Game Development Roadblocks: When you feel uninspired

As a game development artist or just an artist in general, there comes a time we feel down in the dumps. Many times have you been calling it a day before you even started. Not in the mood to do creative stuff today. You start to think you lack inspiration or just too lazy. So how do you even begin? What to do to get your daily dose of creative juice.

I myself can't even count how often I've become painfully uninspired. It sucks. Basically it's like a game between you and your other lazy self. The productively artistic side of you should win the game. Not only that you need to draw stuff, there's a hell of programming you need to get a hold of. If I'm in this situation, guess what's the first thing I have in mind? These are the things I've experienced over again but it still work wonders.

COFFEE. You say, whattt?? Really, no joke. Coffee helps me a lot when in the “thinking state.” I don't know the science behind it, but I suddenly get a lot of ideas coming in from all angles as I drink. It's my go-to adrenaline. It boosts my critical thinking. Some people would probably think it's only a placebo effect, but hey, it works for me. Not to mention that I love the taste and aroma too.

Let's say I have a lot of ideas at the moment. The next thing I do is LIST THEM DOWN OR SKETCH THEM. All of them. No matter how impossible or insane it may be, just list or doodle it. I'm kind of traditional so I always bring a small notebook/sketchpad and a pen or pencil with me. Don't waste those ideas and later just become castles in the air. Keep track of them. You may not need it at the moment but trust me, someday, you might. 

Don't you find it boring to be in the same room for years, staring at your monitor all the time or working alone? Try bringing your laptop in a park or maybe a coffee shop (coffee is awesome, right?). At some point, you will realize that simple change of ambiance will refresh you from the current spot you're in. Try going there with friends as well. Misery loves company. Kidding.

Seriously, another thing and will always be a distraction while working is YOUR PHONE. Turn them off once in a while or put it in a drawer where you can't easily reach it. You will notice you can focus without much interruptions.

Check and get ideas from other artists' works. You don't do this to be discouraged. Obviously there are a lot of artists out there that have been in the industry longer than you were. Try not only to admire what they create. Look deeper. What's the artist thinking about why he made this and that? What's the idea behind the art and concept? The first time I visited cgplus.com and drawcrowd.com I was overwhelmed. Like I'm not a part of this league. The more I check artists though, the more I get inspiration from them. You will be surprised that later on you start to use your imagination more and turn it into an original piece. And of course, practice and more practice!

Get enough sleep. Well, as a freelancer, I often work more hours than I should be sleeping in a day, particularly when that freaking deadline is coming in close. I remember working straight for almost a day and my work has suffered quality. Try to get those in-between-naps even just for 30 minutes or so they help a lot. Don't push too much we do get mentally exhausted.

Aaannnddd...because I want to create games, I play other games! There's nothing more fun than playing games you like and get inspiration from them. I remember playing Tiny Toon – Bab's Big Break on Nintendo's Game Boy when I was little and it still amazes me everytime I get to see that again. Classic games are gold. Considering the limited technology and software they had a while back, they managed to make games that are fun and with great storylines and perfect soundtracks. I want something like that for GeekyGnomeGames in the future! Soon baby, soon. :D


The Bunker: GeekyGnomeStudios

A couple maya bird once built a nest in a Calamondin tree. It was after a month or so that the nest was fully completed. A few weeks after they had laid their eggs and stayed there for a month. "How peaceful their life was," I said to myself. Everyday, I wake up and walk around the house and I can see the nest in the center of the thorny tree which is also a few steps from our front door. It was easy to reach. However, I didn't do that. I became more aware and respectful of the things around me especially living things. I don't know why. Like you and me they have their own troubles in life. As much as possible I don't want to be a cause of their demise. 

As a freelancer for ages now, I wanted to build my own nest. More likely a studio is what I had in mind. However, it is too overused and I wanted to have a different kind of feel of my own place. I will call it - the Bunker. The reason behind is simple. A bunker is something that protects, like a shelter. I envision it as a safe place where I keep my trusted companions and intellectual exchange of opinions and ideas will most likely happen. Where brewed coffee and tea are served. Where we experiment stuff with our devices, software, and tools. Where codes hit the canvas as we speak and every line has a story to tell. I am at the edge of my seat. I can't wait to share with the world the product that is yet to be made. A few years or less my plan will run on the command line. Need to go the extra mile!

Weeks gone by but the nest was quiet. I was curious why I haven't seen the couple hanging around and inside that bundle of dead leaves and branches. I was a bit concerned the passing children may have noticed and probably played around with the eggs. Beauty gone in a brink. It's a shame I can't do anything. 

However this will not be the case with our Bunker. Tubes of steel and concrete above and below ground with strength of a million times stronger than branches and leaves. Only this time, no eggs will be laid, but the product of our own imagination. I considered trusted friends to join me, as I always tell them this will be done and this will become awesome. I have so much in store for GeekyGnomeGames which will be GeekyGnomeStudios in the future. As I draft the plan, I have gathered enough ideas to ramp this up several years from now. To simply put it GeekyGnomeStudios will be a small indie-pendent (see what I did there?) app and game development company. The certain drive and motivation of my team is to "create" and not to compete. We don't care about other peoples app or game, we only wish them the same success! We want to put into action the things that inspires us and work the ideas we have set to do several years ago. We need x and y to dance around the window of any resolution of any screen. I do foresee that GeekyGnomeStudios will not only offer apps and games. We want to show off as well because I am definitely certain we can offer more than what big companies can. 

