Siralim 3: Goodbye Otherworldly Sigils, Hello Tavern Brawls!

I have some good news, and some good news. Which would you like to hear first?

“The good news, Zack! The good news!” you cry out, oblivious to the joke.

Alright. The good news is that the concept of Otherworldly Sigils didn’t really work out the way I wanted them to. They’re an interesting idea, and something I might revisit in future games, but they just don’t work very well in Siralim 3. There are countless reasons for this cancelation, but here’s the biggest one: they made me, as a player, feel conflicted – on one hand, I’m supposed to be handing out these Sigils to other people to help them find rare items or creatures. On the other hand, those same people are going to fight my team of creatures, and I need to make sure they die so that I can get rewarded. I could remove one of these two elements so we’re left without this conflict, but then the entire system feels really dull.

So why is this good news? Because we don’t want bad features in Siralim 3, right? We want to remove the bad and replace it with good. Hence, Tavern Brawls.

The Tavern in Siralims 1 and 2 was always pretty much useless. It housed the gambling dwarves and had a few NPCs to talk with for some roleplaying flavor, but outside of that, there wasn’t much going on. Thanks to Tavern Brawls, you might find yourself spending more of your time there than ever before.

So, first things first: you’ll need to unlock the Tavern. You’ll do this fairly early on in the game since it’s part of a story quest. After that, you’ll be able to complete in Tavern Brawls!

Each day, when you enter your Tavern, you’ll see 5 different NPCs that are modeled after other players who are also competing in these brawls. For example, one day, you might see Zack (a white cat, obviously) the Drunk (my carefully-chosen title that I unlocked earlier on in the game) with his team of Singular Diabolic Horde enjoying a beer or five with his favorite bar wench. You can challenge him to a fight.

In Tavern Brawl fights, your creatures will be scaled to level 100, as will their artifacts. Your perks, runes, cards, talismans, and other fluff is ignored for these fights – fair is fair, after all. Similarly, your opponents will all be level 100 as well. The goal here is to make these fights require careful thought and strategy, rather than allowing you to out-level or overpower this content entirely.

After you defeat all the brawlers for the day, you’ll earn some Bar Vouchers which can be exchanged for exclusive Spell Gems, among other prizes. These spells all interact with a brand new debuff: “Drunk”. I won’t reveal what this debuff does, but I’ll leave you with the names of two of these spells: Tartarith’s Bangin’ Bourbon and Yseros’ Godly Gin. I expect that players will be able to build entire teams that center around this new “Drunk” debuff.

In addition to winning some Bar Vouchers, your team will also be added to the pool of possible enemy encounters for future brawls. Similarly, after a certain period of time, old challengers will be removed from the pool in order to keep things feeling fresh. That way, players will always be trying to come up with new strategies to make these brawls more challenging for other players. If your team manages to beat all the enemies with ease on Day 1, they won’t necessarily have the same luck on Day 2. You’ll probably need to create several different teams in order to counter what other players throw at you.

Everyone will face the same challengers each day, so if you’re having trouble against a certain opponent, my hope is that you’ll strategize with your fellow players on Discord, our forums, social media, etc. It’s a tavern, after all, so what could a little social interaction hurt?

One other small feature I’m considering is allowing you to write your own line of dialogue that players will see when they challenge you. I’m hesitant to do that, though, because I know there’s going to be that one guy who links to a porn site or something stupid like that. I’ll see what I can do, though.

I was planning to announce this stuff on April 1, but yeah… no one would have believed me. Not even close. Either way, this feature won’t make it into the game before it is released for Early Access, but I wanted to announce this early on so you can all adjust your expectations accordingly.

So, what do you think? Are you excited for Tavern Brawls?

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Siralim 3: Singular Creatures

During your journey through the innumerable realms of Siralim 3, you’ll encounter over 700 different creatures that you can add to your collection and use in battle. In many ways, collecting these creatures is the main point of the game, and it’s been that way ever since the first Siralim game. In Siralim 3, however, when you encounter any of these creatures, they have a very small chance to be a “Singular” creature.

