Having doubts and stress as a developer

  • I've lately been feeling a lot of stress and doubts as a developer, and I'm hoping I'm not the only one who gets these sort of feelings. I don't get them often but I do and sometimes it's just enough to make me pause. One of

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    really resonates with me, specifically after the 3:15 point.

    Sometimes I think my efforts to develop a game or keep going to push out a finished product or prototype isn't worth it. Having people part of my small development community (whether on Discord or elsewhere), ones who came because of my development work, having them leave...it kind of stresses me out. Makes me think I'm a hack...I'm a fake...I'm not good enough...my development work is not good enough. Having people leave my patreon (which primarily exists for my programming endeavors) gives me the same anxieties.

    There's also a semi-personal programming deadline I've sort of been feeling. A pretty bad one, like a weight crushing myself, making me feel like I can't breathe at times. I had people waiting on me for a finished prototype and I had been lagging. Especially since I had a project that was beyond the feature-complete milestone and it wasn't long before it would be out, supposedly. I could make the excuses that my sleep habits or laziness makes development more difficult but I don't want to do that, as true as it is. Maybe I shouldn't be as hard on myself, though and just take my time when doing development work. It'll be done when it's done, right?

  • then quit

    or change something

    pardon my accent, I'm not a native-speaker

    I can share some experience that I received during many years of experiments and research on how stuff works

    when person sits in front of computer for long periods of time, it creates certain imbalances in mind and body

    certain type of depression comes

    It is better to work for 30-40 minutes, then take a break for 5-15 minutes

    you can google it: "pomodoro technique"

    It gives better resistance against mental tiredness

    Also nutmeg(1-2 teaspoons)+milk+honey gives great resistance (without milk&honey numeg doesn't digest properly)

    I know it may sound like a superstition or yet another grandma's home medicine, but nutmeg works miracles if one knows how to use it. Instantly you will feel the result.

    Bacopa monnieri is also pretty strong.

    Also improper sleeping keeps person depressed.

    Brain is able to fully rest only from 20:00 to 23:00.

    It's better to go to bed at 21:00-22:00, or even a little earlier.

    If a person does not sleep properly, he can't avoid depression in one way or another.

    For dinner we shouldn't consume heavy food like meat or grains. It can't be digested properly during night time.

    It heavily undermines health, worsens microflora&blood composition, leads people to depression.

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  • It really helps to split things up into manageable tasks, but you have to be realistic, and even over estimate the time needed.

    Nothing ever works out as easy as we expect, and working from home you are guaranteed to have some distraction.

    You'll be surprised how nice it feels to finish a simple task, and even better when something actually does go better than expected.

    This works even better when you tie it into other daily tasks like exercise, which is something you should be doing anyway.

    Basically look at this as taking care of, and even improving yourself rather than just making a game.

  • I think you need to go away for a week so you relax from everything. I'm part of a 4 people team too and if the main developer is stressed out I'm more stressed out. Before we used to work like crazy. All nighter kind of thing and even if we agree of not working during the weekend, you still go in and do some work. I know the feeling but you've got to give yourself a deadline. It took me 2 years and the Indie company i'm in has been making games for 6-7 years. 2 years to train myself; get up, leave, sleep, you can do that the next day. we tried organizing but at the end of the day, 10 tasks done, ticked and there's like 20 more to do. It's just not enough. One thing I learn, hardcore, is that you can never manage your time. let it go, just do your best. take a rest, sleep more than 8 hours on the weekend. do something on a weekend. but if the project needs you to work late, go for it. just don't do it everyday

  • I've lately been feeling a lot of stress and doubts as a developer, and I'm hoping I'm not the only one who gets these sort of feelings... Makes me think I'm a hack...I'm a fake...I'm not good enough...my development work is not good enough.