It will come to a point that you will have to be aggressive to live your dreams. I have always been confident in what I believe and never lived a day without thinking of what things I can do and offer to the world. That is because I have already been in hardest times and I know how disappointing it gets but somehow, the greater my passion becomes. This is why I am creating the "bunker" not only to shield myself, but also to put things into perspective. Slow and steady, but winning the race.


Game Development: 5 important things to remember.

Maybe I should start with saying that getting into mobile game development is like baking a cake. You will either have a tasty treat or a devastating result, especially if you're a noob. Rather than to thoroughly define what is game development, I would simply say it's a creative way to create something that could entertain everyone with design and programming skills; or in my case - a way to challenge an artist's personal goal by creating a successful game. I can say there are those passionate ones who really create games and their codes are etched in their bones. Most of us, like myself do see the future of getting good money in your own creations, but that is honestly not my priority. But to have those perks in the long run is satisfying. Creating the best game and at the same time earning well is such a gratifying moment for a developer. Well I haven't been in that level yet, but sure enough soon is just around the corner. In that same context you would try to avoid creating shitty games, such as copied from another gameplay which I also did on purpose to experiment and I got my answer as well - a shitty result. Maybe those tricks had worked before but never again. The game industry is working like a woman's brain, trends change quickly before you know it.

I began creating mobile games with little knowledge of the industry. As a graphic artist I focus on the design aspects alone. However I do have a small programming background which I consider totally useless at this point. I know basic C++ and the game engine I am using uses C# or Java Script. Nonetheless, if you are devoted and confident you can create your own game and make it as your goal, you can do it! You just need to think out of the box. Like hiring people to work for you. In my case though, I have a bit of talent in designing, animating and conceptualizing a game. That deep experience is directly proportional to numbers in my bank account when I started GeekyGnomeGames. However since I really wanted to make my own game I managed to gather tools that I am familiar with. You know what I mean - buying all those software and to register an account with iTunes and GooglePlay plus buying license for the game engine. I will have to say despite all of that, don't let these things hinder you from moving towards your goal.

Let's say you got your game face on and you found the right people, tools, and skill sets you need and motivated enough to create something. By the way, you can always work alone - which I think is perfect as a start.

In my experience I will leave you these 5 important things to remember.

1. Be creative. Believe in your own idea. Have time to play as much as possible all games or even just popular ones and wonder why and how they are made. Understand the basics of the gameplay and start from there. The idea is to make something that will satisfy you yourself, as the creator of the game. If you are not enjoying the game you are trying to create don't expect others to enjoy as well. If you need to learn more, research on independent (indie) game developers. I am sure you will get more inspiration.

2. Think on paper. Make sure you write everything you have in mind. Whatever it is, may it be simple or far-fetched. The crazier it is, the better. This will allow you to remember everything, so make sure to write every detail. If you are clear on what you want for your game, you will definitely have it as you execute everything. You may think it's a bit of old school writing on paper but trust me, it helps.

3. Give way to experimentation. A flexible approach to everything will make it worthwhile for you. Work on the most brilliant and stupidest idea. Don't mind what other people say. They may hate it or like it but whatever. If you pull it off, they will still buy it!

(Here is one idea I might regret conceptualizing in terms of design. The code is a bit easy since shooter/puzzle games are quite common thus you can find a lot of tutorials. Embarrassed as I am now, it doesn't really matter. It's actually funny and even the title is quite disgusting. Anyway, you get experience points, if you know what I mean.) Warning: Avoid making games like this.

Don't download, just watch the Video here.


4. Work on technical stuff. I am not good at this but I am trying. You will find it very useful. Data gathering and compilation of the stats will be the blueprint of your business as a game developer.

5. Always take the time to have a break from your own games and play other games as well. Be open to possibilities of studying the complexities of another person's work. Try to remove competition in your mind once in a while. As long as you instill a sense of competition, you will never fully understand what creativity means.

Hope this blog helps you!


Little World Escape

GeekyGnomeGames as I call it, was created 2014. I was inspired to make my own games and I did. Not only that, I was born in an era of gaming. NES, Atari, arcade games and awesome stuff that is much different from what we have now. That urged me to “create.” Aside from getting through some earnings in a game, it was not my priority. I think at this stage I only want to experience creating games alongside with people I trust and share the same endeavor.

We made Little World Escape as our first release for GeekyGnomeGames and I'm proud to say the graphic with this is really good with the planets completely done in Blender 3D and the characters in vector 2D. We also used Unity engine for this game. The game is available in IOS(AppStore) and Android(Google Play). It has a very simple game play. The main character is an astronaut that jumps onto different planets. As you jump from one planet to another you will be collecting stars which you can use to purchase different types of planets in the game. You can also unlock the other character in the game. Sometime in the game you will meet the crazy alien who will do nothing but annoy the crap out of you. However if you run towards it, it will run the opposite way, giving you a little space to time your jump to the next planet. Sounds pretty simple but it’s really hard. The gameplay is pretty much a combination of ideas from some games out there, which honestly is not what I want for all GeekyGnomeGames creations in the future. It's hard to actually think of a “unique” gameplay considering there's a gazillion of mobile games coming out every minute or so. Others will always think, “Hey, it's a ripoff of this, a copy of that blah blah.” But later it's a huge reward if ever I can come up with something cool that even I can't believe I did it.


The first part of the plan is to create a game and research the back end area. I was very lucky to have friends who are game developers. You should also check out some of the games they created. It is found in this link: toothpiggystudio.com.

Rough things aside, I am working few ideas of a new game which is far from what I have started. This would totally rock everyone by surprise. It's very far from the short game we are having now and it will be available on steam as well. Everyone in the indie games world support is much appreciated! Cheers!