A Singular creature is the same as a normal creature, except it has a unique color scheme. Outside of that, Singular creatures have no benefits over normal creatures and are merely intended to give players something to hunt for even after they’ve completely filled out their bestiaries.

Here are a few examples of Singular creatures compared to their normal counterparts. Singular creatures are on the right, while normal creatures are on the left. Note that these palettes also affect each creatures’ overworld sprites, but those are not shown in this post.

 


Acquiring Singular Creatures

Normally, when you extract a core from a Diabolic Commander, you’ll receive a “Diabolic Commander Core”. But if that Diabolic Commander is Singular, you’ll receive a “Singular Diabolic Commander Core”, allowing you to summon a Singular version of that creature at the summoning brazier. You always have a 100% chance to successfully extract a Core from a Singular creature, even if you don’t have the Knowledge necessary to extract a normal version of that creature.

Creatures that hatch from eggs also have a small chance to be a Singular creature.

Lastly, Singular creatures are a great opportunity for us to host events and give them away as prizes to the winners. Since they’re so rare, players will be glad to receive one in return for participating in a contest, event, or even a holiday. For example, during Early Access, players will be given a free Singular creature just for helping us test out the game.

Breeding With Singular Creatures

When you breed two creatures together, the offspring will always be Singular if:

  1. The first parent you chose is Singular, AND
  2. The offspring is the same creature as the first parent.

Credits

Singular creatures wouldn’t exist without a few members of our community who created the palettes for us to use in conjunction with our shaders. Below is a list of people who contributed to this project, along with the number of palettes each person created. You can find an NPC in the library that attributes these credits just as they’re listed below. Since DragOhNite contributed the most palettes, he was asked to name this NPC.

A huge “thanks!” goes out to the following people:

DragOhNite – 426

Umaro – 264

bluequakeralex – 14

Gladiaterux – 10

Lumiriss – 9

DreamPrestige – 1

Zapzilla – 1

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Opinions Wanted: Monetizing Siralim 3

Before I say anything, let’s get a huge warning out of the way first…

Everything in this post is merely a collection of ideas I came up with while I was brainstorming. Nothing here is set in stone, or even planned to actually happen. I want to hear your opinions – no more, no less.

Now then, let’s get down to it. I’ve been thinking about some post-launch content updates I want to release for Siralim 3, and I’ve come up with a few ideas. Once all the bugs and issues are ironed out, I want to release a few large content patches for the game. Most of this content will be distributed free of charge, while the other part will cost a very small amount of money – $1 to $5, depending on how large the feature is. For example, maybe one patch will include 50 new creatures, 25 new spells, and a new gameplay system that is all free of charge, and then you can also pay $3 to access a brand new game mode or something like that. This is just an example, but hopefully you understand the idea behind it.

That all sounds normal and fair, doesn’t it? That’s completely reasonable for the Steam/Desktop version of the game, I think. However, this doesn’t work very well for the mobile market. People don’t want to pay a premium price (even $4.99) for a game and then also have to buy additional content after that. In fact, I don’t think the premium model works well for mobile games at all – most people just don’t want to pay ~$5 for a mobile game. I make very little money on mobile platforms compared to all the other platforms, so something is clearly not working there. That’s why I’ve come up with an alternative solution.

Imagine this: Siralim 3 is free for Android and iOS. Completely free, no bullshit, no ads. You get all the content patches I mentioned above for free as well. But there’s also a set of in-app purchases you can access called the “Cheat Shop”. This allows you to buy resources and other items with money, much like you can do with other games. Except in Siralim 3, you also have the option to make a one-time donation of $4.99, and the Cheat Shop will disappear from your game forever. In that way, you’re able to buy the game in the same way you did with Siralim and Siralim 2. That way, we can cater to both types of players: those who want to buy the game at a premium price and be done with it, and those who want to dive in for free and buy some items here and there to help them alleviate the grind. As an added bonus, this allows Steam/Desktop players to take advantage of our Cloud Storage features to play the game on their phones/tablets for free – that’s awesome! That means people won’t have to buy the game multiple times anymore.