    You certainly aren’t the only developer that experiences these emotions, in fact I’d say it’s par for the course for independent creatives, as Jake’s video illustrates. We’re all prone to imposter syndrome (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome) - some it afflicts harder than others. I’ve been in the industry for a couple of decades now, and I still experience these insecurities on a daily basis - in fact I've recently been going through a similar dip to you that I've just begun to surface from.

    I’d wager that you’re currently stuck deep in the bowl of the Dunning-Kruger effect

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    - you’re aware of just how much work needs to be done in order to master this art of game development but undervaluing the competence that you’ve gained so far. Use this awareness to drive self-improvement and remember that the path to success can be trod with little steps as much as it can with giant leaps - it’s not a race, it’s a journey.

    Sometimes I think my efforts to develop a game or keep going to push out a finished product or prototype isn't worth it.

    This is something only you can decide. Ask yourself honestly what you hope to achieve - what counts as a win? Is it actually going to intrinsically reward you to complete the project or has it become a millstone around your neck where finishing it will merely be unsaddling yourself of a burden? Do you look forward to the next project or dread the onset of new set of self-inflicted tortures?

    If your long-term objective is to become a commercially successful developer then every project completed will increase the chances of that happening, but be aware that this is high risk - the competition is fierce and few get rich. If, on the other hand, you develop because it satisfies your interests/passions (for me, game development scratches too many creative itches to drop it, regardless of my success - or lack thereof!) then maybe you need to reevaluate your goals and focus more upon the process than the end product. This may mean stepping back from full projects for a while and learning some new skills or doing some experimenting with features of the platform that you haven’t explored.

    Having people part of my small development community (whether on Discord or elsewhere), ones who came because of my development work, having them leave...it kind of stresses me out. Having people leave my patreon (which primarily exists for my programming endeavors) gives me the same anxieties.

    Followers in your communities will come and go - that’s something that needs to be accepted. It can be incredibly demoralizing when there is an exodus, but in your case it seems like you know at least some of the reasons why this is happening, which gives you the opportunity to rectify the situation. I guess my advice would be, “Confess! Confess!” Be honest with your community, strike a new deal that’s more realistic (if that’s an option) and most importantly keep communicating even if you have little to show, or the news is less than positive. People don’t like being kept in the dark. More followers may leave but at least you’ll be regaining control of the situation. The world doesn’t end.

    I could make the excuses that my sleep habits or laziness makes development more difficult but I don't want to do that, as true as it is.

    If it’s true then accept that these are issues affecting both your mental state and performance and ask what can be done to change them. Remember that you’re not set in stone, you’re a malleable being that has the potential to improve your situation and modify your behaviour. Treat them as bugs to be fixed and try out different solutions until you find something that works. Easier said than done, I know - habits are hard to break, but are often best beaten through incremental change; lasting solutions rarely take hold overnight.

    At its worst laziness can be masking depression (and if you feel that might be the case then it's always worth seeking some professional help) but often it is an avoidance tactic. I try to overcome this with productive procrastination: I recognise that I’m being lazy in order to delay dealing with a seemingly insurmountable task, then I consider all the other associated tasks I could do instead that would be still productive and make the mountain ahead less of an ordeal - could I build a few art or audio assets? Maybe organise my file system? Write a bit of narrative or simplify some code? I chip away around the big task and often in doing so it seems less of a hurdle, plus it gives me time to reflect on new approaches. Doing 50% of your intended work is always better than doing 0%.

    Being a solo developer can be a demoralising experience, especially if you spend a lot of time by yourself, caught up in the whirlpool of your own thoughts. You’re doing the right thing in reaching out. As others here have said, make time to get out and socialise - chatting to friends and family can help put things in perspective and recharge the batteries.

    Hope that helps! <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile">

  • Don't worry because I feel the same way you do. I had a great idea for a website and started making the concepts. While in the process of making a website I feel doubts because it is an entirely new concept that may not work. But in the end I still continue making it and asking everyone's opinion and from there I got the impression that I'm on the right path. My advice to you is you ask for the opinion of others and you will have a great result.

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