Where do you get your inspiration from

Hey guys

I've been away from the forums for a long time due to academic work, but I think it is time I make a return. Currently I'm designing and developing a 3D platformer to teach myself a bit more about game design and also Unity. I'm in a bit of a slump where I lost my motivation to do anything (Even playing games), due to a personal issue (Non-game related).

I thought I'd ask you guys for your advice on where you get your motivation from to work on video games.

Coding and games are two things that I'm very passionate about, so it is a bit odd that I'm so unmotivated that I won't even play games. I'm not asking you to solve my problem, I'd just like to know where you guys personally get your motivation from. I believe that your stories might help me to get out of this slump.

Nuclear Mosquito


  • Sorry to hear you've been through some rough times. I've personally found the "lack" of motivation not to be something that necessarily needs to be fixed with trying to find reasons to be motivated, but rather a symptom of depression. And I think depression's something you work through with a psychologist, or introspection, or medication, or some combination thereof. I don't think it's something to resent; I think it's a process you just have to work through, and emerge stronger on the other side.

    I seldom have lengthy, serious depression, but I do occasionally have shorter bouts that vary from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, and it happens often enough that I've played with it a little. :P I try to shorten my down time in a few different ways, though my own results have varied.

    Sometimes, I sign up for paid courses, where I have to do my homework in a set period of time. Knowing that I've paid money for the course, and that there'll be someone waiting for my work in order to give feedback is something that sometimes spurs me into action. Sometimes, I remind myself of how much time and energy other people have poured into me to allow me to be successful, and how my being passive and unproductive would effectively be letting them have wasted their time, and that guilt and anger drives me to work some too. Sometimes I spend a bit of time seeing what work people who're better than me are doing, and let my competitive nature push me to want to be better than them.

    Sometimes, if it's pretty bad, and then I loosen the goals I set for myself, and set easier goals. "Just sit down and draw for 5 minutes" becomes a goal, and if I only do that I count my day a success, regardless of whether the work looks any good. Sometimes things go well, and I forget the time, and hours pass, and sometimes I give up after 5 minutes in disgust. That's okay, the consistency of trying, to me, building the habit, having the "system", is more important than the result (until the habit is easy and I've built up enough emotional energy to aim for more difficult goals).

    I don't think any of those methods are necessarily healthy (I think they work for lighter, short-term bouts of passivity, whereas I think they might actually worsen serious depression), but something I've been trying to instil in myself is willpower to choose when to work (and also when not to work, without feeling guilty, because I think that's important too). If I'm going to be paid for my time (or have work that's good/valuable enough that it's worth being paid for), the work I deliver needs to be decent during that time. I can't deliver crap work just because I was feeling down, or wasn't inspired, and I think time spent working (even when uninspired) can increase the opportunities for inspiration hitting. (Time spent taking a break is important for increasing the opportunities for inspiration hitting too; I just don't think it's very useful if work itself hasn't been done, and "looking for inspiration" I feel is often an excuse for laziness, so I usually place less emphasis on that.)

    Good luck!
  • Sometimes, if it's pretty bad, and then I loosen the goals I set for myself, and set easier goals. "Just sit down and draw for 5 minutes" becomes a goal, and if I only do that I count my day a success, regardless of whether the work looks any good. Sometimes things go well, and I forget the time, and hours pass, and sometimes I give up after 5 minutes in disgust. That's okay, the consistency of trying, to me, building the habit, having the "system", is more important than the result (until the habit is easy and I've built up enough emotional energy to aim for more difficult goals).
    Thank you for the message, it really helps to know that other people have gone through the same situation and it really helps to draw on your knowledge. I'll definitely give the small goals approach a go as I can do that right now. Hopefully it goes well.
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    A solid response there by @Elyaradine, would just like to add that discipline can be a huge helper in those types of times. I studied through UNISA, it takes years of motivation and my life situation changed a couple of times during the studies. I found that allocating an hour each day if logistically possible or a few hours on weekends and doing work in that allocated time kept me performing regardless of circumstances. The downside of this is that it borders torture on bad days, but after a while the mind kind of molds into the routine and you begin to look at the task just like paid work, it has to get done.
    Thanked by 1Nuclear_Mosquito
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    I've adopted patterns to avoid the things that drain motivation. Before I list these approaches I have to point out that a remarkable accomplishment will never be easy or pleasant. If that was the case we would all be rolling out AAA titles.

    Have multiple projects and move between them to avoid becoming "fed up" with one particular thing.

    Keep your goals and milestones small and specific. A final project should be the culmination of several individual efforts. Don't look at the whole thing as a single mountainous task.