Keep in mind that you could also just ignore the Cheat Shop entirely, and then you can just play Siralim 3 absolutely free of charge on mobile devices. That’s nice.

All multiplayer/pseudo-PvP content will be normalized (meaning any bonuses they purchase are irrelevant in multiplayer scenarios), so there’s no need to worry about anything becoming imbalanced on that end, even if players spend a lot of money on the game.

And lastly, because consoles take so much longer to develop for, I doubt Siralim 3 will be released on those platforms until the game is 100% done receiving content updates anyway. For that reason, this version of the game will probably just cost a one-time fee of $19.99 (for reference, it’s $14.99 on Steam) and you’ll get access to all the content patches for free, and there will not be a Cheat Shop.


Please think this over, then tell me how you feel about it. Again, this is not something that I’m even planning on doing yet because I want to make sure there aren’t any horrible flaws in my logic or anything like that. I also don’t want to completely offend the playerbase we’ve worked so hard to build up, so that’s why it’s so important to me that I hear your opinions first.

I’m also open to any tweaks you have to these ideas as well. Throw some ideas out to me, please!

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The Evolution of a Game: How Siralim 3 Was Born

For Thylacine Studios, last year was meant to be what is called a “growth year” in the business world. My goal was to devote most of my time to The Negative while I worked on a few smaller projects on the side. One of those projects is called Learn Kana The Fun Way!

… and I probably won’t be making anything like that again. I don’t even play puzzle games. I hate them. RPGs are my niche, both from a gamer’s perspective and a developer’s perspective, so I’ll probably stick to that genre from now on.

Another smaller project I had up my sleeve was tentatively titled “Siralim 2.5” – a sequel to Siralim 2, but not. The idea behind this game was that I would take Siralim 2 and radically change some core game systems that I thought could use some work. The changes would be drastic enough that I wouldn’t be able to simply release it as a content patch for the original Siralim 2 for fear that it would upset a lot of players. For example, I wanted to streamline the chef/cooking system since it turned out to be nothing more than an annoying chore for most players. The entire concept of Power Balance also started to feel like a mistake to me, so I wanted to remove that as well. But Power Balance is a huge part of the game, so that would take some serious restructuring and re-balancing to get things right. I also thought it might be nice to change all the NPC and player sprites, since let’s face it: they’re ugly. These are merely examples of some of the things I wanted to do for this not-quite-a-sequel.

But then, I also decided that Sigils could be more interesting. What if, instead of spawning a single battle, they created an entire realm for the player with a set of random properties? This could serve as the bulk of the end-game content for players. And in order to keep things interesting and allow players to always feel like they’re progressing, I could add a new type of item called Talismans which players can upgrade forever to continue gaining new benefits.

And you know what? The user interface could use some love. The base of the code for the UI was created when I had only been using GameMaker for about a month, so I was very limited with what I could do with it. A good example of this is the sound/music volume options – you’re presented with a list of 11 options numbered from 0% to 100% in intervals of 10% in order to select your volume. That’s ugly and unintuitive. I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal back then, but looking at it in 2017/2018 makes me realize just how awful it really is. So hey, Siralim 2.5 should probably feature a revised user interface as well.

Ah, and another thing that I count as a mistake: auto-casting spell gems. Players simply stack as many “Cast On Hit” or similar properties on all their gems, then mindlessly rush into every battle without caring about the party composition of their enemies. Personally, I was so lazy that I stacked 6 Djinn Pyromancers with as many “Cast At the Start of Battle” gems as possible, allowing me to steamroll my way through all of the game’s content. Good luck removing those properties without seriously upsetting 90% of your players, though.

