Wednesday 3 October 2018

(Temporarily) Burned Out :(

Well, I've been working on WARP-TEK almost every day for over 3 months and now I think I'm getting a bit worn down.

My first reaction to even typing such a sentence is to say that "Hey you, people work for WAY longer than that and don't get burned out! Get back to work!"

So rather than just ignore it and run the risk of one of you evil little gremlins commenting something similar, I've got a few responses to that.

The most obvious one is that gamedev is creative work, and yeah I'm sure I could work a lot longer if I was chopping logs or delivering mail. Not that there's anything wrong with those jobs of course but they're more predictable in the way that the energy you need in order to deliver mail is physical and routine rather than the creative and unpredictable energy that you need for gamedev.

Creative energy is more tricky to recharge because you can't just "go through the motions" until you get it back. It's not possible to come up with ideas if you really hate doing it, that feeling will just block the creative flow.

Once the ideas stop flowing, it's really quite tricky to make them start again. I'm sure it's possible with practice and expertise but hell, I'm not the most creative person at the best of times, compared to other people I know who secrete new ideas at every waking moment.cough cough I know you're watching thi-

But the point is, there's a distinction between the traditional 9 to 5 office job which is definitely challenging and stressful in its own ways, but it's also potentially less prone to burnout.

The next thing to note is that my brain is not the same as the most workaholic brains out there- some people do work 11 or 12 hour days on creative works and it absolutely kills them but they're still able to do it, and in some way shouldn't I try to force myself through that to get this game out there? Well, the answer's no, I shouldn't because that's real unhealthy but more importantly does NOT make a good game.

Putting in more hours does not necessarily correlate to putting more work or especially not a higher quality of work. The highest quality work comes when you are well rested and thinking positively about the project, not when you're exhausted and hate working on it.

And again, contrary to what you might think, massive quantities of low quality work - as is the case in the 12 hour work day - does NOT make up for really any amount of high quality work.

So how am I gonna fix all this? Well, the usual plan is to take a little break and focus on something else. I'll still be doing YouTube videos and I suspect this break won't even last particularly long because I do want to work on it, I just can't make myself focus or enjoy it- at the best of my abilities, I'm still putting in low quality work.

Hopefully, I'll be back in under a week or so. I've known that I've been slowly careening towards burning out for a few weeks now, and I've delayed that for as long as possible with caffeine, vitamin supplements and some more experimental things. However, these aren't permanent solutions, they're just that- delays.

Maybe I need to make this video above all to just convince myself that I'm not just being lazy when I take a break from game development, because sometimes it does feel that way- but the brain isn't necessarily a rational machine and sometimes these lessons need to be hammered in a little bit.

But if there's one lesson I can impart to you kind viewer, it would be that burnout - at least temporary burnout - is for many people inevitable, and you don't need to feel the least bit guilty about realizing it and taking steps to fix it once it's happened.

So thanks for watching, and do genuinely stay tuned for more videos because I'm still doing YouTube even if the game development side of things is stalling for a little bit. Goodbye!

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