As a game developer, you should take care of yourself. While your game may feel like your most important priority, it’s not worth killing yourself over it — unless you want to make the ultimate sacrifice and enter into the world of indie game martyrdom. Your own well being should take precedence above all else. If your mental health is suffering, your game will inevitably suffer as a result. Try to keep stress levels low. Talk to a professional if you need to, but never let things get out of hand. You may feel doubts about the potential of your game and its ability to make money, but don’t let your anxiety keep you down.
It can be easy to become consumed by a project once you get going but know your limits. Always remember to take breaks regularly. It is best to stay steadily focused on a goal over a long period of time rather than work obsessively over short periods of time. This obsessive working will only lead to becoming exhausted by your efforts and accomplishing very little.
While you might be under a great deal of pressure to release a perfect product, stop starting over. Starting over will not enable you to complete a game faster. As a designer, you have to know that things will never be perfect and that starting over will only lead to more frustration and more wasted time. The notion that starting over will make everything run smoother can be enticing, but this just causes you to go backward without anything to show for your work. Keep making forward progress, and if you run into a new idea, write it down and save it for later.
Focus on your core mechanics. Got some cool gear you want to give a character that will give them super cool abilities? What about some cool way to customize their appearance? While these are great ideas, they still are a distraction from completing your game’s core mechanics. Your core mechanics should be your main focus. If you feel that you are focusing on everything besides the core mechanics, then try to get back to basics. Without solid core mechanics, your game will never be fully developed and you will just have a bunch of items and animations without having anything for the player to really do. You can always add more content later, and there’s merit in letting your players tell you what they want in your game as well. After all, nothing is worse than wasting development time on a feature that might ultimately just be ignored by players. Save your sanity, and try not to sweat the small stuff too much.
Important Takeaways: Make sure to take care of yourself; it’s easy to get burned out in this line of work, and if you’re feeling too stressed, it’s going to affect the quality of your work. Make sure to take breaks regularly and try not to worry too much about whether or not you’ll be successful or not — just focus on improvement. During the development process, try to make forward progress and release a playable project. Resist the temptation to start things over, because doing so won’t make anything go faster. Also, if you find that you have a large number of ideas going through your head, finish the main parts of the game first, then add on extra content as needed. This also lets you avoid wasting development time on features that may be unnecessary.