Burned out from game development?

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by SteveZ, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. SteveZ

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    A developer spent many months developing a game. Then, the title launches and it gets a burst of sales for the next few months. During that time, the flow of PR and reviews are coming in, to the excitement of the developer.

    But after that period is over, when the news fizzles, the game gets buried from other announcements, and the passive incomes slows down steadily, the developer starts to think, 'this game can't support me forever, so I'm going to draft up and work on the next game'. And this cycle repeats.

    Do you ever feel burned out from this cycle of making one new game after the next? If so, how to you deal with that? To most, I know it beats working long hours for an employer, but I'd like to hear your thoughts as well.

    -Steve Z.
     
  2. Jack Norton

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    Being burned out is NORMAL. Every devs I know had such moments. I too basically did nothing for 10months in 2007-2008 when I relocated. The cool thing about niche games is that during that period the monthly revenues were quite constant so I wasn't worried at all.

    Considering the games you made you shouldn't be too worried financially either ;) I think you should just relax for some time like take a 100% away from computer holiday.
     
  3. Indinera

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    I must be special, I never really feel "burned out".
     
  4. PoV

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    Yeah, I too think it's pretty normal. I wouldn't say I have a solution, short of just accepting it's just how things happen. I wouldn't dream of scheduling a project to start full time development immediately following another one. If you can pull it off, then great. But I know what I want is something like: Take a year, and break it up. 4-6 months of that year is spent developing something, then the remaining 6-8 months is spent marketing, slacking, relaxing, and thinking about the next one.

    So yeah, that means your choice of project(s) for a year should be potentially profitable enough to support you the year. In other words, bank some money during the good earning projects, so you can have some lacking ones. Rinse and repeat.

    Well, that's how I'm thinking at least.
     
  5. electronicStar

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    I think I can understand how one could get burned out with this model. The problem is that you have to wait several months between new projects, more like one year between games or something like that.
    You should be working constantly on new games or games experiment because if all you do is slaving on the same game for months, one game at a time, it will be more work than fun and you might grow old and lose your initial interest in games.
    You could try to design little games/prototypes for fun, just to keep your curiosity/interest alive. Or whatever other creative process, whatever keeps your mind active.
     
  6. jcottier

    jcottier New Member

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    Then you'll never finish anything. The reality is that games take ages to finish.

    JC
     
  7. zoombapup

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    YOU MIGHT GROW OLD?? I already am!! :)
     
  8. Indinera

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    Me too...... :(
     
  9. hddnobjcttmmngmntmtch3rlz

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    Well all I can say is keep up the good work. I'm about 3/4 done with Enlightenus. I will soon add the "you win" screenshot to our wall of "beaten" games here in the office!
     
  10. Sharpfish

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    I concur... :D
     
  11. ChrisP

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    I don't think the idea is to finish any of the prototypes, necessarily... just mess around with them until you get bored and then drop 'em. The objective is to recharge your batteries, not to ship another product. Obviously you have to make sure you don't keep doing this forever... :)

    As a bonus, it still counts as productive time if it's spent prototyping potential ideas for your next game! (In a no-pressure, just-tinkering kind of way.)

    If tech is your thing, you could also prototype some cool tech instead of a game. Go implement that nifty-but-useless AI thing that you always wanted to try out, or pick something neat from GPU Gems 3 to implement and play around with. Whatever floats your boat.

    Obviously this doesn't work if you don't enjoy tinkering with stuff for its own sake. In which case, take a break and do something you do enjoy.
     
  12. Nexic

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    My solution to this would be to make a game that will support you forever (or at least the next 5 years). Though I don't think that's realistic for a casual portal title.
     
  13. Jack Norton

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    Translated=make a MMO :D
     
  14. Roman Budzowski

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    Not necessarily. Don't forget that games are not the only way to make money, so if you have spare investment cash you can invest it and it will increase it's value while you are working (or not) on games. Invest now and cash out in 5 years from now and you'll be happy :) Investments (alone) will not feed you forever too, but can give you back up money until you release next game.

    cheers
    Roman, happy investor
     
  15. Escapee

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    For now, I really don't buy into the whole long term investment thing because as a retailed investor or institutional investor, you are really at disadvantage by going up against highly sophisticated traders/manipulator, Naked short sellers and the infamous high frequency traders/"Flash" trader from powerful financial houses (GOLDMAN,etc).

