Salutations dear blog reader~
Haku, c'antik (hello friend)
It's now been a year since I started this whole "do game development every day and blog about it once a week" project, so it feels like a good time to get reflective about it.
The First Six Months - Education
For the first six months I focused each day on guided education, in that time I completed seven substantial courses on topics ranging from working with VR to sprite art to physics to game systems to getting unity certification. I've already worked at a game company for six years and have a BS in CS but I wanted to dive deep into game development specifically. Even though just about the whole time I wanted to dive into my own project I knew that treating it like a required school course (thinking of it as an extension to my Bachelors) and building a strong base was important. Ultimately it paid off and my confidence grew.
The Next Five Months - Star Cinders Experiments
After switching contexts from the education phase I started in on my personal project phase with Star Cinders. I wanted to create a game that would feel like a hybrid between Endless Sky and Mass Effect. I spent the first month really getting my Game Design Document in order and exploring every aspect as deeply as I could, though ultimately things would still end up evolving as I experimented. I then ran through a number of experiments building out systems.
I built a shop system, integrated a dialogue system, an inventory and trading system, my own take on a UI for context sensitive menus, a map navigation system, and multiple combat systems. During this time I even went so far as to completely rebuild the game from a 2D game to a 3D game, and then a gain from 3D multi-plane game to a 3D single-plane game. Every day after getting off of work I would dedicate whatever I could to building up to the best game I could make.
The Last Month - Life Changes
In the eleven'ish previously mentioned months I made great progress on my goals and explored many aspects of game development. However what I haven't mentioned anywhere is that in this time I had multiple encounters with complete mental and emotional fatigue. Every other month it seems like I would get completely distressed and end up taking a weekend to myself, away from development, to re-center. Working constantly, working at work and working at home, eventually takes a toll and isn't a balanced way to live. I also worsened the neglect of my physical health, as I had already been doing, since I left college.
In addition to the mental and physical fatigue I would emotionally tear myself down constantly for not making even more progress than I was already making, for not accomplishing more. Every day I saw all these great game developers on Twitter making amazing progress on their team's projects and told myself I was failing every time I hadn't made as much progress, or any time I took one of those odd weekends to relax.
It is because of this that the last month and a half I have been seeking to completely change my lifestyle to heal my heart, mind, and body. Six days a week Jaemie and I have been pushing ourselves to get physical and work out in a serious way. I've changed up my eating habits and switched as much as possible to fruits, vegies, water as often as possible, and no artificial sweeteners. Also as of the last week I have started allowing myself to start playing games regularly again WITHOUT scolding myself for doing so. As such I havne't been making anywhere near the same amount of progress on the game as I had been previously. Which brings us to the final section.
From now until I decide otherwise I will not be making weekly blog posts, rather I will make them whenever I feel like I have something significant to show or am excited about something. Though I will still aim for a minimum of one a month provided nothing goes wrong. I will continue to work out and improve my health and until it's in a place where I am satisfied this will be my number one priority. I will also continue to make time for play and mental breaks. I will continue to work on Star Cinders whenever my physical and mental energy allow, which I hope will grow in power over time, and be happy to know that I am setting myself up for success in the future even if there is less to show at the moment. Heck there might even be more to show off on social media since I won't be saving it all up for blog posts as often.
Thank you to everyone that has supported me so far, kaqhina's (I am grateful) 💖
Kiwana'n (goodbye for a bit)