I spent several months continuing to tweak systems like the ones I just mentioned before I realized something: I have almost a whole new game on my hands now. Slowly but surely, I’ve tweaked or overhauled almost every single aspect of the game: artifacts, spell gems, breeding, nether creatures, avatars, realms, gods, and so much more. The only thing that’s missing is a new storyline. And you know what? That could have been better in Siralim 2, so let’s fine-tune it as well in Siralim 2.5. No, no, let’s re-write it entirely, and add all new bosses, and…

And suddenly, I realized that I had accidentally created the plans to develop a full sequel to Siralim 2. That same day, I contacted the necessary people to get a whole new soundtrack, sound effects, graphics, marketing assets, and more… and then I started grinding away at the programming end of things.

Things have snowballed quite a lot since then. For example, early on in development, I decided that I should find a writer to create lore for every single creature in the game. That’s over 700 creatures. And I didn’t want some short, generic Pokedex descriptions like “Springtime Aspects often startle people by throwing coconuts at them”. I wanted some fleshed-out and interesting lore for players to really sink their teeth into – I wanted it to be something players could sit and read for hours. In the end, it was Umaro (an active member of our community) and his friend who stepped up to the plate and wrote over 55,000 words of lore for the creatures in Siralim 3. They completely exceeded my expectations on this front, and I cannot wait for you to read what they’ve come up with.


Siralim 3 is just around the corner for Steam Early Access, and late May seems to be a very likely release date. I can’t wait to share this game with you and improve it with the help of your feedback. Thanks for your patience and continued support!

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Siralim 3: God Shops, Emblems, and Achievements

Now that I’ve written about most of the major systems coming to Siralim 3, I’ll start talking about some smaller changes. For those who keep asking: I’m currently targeting late May for Steam Early Access. There’s always the chance that I’ll need to push it back into June, so this is by no means an official announcement for a release date. I just want to keep everyone updated on where we’re at in development.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about a few small changes that are coming to god shops and achievements!

In Siralim 3, you can purchase items from each of the 15 gods in exchange for Emblems. Each god offers a unique array of creatures, spell gems, runes, and other items. Unlike in Siralim 2, gods offer a diverse assortment of creatures in Siralim 3 and they aren’t all contained in the same race.

Emblems also work a little differently than in Siralim 2. There is now a specific Emblem for each of the 15 gods – for example, “Emblem of Surathli” and “Emblem of Torun”. You can only earn an emblem for a god in that god’s own realm. This is a very nice balance change, and also affects the way players approach the game – if you want one of Torun’s items, you’ll need to devote some extra time to the Cutthroat Jungle.

Achievements no longer grant Emblems. Emblems are simply found in treasure chests and other sources of loot in each realm. There are also a few other ways to earn them now, but you will consistently find them along with other items.

Instead of granting Emblems, achievements now give you something called “Achievement Points”. Achievement Points are a permanent score that shows how far you’ve progressed with your achievements. Each achievement awards a different amount of points, and obviously, more difficult achievements grant more points than easier ones. Achievement Points permanently increase your chance to find rare items from all sources. A player with 2000 achievement points will find far more items than a player with only 100 points. This should compel players to care about achievements far more than they did in Siralim 2.

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Siralim 3: Life Mage Perks

Welcome back! Last week, we revealed the perks for what appears to be the most popular class: Chaos. This week, we’ll look at all the Life Mage perks! Life Mages are all about survivability and sustention. They have the most powerful healing effects in the game, and have countless ways to ensure their creatures can survive even the most powerful of attacks.

Below is a list of perks that Life Mages can choose from. In italics, I’ve added my own commentary as needed. Numbers surrounded in {brackets} increase as you invest additional points into its respective perk.

