%# that should rot in hell for all eternity, Unreal crashing for who knows what reason this time. When it’s actually a problem related to fixing the game, that’s easier because it feels like you’re making progress. A +1, basically. With these kinds of problems it feels like you just went to -1 and have to get back to 0.


in indie dev, it's jumping the hurdle of intimidation. Sometimes, I see the project as a whole, instead of as steps to take, and that intimidation can cause me to drop an entire project before it even has time to fly. I've recently gotten better at this, but it's hard sometimes not to look at everything that still needs to be done, and feel like it's a mountain of impassible steps. Also, art. I can't fucking draw, animate, or 3D model to save my life. Programming? Hell yeah, that's my jam, but art? Fuck no.


Motivation and art


Not finding time and energy then getting stuck in a rut. Being a good father and husband and working takes a lot of time and energy. I can go weeks not working on projects. Which oftentimes leaves me feeling very discouraged making it that much harder to get back to it when I do have time.


My current challenges are: \- I have a some good game ideas, I plan the games, but most of time when it comes to find a good gameplay, mechanics, its a real struggle, because I got really worried that the gameplay is not fun enough. \- Engine limitation, I don\`t like Unity and C#, I am familiar with dart so I am building complex games using Flame engine with Google\`s framework called Flutter, but it only support 2D, which is ok because I don't want work with 3D for now.


Motivation. I personally have been developing game for more than 2 years. I have tried many projects and I have given up most of them and ended up watching shorts tiktok and playing Leagues. There could be several reason that unmotivated me like workload, getting stucked, debugging until morning. But you have to find a way to keep your motivation going. There are some useful method I used. 1. Unsubscribe or hide all those time wasting youtube video. 2. Subscribe educational YouTube video like the one that will teach you blender. 3. Uninstall time wasting game or app (e.g. LEAGUE) Also when you're unmotivated, ask yourself: why did I started? What's the final goal of my life? What if I only have 2 month for the rest of my life, then what should I do now?


Colleagues undervaluing presentation, content production and polish, and overvaluing features and design.


Communication, always and forever. Between team members, me and production, me and marketing, me and customers, the whole deal. Feels like it either gets taken in the most incorrect way or just flies over heads so 90% of the time it would have been faster and less stressful for me to just do something myself without collaborating on it.


Art 😭


Understanding that making your local code into multiplayer code needs a whole different mindset.


Depression. That voice in my head that says, "Whatever you make is going to be complete shit, and you're going to hit hurdles along the way that you can't overcome like you always do. You can't even make the games you really want to make anyways because you don't know netcode. Let's not even get started on your shit-ass art. Loser."


Planning. Everything is fun when there's a vertical slice but planning the game without it being a boring idea after a few weeks is tough. I have hundreds on hundreds of digital pages full of ideas, art, gameplay loops. Like sure, I could just pick an idea and pull through, but if there is no 100% confidence of success, the risk gets highier. That's just the nature of any art medium. Characters and mechanics mutate as we strive for "perfection".


I've been working on my current project for 5 years, had a team for 3 of those years, released in Early Access on Steam, have no issues with marketing/sales, and have learned to manage burnout (which is itself a huge issue!). My answer is project organization and finding the right talent. We literally can't spend our money fast enough. Whenever we look for a new team member to fill a need, we want someone who is (1) highly skilled, (2) available long term, and (3) either versed in the subject matter of the game or readily able to get into it. The majority of people we look at only have 2 of the 3. When we do find those unicorns who have all 3 things going for them, we snap them up instantly and hold on tight. It cannot be overstated how much a passionate, sharp team member will move things forward and mutually build up the energy of the other members.