Someonebored in a desk with the text How to Keep Working on Your Game When You're Not Motivated

When starting a new game, your motivation is high. You feel like you’re on top of the world and can accomplish anything. However, as time passes, it gets harder to stay motivated. Work and other life events get in the way. There are a million and one things you’d rather do than sit in front of your screen and code or design. “I’ll do it tomorrow, ” you think. Lo and behold tomorrow comes, and you say the same thing.

Eventually, you have a portfolio of unfinished games just taking up space on your hard drive. If you want to get these games out, follow these tips below.

Look at the Small Picture

This is probably the opposite of every piece of advice you’ve received. People keep harping on the big picture. Well, what if the big picture just looks too big? It’s easy to lose motivation when the task in front of you seems impossible. For example, maybe you have an idea for a fantastic first-person shooter game, but it just seems like so much work from the 3D modeling to coding, not to mention level design. When you think of all the work and time that goes into a full game, it seems impossible. You’ve already lost before you even started.

So how do you combat this? Focus on the small things. Break up your project into manageable parts. Also, remember that you don’t have to do everything yourself in the beginning. There are many 3D models you can use for free in your game, so you don’t have to be an artist to get started. Take one small step at a time. Once you get started, you’ll realize it’s a lot easier than you first thought. Plus, completing a task will give you a sense of accomplishment that will motivate you to push forward.

Plan it out

Like with anything in life, you need a plan to be successful. While it’s tempting just to jump in and start creating, if you’re just making things up as you go, you’ll end up with the dreaded feature creep or a game that’s full of mechanics, but just isn’t fun. Sit down and consider your game. What genre is it? What makes it unique from other games? Why would people want to play it? What kind of art makes sense for it? And so on. The more planning you put into the game, the easier it will be to create it

Once you have the plan in place, make sure your work area is always tidy before you start developing. There’s nothing more distracting than a messy desk. So keep it clean and only have the necessary items in your workstation before getting started.

Recognize when you’re more active.

Are you an early bird or do you hate getting up before 10 am? While most people might suggest doing game development in the morning, the advice isn’t ideal for everyone. Personally, I’m most active after 12 am. I tend to focus more, and I’m far more motivated. Plus, everyone is already asleep at that time, so I can work in peace.

Try to recognize your peak time of productivity and utilize it if possible. Of course, if you have a day job, you can’t stay up until 3 am working on your game. Otherwise, your regular work will suffer. Instead, try to get started a little earlier – say 10 pm. For those with families, the best time to work is when the rest of your family is asleep. This way you don’t have to deal with any distractions.

Know when to stop

Some days you might be so motivated that you work for hours on end. And while that’s great, you also need to worry about burn out. Set aside a specific amount of time to work on your game. It could be anything from 30 minutes to 3 hours. Once you’ve reached that time, step away and take a break. Remember, it’s healthy to enjoy other hobbies and go out with friends even when working on your game. A change of scenery might be just the trick you need to solving some bug or issue you’ve had. Plus, hanging out with friends and doing something else can help re-energize you.

How do you stay motivated during the game development process? Tell us in the comments below!