    Avoid work that is repetitive and monotonous. (Sometimes this can't be avoided, but always look for ways to automate a process so that you don't have to spend three weeks doing it manually)

    Don't reinvent a wheel. It's great if you want to know how to do/make things yourself, but if you already know how then consider that sometimes you can achieve a better result in a shorter amount of time by using pre-built assets that may already meet your requirements.

    Mix up your schedule... Some days, when I have an early success, I shut down for the night and go to bed, maybe watch a movie or read a book. I then wake up super early, excited to start on something new before the day even begins. Other times I work until 3 am.... and then take a nap on Saturday afternoons. Changing your schedule regularly prevents routine from settling in.

    From a life management point of view...

    Make time to have fun doing something new, or something that you haven't done in a long time.
    Make time for friends and family.
    (Very important) Take care of important external things that you may be procrastinating on.
    Do what must be done. Especially if it involves a hard decision. Don't make excuses to avoid doing something difficult.
    Take time to spoil yourself (retail therapy) on other aspects of life such as your environment, music, appearance etc.
    Go offline for a few days.
    Always remind yourself that you are the captain of your life. not a passenger.

    When we convince ourselves that we are victims of circumstance, too weak and powerless to solve our own problems... that's when we dwell in the pits of despair. That's when we hurt and suffer the most.
    Thanked by 1Nuclear_Mosquito
  • Hello @Nuclear_Mosquito, I highly recommend watching some of these Game Dev Motivational videos. I also went through a patch where I lacked motivation and inspiration to continue doing Game Development and these videos inspired me to start back up and continue working towards my dream. Hope they serve you well and good luck bro!

    Thanked by 1KleinM
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    I find something that can help me, that hasn't been mentioned yet, is working with another person. Generally when there is someone else who wants to see my progress, and who's progress is tied to my own (and visa versa), it's easier to get pumped to put time in.

    Surrounding yourself with positive people is a huge benefit. I'm definitely not as positive as I could be, but I do try be someone other people want to be around to feel more motivated, and I try work with people who do the same (or just are really positive and supportive naturally). Conversely, working with a negative teammate might be worse than working without them (regardless of their skill level) if you are sensitive to their negativity.

    There is a bit of a double edged sword here. It's easy as well to feel guilty when you aren't producing and there are people relying on you. I find it really only works when I'm sitting next to the person and they can see me working with them and they can get excited about even the little improvements in the project (like @Elyaradine said, celebrate small achievable goals).
    Thanked by 1Elyaradine
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    I'm sorry to hear you're having it hard at times. As you can see from the other posts, you are definitely not alone in this. Knowing that others are also experiencing problems similar to yours can be relieving but I feel it is also important to acknowledge that your problems are unique to you and that it affects your life in a real way. One can easily trivialize your own problems by comparing them to those of others which in turn only leads to crippling feelings of guilt and resentment. On the other hand, admitting to a problem also shouldn't lead to blame or beg for a solution. For me, struggling with motivation will be an ongoing process and something I am making peace with. Even finishing up this comment takes a lot of effort and discipline and there's no easy fix for it. That being said, I don't think one should ever stop trying to get by.

    Having a creative personality, which I suspect most of us here has, makes it difficult to be effective. Not only are creative personalities more susceptible to depression but any creative process is such a daunting emotional roller-coaster ride that it is sometimes easier to avoid altogether. Moreover, any time management advice, however good and necessary, goes against the grain of many such personalities.

    Forcing myself to take part in these forums is something I've identified that is helping me a lot. It's not as good as @EvanGreenwood's advice but I feel there's a similar social factor at work. There seems to be some thoughtful and mature advice given in the other comments. Try them all, but don't ever feel guilty for not succeeding. I hope you find your way out of this.
  • Hey there!

    This is something i can solidly relate to. I find i have all the ideas in the world but no actual motivation to sit and do these things. My main issue is always a workspace. get your stuff all set out and i'm almost positive you will sit down and prototype something at least. I tend to get distracted after work and then never actually get down to doing anything constructive. I also find going through pinterest looking at assets and stuff i might be able to use helps get the fire going. if you need any help on a project or some insight id be happy to help just PM me :) good luck and chin up matey!
  • Hello Mosquito

    I find that taking breaks from work can help. I often watch game trailers and read and watch game related interviews , and media.

    I watch these videos and I think: How can i achieve that at my current skill level. Most of the time I realize that to achieve what some developers have achieved , I need to know more. Wether it is texturing, modeling, programing, or anything, I get the motivation to learn something new.

    Every day holds different oppurtunities, and trying is half the battle
    Thanked by 1Elyaradine
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