    JP Morgan: High Frequency Trading a Form of Parasitic Market Making


    My personal suggestion is trade your way out if you have plenty of time and luck to spare (for detailed chart analysis, following major news and etc). Ride with the big guys if you can't fight them.

    Many of the oriental super rich actors/actresses lost millions last year (to people who sold it before the crash:D) after the credit bubble popped and had to cancel their early retirement plan.

    Japan's Stock market was at the highest 40K 20+ years ago, now it's at 10K. .... Hmmm...

    In mandarin(Cantonese to be precise), Stock market has the same sound as "gamble or guessing" ...... Hehehe....
     
    #15 Escapee, Oct 1, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
  16. Roman Budzowski

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    I'm not in long term investment too. That's why I said cash out in 5 years. That's when we can expect another stock market fall. But just because long term investment is not so great doesn't mean you have to avoid it. And now it's the time when it's quite save to invest your money into stocks or similar things.
     
  17. Escapee

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    Somebody from RBS just issued a major crash alert for this winter (another black October?). So who am i supposed to believe ? Hahahaha....

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/...sues-fresh-alert-on-global-stock-markets.html

    You did sound very confident when you suggested " cash out in 5 years. That's when we can expect another stock market fall." didn't you ? :D :D :D

    I'm in Gold BTW.. looking to get into paper(commodity based) if there is another kaboom u know. Nobody can predict the future for sure... Not even Gerald Celente ( the guy who forecasts "the greatest depression" for the next few years ) is right all the time.
     
    #17 Escapee, Oct 1, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
  18. defanual

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    Prolong the life of your game(s) by selling premium content, add-ons and services...

    There's always another way ;) You could take the 'software as a service' approach, meaning a game's run is much longer then just release, sell and forget about it.

    Many AAA games (although sometimes out of necessity because of growing cost's rather then smarts) currently do this with DLC content (checkout Burnout paradise as a great example of extending the life of your game, epic with the Unreal tournament games or wolfire games as an indie example who seem to sell a game that's forever 'evolving yet unfinished' in a service fashion successfully) and there's absolutely no reason why indie devs can't or shouldn't adopt the same approach, in fact it may even make more sense for indies to do so as we possess the most flexibility.

    Of course, you need to select project(s) that can take advantage of this method successfully in the first place and best to factor it in from the beginning (mostly easier then bootstrapping old projects). It's similar to the 'microtransactions done right' theology except your not really required to be micro, online or web based (although it may work better in some scenarios in this case).

    This is one way of beating 'that' cycle as your improving and adding to what you have already created. This also provides less chance of burnout because your workload will likely be much lesser.
     
    #18 defanual, Oct 1, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
  19. Roman Budzowski

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    Don't believe analytics. That's rule #1. Believe in yourself. If analytics were right we wouldn't have crashes. Of course markets may fall down a bit and if you want to invest today and cash out tomorrow you may be at risk, but if you want to cash out a bit later than tomorrow, say 3 months+ you are safe (unless you are really really unlucky :D ).

    Rule #2 - newspapers always make things look worse then they are in reality.
     
  20. Escapee

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    You do sound like a very confident investor and have all these interesting rules that i don't necessary agree to :p .

    I think it can be better or worse.

    Fact : Most of the mainstream newspapers and mass media were all still bullish about real estate in US/UK before the total meltdown.

    Well, good luck to your investment. I'm just here to share the other sides of the stories as you 're were so sure of the ROI after five years in this very interesting time. Nobody know for sure whether the dollar credit bubble will be reflated or not. There are many wildcards in play, the China factor, new invention that changes the world, oil price factor, Mideast etc. If you are right with the timing, then congrats but don't get overconfident. ;)
     

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