  1. Power – You gain {1}% more power from battles.
  2. Healing Received – Your creatures gain {1}% more benefit from healing effects.
  3. Healing Given – Your creatures’ healing effects are {1}% more powerful.
    • This perk is particularly interesting because it enables a host of offensive options as well. For example, some traits allow your creatures to cause damage to enemies based on their healing effects, so this perk would amplify that damage significantly.
  4. Damage Reduction – Your creatures take {1}% less damage from all sources.
  5. Chastise – When your creatures heal an enemy, they instead cause damage to the enemy equal to {1}% of the amount of healing the enemy would have received.
    • See what I was talking about with the ‘Healing Given’ perk? These two perks work very well together.
  6. Overheal – Your creatures can trigger healing effects even while they’re at full Health.
    • This perk is incredibly powerful, but many people don’t understand exactly how it works. Normally, when your creatures would receive healing, that healing is ignored if the creature is already at full Health. That means that any on-heal effects and traits will be ignored as well. Thanks to Overheal, these on-heal effects will activate even if the creature is already at full Health.
  7. Luminesce – When one of your creatures are healed, and the amount healed exceeds the creature’s Maximum Health, store the extra healing in a Barrier. The maximum strength of the Barrier is equal to {1}% of the creature’s Maximum Health.
    • This perk combines quite nicely with the ‘Overheal’ and ‘Healing Given’ perks. Your creatures’ Barriers will be massive! And best of all, Siralim 3 introduces a few traits that allow you to use your Barriers offensively. Those traits will be more powerful than ever thanks to this perk.
  8. Spell Block – You have a {1}% chance to negate enemy spells when they are cast.
    • Simple yet effective, if this perk manages to stifle a massive area-of-effect spell even once per battle, you’ll most likely have the upper hand.
  9. Attack Block – You have a {1}% chance to negate enemy attacks.
    • Same idea as with ‘Spell Block’.
  10. Guardian Angel – When your creatures are about to die from damage, they have a {1}% chance to prevent that damage.
    • This is arguably one of the most powerful defensive effects in the game. It doesn’t matter if an enemy deals 5 kazillion damage to your creature with 10 Health – if Guardian Angel activates, that damage will be ignored entirely. This perk, coupled with ‘Spell Block’ or ‘Attack Block’, ensure that your creatures can avoid some serious damage. And if all these effects fail to activate, you can quickly make up for the incoming damage with your powerful Barriers and healing effects.
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Siralim 3: Chaos Mage Perks

Welcome back! Last week, we revealed the perks that will be available to Nature Mages in Siralim 3. This week, we’ll look at the Chaos Mage! Chaos perks focus heavily on boosting your creatures’ attack damage and making their attacks more powerful in various ways. Chaos Mages also capitalize on dealing critical damage with attacks.

Below is a list of perks that Chaos Mages can choose from. In italics, I’ve added my own commentary as needed. Numbers surrounded in {brackets} increase as you invest additional points into its respective perk.

  1. Brimstone – You gain {1}% more brimstone from battles.
  2. Critical Chance – Increases your creatures’ chance to deal critical damage with attacks by {1}%.
  3. Critical Damage – Increases your creatures’ damage dealt with critical attacks by {1}%.
  4. Attack Damage – Increases your creatures’ damage with attacks by {1}%.
  5. Magma Diver – Your creatures deal additional damage equal to {0.5}% of the target’s Current Health.
    • This perk is great for cutting through your opponents’ defenses. It is also an excellent choice to use against bosses who typically have much higher Health than normal creatures.
  6. Pandemonium Presence – Your creatures start battles with {1} random buff.
    • With this perk, your creatures can start fights with massive advantages. While some buffs are more useful at the start of fights than others, the prospect of starting with Shell, Invisible, or even Multicast/Multistrike is too good to pass up.
  7. Touch of Chaos – When your creatures attack, they have a {2}% chance to afflict the target with a random debuff for 1 turn.
    • As a Chaos Mage, you’ll probably build your party around creatures that do a lot of attacking. While they’re doing that, why not debuff your enemies at the same time? This perk could become pretty crazy with the help of effects like Multistrike (which you might gain from Pandemonium Presence!). This also means that some creatures like Plague Doctors and Masochists can really shine once the enemies have 10-15 debuffs.
  8. Mania – When your creatures cast a spell, {1}% of their Attack is added to their Intelligence to determine the damage dealt.
    • Your creatures will still need to cast spells every now and then, of course, so this perk will allow them to deal respectable damage with spells without the need for a high Intelligence score.
  9. Chaos Magic – When your creatures attack, they have a {1}% chance to cast a random spell.
    • This is just plain fun.
  10. Threat Signal – Your creatures’ Provoke command has a 100% chance to divert enemies’ attention.
    • This perk allows you to take control of battles by forcing enemies to attack whatever creatures you want. The possible synergies with this perk and your creatures’ traits are endless.
  11. Chaos Guardian – While your creatures are Defending, they have 100% more Defense.
    • This perk is a bit more niche than the others, but when combined with the right traits, it allows your creatures to become exceedingly powerful.
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Will Siralim 3, The Negative, and our future games be available on Nintendo Switch?

