Motivation Strategies – Let Yourself Play

04 Mar
March 4, 2014

Sometimes, game dev gets hard. Your motivation drops to zero, and you find it hard to summon the discipline to force yourself to work regardless.

Well, here’s a trick I got from Cliffski. Save yourself some fun tasks, and when you really don’t feel like it, let yourself work on those. Doesn’t matter if there is something more pressing or more important. Add that particle effect, wire up sound effects, put in some transitions. Whatever feels most like fucking about, like play.

You’re trying to game your own psychology, see. When you least feel like working, find the work that most feels like play, and do that. Your internal procrastinator will kick up the least fuss. And once you get going, you’ll often find the motivation has returned.

And if it hasn’t, that’s fine too. You still got something done, even if it’s a trivial task from the bottom of your priority list.

That’s what happened to me, this morning. Woke up feeling crap, convinced I was coming down with ANOTHER flu. Didn’t want to get out of bed, never mind work on my passion project.

So I set myself to hooking up some swooshy UI transitions. Minor stuff, but they look pretty, I think. Didn’t get much else done, but I’m still that one step closer to finished. And that’s crucial. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and eventually you get to your destination.

1 reply
  1. DarkCarnivour says:

    Great post. If I read this one enough, I hope to eventually get it!
    I find this is actually pretty difficult here because we have a team with more than 1 member, so whenever I really don’t feel like working on what I’m supposed to, I see the others working and feel a nasty guilt if I think of doing anything that isn’t at the top of the priority list.
    One shitty thing is that time can get frittered away doing useless busywork that is sort of close to work and not guilt inducing fun, but which is arguably less useful than playing a game.


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