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Mental Block. Nightmare or Opportunity?

When your work involves creativity or even if it doesn’t. Eventually, you’ll get stuck. It’s not a possibility, it’s going to happen. Sooner or later you’ll need to get around a mental block.

This happened to me last week. If you read my last post:

Side projects, the forbidden fruit of Indie Game Developers

You’ll notice it lacks imagination as well as passion. I also couldn’t sit my self to write last week for the life of me. I was redesigning a very important scene in the game and wasn’t getting even close to a result I could be happy with. (I can proudly say now, that the new design of the Secret Library is awesome and soon we’ll be pouring art over it.

So, what helped me to pass this block?

  1. I increased my physical exercise  routine. I needed to relax and do something that uses a different part of the brain. So I played more Tennis, walked more and stretch more.
    With these change of routine, the rest of my brain rested a little bit.
  2. As I was getting ready for Ruta Hack, I had to make a new GDD, a new project and a lot more. That helped me get away from Guardian of Lore and realized that helped me a lot! As I was putting too much pressure on myself to deliver the best game I could design.
  3. During Ruta Hack I coded fast & furious to achieve a polished game at the end, which we did, but that helped as well, as I couldn’t think about nothing other than  the project.
  4. The most important one. I had a design already finished to deliver to art. But I wasn’t happy about it. I knew I forced the outcome, I  knew it wasn’t my best possible outcome. More than that, I wasn’t happy with what I was delivering.
    So, I saw this as an opportunity. I decided to start from scratch. I trashed everything I had worked on for this scene and started over. There are no words to describe the result. I’m so happy I did this…

Back to basics

Another way to overcome mental block is to know the basics of Game Design and remember them as you design.

The best example I can give you is the MDA Framework.

Most people with enough passion and who has played god knows how many games in their lives, can design a game by hearth, instincts or natural abilities. The problem is to make the next game. That’s when technical knowledge is worth the money spent on learn it.

When imagination must be forced to finish something, it’s harder than it sounds to finish that project with a product you can be happy with.

Making a game is not just drawings with a bunch of code throw at it. It’s about providing an experience. That’s why thinking about the MDA and how it fits in the vision of that experience is so important.

I remembered this, and realized that the new design HAD to provide the feeling of being a mystical place, where the Guardian Lives, where knowledge is kept, and of course, make it a place that make you eager to explore.

After a lot of research, some imagination and MANY secret chest we have a design.

Stay close for a screenshot of the result once the art is done.



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