Extra Credits - The Stress of Game Development - Tips for Survival

PyrianPyrian Posts: 295Member
So the image for game developers telling stories about getting in over their head is literally a picture of Warren Spector. XD -


  • RobrechtRobrecht Posts: 292Member
    So... Erhm... Not to beat the dead horse of 'EC isn't as good as it used to be' some more, but... Isn't all this advice on how to deal with stress points the exact same advice they gave on how to get started as a developer in the 'So you want to be a (indie) game dev?' series of videos?
  • TriboundTribound Posts: 132Member
    I think the worse thing about this episode, is the (rather big) bias it has towards successful developers. I mean yeah ok they deal with stress too, but when 95% of games are failures that means a majority of developers fall into the camp of struggling to make a living rather the privileged camp of having to deal with negative feedback and larger expectations. I don't blame EC too much for this though since the majority of their circle is made of successful AAA and hit-indie devs.
    "The worst thing about Kotaku are the people who hate Kotaku." -- Chaz, March 2016
  • PyrianPyrian Posts: 295Member
    Lol, true. Here's a tip for 95% of devs, here's a tip for the remaining 5%, and here's a tip for Notch. I dunno, stress management just isn't one of my game development problems. My daughters are WAAAAY more stress inducing, lol.
  • Brother_NerdBrother_Nerd Posts: 50Member
    @Robrecht Not seeing the episode you mean. Rewatching the applicable "So you want to be a" episodes and really none of them directly reference stress. "So you want to be an Indie" has a bit of overlapping advice, but it's more of a 'be realistic, kid' than a 'This is what stress is, and how to handle it.'

    @Tribound They actually do give advice to both, and in fact, the advice to the majority is in there first. It's more of a 'Was your game successful? No/Yes. If No: [...] If Yes: [...]' and the ways in which you may trip yourself up after actually being one of those mages who makes it.

    @Pyrian Everything is relative, my good sir. Do what you must within the bounds of law and morality to maintain thy sanity.
  • galdon Posts: 259Member
    Being an unsuccessful dev does seem, so far, to be way more stressful than being successful.  Back when I was doing random small flash games monetized through Mochi Ads, it felt like every game was hit or miss with no clear direction as to what would make the next one do better.

    When Mochi was killed by its parent company, that was a huge hit to my moral. Not only did that abruptly end my residual income from past mild successes, but replacement ad services did not pay close to the same rates. It was basically losing years woth of progress towards my goal of full time gamedev overnight.

    Comparatively, once I finally got a "real hit" about the only major source of related stress I've had has been from the nature of the game being such that I can't let my parents find out about it, which isn't a problem I imagine most game devs deal with. Been making enough via patreon to work on it full time, with this month's estimation saying I might break the 2k dollar mark. 

    Its actually a bit surprising since I've heard so much about how harsh criticism can get, but almost all the criticism I've had from almost anywhere has been given in a friendly and encouraging way and I havent been keeping to only friendly places. XD

    Couldn't watch the video yet since I'm on my phone but I'd say a big thing for dealing with the stress of being unsuccessful is to be flexible. Long term plans are good, but if the plan is derailed by something beyond your control you need to be able to get damage control and recovery plans ready so you have something to focus on besides failure.
  • TriboundTribound Posts: 132Member
    @Brother_Nerd that's not how it works. It's not the point that it's following an algorithm/flowchart, but that you can design and follow any set of if->then questions you want and the way they executed it was very biased towards a certain type of developers (successful ones) which misses the point of game dev related stress. 

    I mean just to talk about myself, the biggest stress is the massive uncertainty of success in a big picture sense and creating a community and hype around my game being the current smaller picture stress. None of those were really addressed in the video. Their only advice for unsuccessful devs was "lol tough luck, better luck next time." as if we're all just hobbyist and even have a chance for a next time try.
    "The worst thing about Kotaku are the people who hate Kotaku." -- Chaz, March 2016
  • Brother_NerdBrother_Nerd Posts: 50Member
    edited April 3
    @Tribound So unfortunately, that's just kinda how it works. You try, and if you fail, you could be fucked, like any business. Let's say you want to start a restaurant, and notice a location that you think is a solid place for it, wondering why there isn't one there already. So, you get the loan, you hire the staff, you get the setup you think you want, and even manage to squeeze in some advertising. Everyone on the staff has gotten excited, and it's your grand opening, and... nothing. It is but a trickle all day. You try to stay open, but it's just... not going to happen. Now you're over your head in debt and have to tell your employees that you've got to close down, because it's simply not going to work. What went wrong? Well, any number of things: You didn't advertise enough, your place is more out of the way than you thought, there's already a successful place nearby that's doing what you did that you missed or thought you could do better than.

    And yes, in this scenario, you will likely never be able to make a second attempt. Hell, you may have to file for bankruptcy. It's awful, it's infuriating, it's disheartening, woe to those with Depression and it's kin, as they will swiftly need all the help they can get.

    And sadly, making a game, you simply have to accept that you're in the same boat. But, there's something you can do: plan around flopping. A lot.The average person can't do this with a restaurant, but a game is a fraction of the cost to invest in. Sadly, as much as it  sucks, you simply have to base your strategy on releasing okay-good games over releasing bombshells. The reason why has already been discussed in other eps, which is: create a following. Get some loyalty.

    So, as frustrating, limiting, and depressing as it is, an entrepeneur of any kind must plan around failure, not just once, but possibly several times. If you only get one chance at being an entrepeneur, then this line of work, sadly, is just not for you. Not yet, at least.
    Post edited by Brother_Nerd on
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