Many of you heard the good news yesterday – GameMaker 2, the engine we use to develop our games, will support the Nintendo Switch later this year! This means that we can easily (well, not that easily) port our games to the Switch. With that in mind, many of you are wondering if our current and future projects will be available on this console.

The answer is… hopefully. Nintendo is a lot stricter about which games and developers they allow on the Switch compared to other companies like Sony and Microsoft. The first step is for me to contact Nintendo directly and pitch my company and games. While I’m confident that this won’t be a problem, it is very possible that Nintendo will decline us.

If we’re accepted, however, I’ll start working on it immediately. Keep in mind that very few developers are actually using GameMaker to create games for the Switch, so I’m guessing there will be a lot of issues on GameMaker’s side early on. This means that I’ll have to report a lot of bugs, wait for them to get fixed, and repeat this process until everything works. For that reason, it’s hard to predict how long a port to the Switch will take. But either way, I’ll do whatever is necessary to get it all working!

I am still not sure if I’ll port Siralim and Siralim 2 to Switch. That would take a lot of work because not only would I need to port the game from GameMaker to GameMaker 2, I’d also have to port it to the Switch afterward. It might be a better use of my time if I focused on Siralim 3 and The Negative, then move on to new games. So for now, the answer is no.

Someone also asked if our games will ever be available for 3DS. The answer is no. GameMaker doesn’t support 3DS and most definitely never will.

Anyway, I’m very excited about this news and I look forward to the potential of getting our games on a Nintendo platform! Thanks to everyone who asked about the potential of a Switch port for Siralim 3 and The Negative.

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Maintaining motivation as a self-employed game developer

I’m normally not one to dive into topics like this one, but yesterday, someone who likely wishes to remain anonymous told me that they’re struggling to stay motivated as a self-employed game developer. I, like every other game developer out there, have struggled with similar issues at some point, so I offered my advice and they gladly accepted. I decided to post this information to the public in case it will help anyone else out.

I’m not claiming to be an expert on this subject by any means, but I’m now at a comfortable point in my career where my low-motivation days are few and far between, so I feel like I might have a few good tips to offer. Feel free to agree or disagree on any of these points, and if you have any advice of your own to offer, I encourage you to leave a comment at the end of this post.

I could probably write a book about this subject, but I’ll try to keep things clear and concise for this post. Again, this post is aimed at the self-employed game developer who struggles to maintain the discipline to work every day. We’ve all struggled with procrastination at some point, and others get so burned out by this that they stop development altogether. And even if you’re not a game developer, I hope you’ll find some of these tips useful. Let’s get started!

Make a checklist for absolutely everything.

And I mean everything. You should have a Notepad document open on your computer and smartphone at all times that allows you to quickly add and delete lines to keep track of your daily progress. Pick one day per week to plan out every day for the next 7 days. Add one task per line, and break up larger tasks to make them seem less intimidating. The goal is to be able to delete a line after every 15-20 minutes of work, so break your tasks up accordingly.

I add absolutely everything I need to do for the day to my checklists. Yes, that includes showering. It doesn’t matter what the task actually is, as long as it involves you doing something other than wasting your time on social media or watching Netflix.

Here’s an example of my checklist for tomorrow:

  • shower
  • brush teeth, floss
  • workout
  • walk the dog
  • write a chapter of my book
  • take vitamins
  • meditate
  • go to bank and make a deposit
  • read books [note: I read one chapter from each of these books per day. I just give each book a nickname on my checklist to make my life easier]
    • bach
    • money
    • mentors
    • meditations
    • knight
  • dishes
  • laundry
  • unity lesson [I’m a GameMaker user, but I’m learning Unity on the side for future projects]
  • implement runewords for Siralim 3 [This is a huge task, so I’ve broken it down. Runewords belong to 1 of 5 classes in the game, so I’ve decided to break this task down into 5 smaller ones]
    • chaos runes
    • sorcery runes
    • nature runes
    • death runes
    • life runes
  • design new Pandemonium Token effects for Siralim 3
  • implement new Pandemonium Token effects for Siralim 3
  • re-write looting script for Siralim 3

These tasks aren’t in any particular order. Order is irrelevant. I just want to jot down everything that I need to do; even the trivial things that I know I’ll do every day like take a shower. That way, I can pick an easy task, complete it, and delete the line. That gives my brain a tiny blast of endorphins…or dopamine, or really, who cares what it is. The fact is, completing one task drives me to complete another. And another. And yet another. And before I know it, my task list is done for the day and I can do something fun with my free time, guilt-free. And on a much larger scale, this snowball effect carries over to the next day, and I’m much more likely to complete my tasks for the following days and even expand my task list to take on more work over time.

Yes, this tactic is all about your personal psychology, but it works wonders. As an added bonus, you’ll never forget about appointments or deadlines ever again. When utilized habitually, the checklist is a life-changing tool. Give it a try for a few days and you’ll notice immediate results.

Start a morning routine.

Create a short list of things to accomplish each morning, and follow through with it every single day. These things shouldn’t have anything to do with game development – it’s all about getting yourself ready to have an excellent day. You’ll likely have a lot of overlap between this list and the checklist I mentioned above, and that’s even better – it’ll only help you to feel more accomplished early on in the day when it matters the most.

It’s important to repeat these steps every single day to turn them into habits. Here’s what mine looks like:

  • Wake up at 7:00am. [If you’re one of those people who sleeps for 12 hours until noon, stop. The earlier you can wake up without sacrificing your health, the better off you’ll be.]
  • Brush and floss teeth.
  • Drink a liter of water. [By the way, make sure you stay hydrated all day.]
  • Workout for 30-45 minutes.
  • Meditate for 10 minutes.
  • Start a pot of coffee.
  • Shower.
  • Eat breakfast and drink coffee.
  • Take vitamins.
  • Do the dishes.
  • Read for 45-60 minutes.
  • Learn Unity for 30-45 minutes.
  • Now that I’ve accomplished a lot, and my body and mind are primed and ready, it’s time to work!

Obviously, not everyone has time for all of this, and you’re probably not going to want to do the same exact things that I’m doing. Feel free to adjust your morning routine according to your own lifestyle. Just make sure you create a routine and stick with it. You’ll be much more likely to do more work if you follow organize and follow a schedule like this one.

Fight depression and stress.

Whether you’re suffering from severe depression or just a little stressed out, I believe everyone has at least a little bit of depression building up inside of them. It’s important to keep this depression away because it is what will ultimately rob you of your motivation. Here are some ways to relieve depression and get rid of stress. Ideally, combine all these steps to ensure you’re always feeling energized and upbeat.

  1. Stop ruminating. We all have a habit of thinking negative thoughts. What if my game doesn’t succeed? What if no one likes it? What if people leave bad reviews about my game? I didn’t get much done yesterday – I’m so unmotivated. Or, from a more “real world” perspective, you might be thinking about some injustice that a person did to you in the past. Stop it. Rumination is a habit, and a bad one at that. You need to break it. You’re wasting time dwelling on a past that can’t be changed. If you’re a chronic ruminator, this will be one of the leading causes of your depression and stress.
  2. Get some sun. I don’t have the time or space to give you the scientific breakdown about why sunlight is so important for your brain, but I know there’s not a single game developer out there that gets enough sunlight. This is awful for you. Try to get some exposure to the sun, and if you absolutely can’t do this for whatever reason, consider a Vitamin D supplement since I can almost guarantee you’re deficient, and that causes depression.
  3. Exercise. This is not an option; it is essential for both your physical and mental health. You don’t need to go to a gym or anything like that. Just go for a walk if that’s all you want to do. In fact, if you want to kill two birds with one stone, go for a 30-minute walk outside and you can get some good exercise while also drinking in the sunlight.
  4. Sleep. You’re probably not getting enough sleep. Shoot for at least 7 hours per day, and make sure you’re not waking up in the middle of the night. Your room shouldn’t make any sudden noises (so make sure you silence your smartphone) and there shouldn’t be any lights at all (including the LED lights on your alarm clock or cable modem). In terms of temperature, keep your room a little on the cool side – you’ll sleep better that way.
  5. Take Omega-3 fatty acid supplements. Again, there’s not enough room for me to break down the science behind this, but I’ll provide a link to deeper reading about this later on. For now, trust me that you need to find a good, Omega-3 fatty acid supplement. Some people are afraid to take these because they make you burp up strange odors, but if you shell out a couple extra dollars for a good supplement, this won’t ever happen.
  6. Social activity. I don’t care if you don’t have any friends. Go to the grocery store. Walk around the mall. Be around people and you’ll feel more energized. This will show you that there’s a much bigger world out there aside from the confinement of your little office room.

These tips were taken from a book called The Depression Cure. If you’re curious about the science behind these tips, check it out. And no, that’s not a referral link – I’m not writing this post to make 36 cents off of referral hits; I’m writing it to hopefully help others.

Meditate.

No, I don’t mean for you to sit on a cushion in the middle of a candle-lit room with your eyes shut and fingers pinched together. Of course, if that’s what you want to do, that’s fine, but I’m talking about something a little different.

It’s important to take a few minutes out of your day to turn off the phone, the computer, the television, and any other distractions and focus on yourself. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and slow your breathing for 10 minutes. Acknowledge whatever comes to mind. Don’t try to think about anything in particular – let the ideas come to you. I’ve found that this is not only a great way to decompress when I’m stressed, but also to come up with new ideas for my games that I would never have thought about if I hadn’t taken the time to give my brain the opportunity to think freely.

After 10 minutes are up, open your eyes. You’ll probably feel energized as if you just woke up from a nap, except you won’t feel like a zombie. You’ll feel rejuvenated and be brimming with creativity.

Cut back on drinking alcohol or consuming recreational drugs.

I get it: you’re stressed. You want to wind down at the end of the day. But in the end, alcohol and drugs are simply hurting your ability to produce. I used to drink heavily every night once I was done with my work, but then I realized how much it was hurting my business in the long run. It caused me to gain weight which sapped my motivation, health, and quality of sleep. It also gave me brain fog the next day. This caused me to feel very negative, so I’d drink some more to make myself feel better, and the cycle continued. It’s better to spend your time and money on something more worthwhile.


Hopefully you’ll walk away from this post with a few ideas about how to stay motivated while you’re working on large-scale projects such as video game development. There are countless other ways to become and stay motivated, but the ones in this post are the ones that worked best for me.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with any of these points? Do you have any tips of your own to share? I’d love to hear about them, so feel free to leave a comment here.

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