When I first thought about tackling this challenge, I think I was a different person. I was negative and a prisoner to my depression. Sure, I wanted to devote this blog series to mental health awareness, and yes I love making games so I was expecting to have fun, but I had ulterior motives that I was blind to.
I was jealous and angry.
I didn’t know this going in until an incident on June 10th. I was upset with my stage in life, where I was career-wise, how overlooked I was at work, and how artists in my personal life didn’t take me serious. I wanted to show them what I was made of. I originally thought I’d prove my job that I was a worthy contender for a junior or associate game designer role, and I wanted the artists that I worked personally with to want to work with me even more. Deep down, and I didn’t realize this, I was letting my depression defeat me. It made me angry. I was viewing my self-worth as something only that job or those artists could give me. So, I worked extremely hard the first week and a half, losing an incredible amount of sleep to impress. I wanted validation. I didn’t know this, but that’s what I wanted most.
I was sleeping 2 hours a night for the first 10 days in order to finish a playable project, add art, sound, write the blog post, even make a video for non-readers, and finally I’d share on social media. I chose to neglect my health. I avoided the gym and I’d stuff myself with fast food. On the 10th day, I had maybe totaled 20 hours of sleep (I should have been at 80 hours), and I was out of my mind. I was obsessed with page views for my validation. My closest friend saw this and then realized how much of a mess I became. This friend stopped being my friend that day and left me to sit in the shit prison I made for myself. I lied to my friend prior to this project, and I lied to myself. I said I was doing it for awareness and for myself, to simply see if I could.
The day after, I decided to react. I got up, I bought a ton of vegetables, I grabbed my gym clothes, and I started a fitness plan. My depression had possessed me to push away the closest people in my life. It’s made me into a monster. I never do anything evil or criminal, but I’m a pain to be around. I decided to put my foot down and focus on my health. You are what you eat, so if my body is only taking in healthy foods, I’ll feel healthy. If I work out constantly, I’ll feel happier. If I sleep more, I won’t become the monster I’ve become in the past. I also decided to put my blog series in distant 2nd. I did always try to make a game a day, but rather than devoting 8-10 hours and no sleep to a project, I’d use 1-2. Often, I wouldn’t have art and sound, or I’d submit unfinished games. My blog entries all focused on my daily health accomplishments. And today, July 5th, I can say that my mission is working. I’ve lost 23 lbs, feel better, look better, and I got new glasses. I’m cooking more, making healthy meals for my family, and spending more time with my puppies. I’m trying my best to finally get rid of my depression, and in the process I’m creating the self-worth I lacked all along.
Shortly after doing this, I remembered what my blog series was supposed to be about. I was devoted to trying to challenge myself, learn new things, and have fun, while also making my happiness the number 1 priority. I mentioned this in every post. I want anyone who may come across the blog to understand how important mental health is. In the end, I was happy making games and I used the majority of my words to speak about mental health. I ended up doing what I should’ve been doing. I let go of the pain that I allowed my job or artists to give me, and I have been fighting as hard as I can to forever feel better.
I would consider it a success in that case. Maybe soon, “Anxiety Monster” will only be a name. I hope so.
Thank you all for reading. Please take care of yourselves. If you know anyone suffering from depression, know they can be helped. They can beat it. Sometimes you may not feel really helpful, but a simple “I’m here for you” goes a long way.
To any young designers out there battling depression, you CAN succeed. Keep making game after game until you get better. If you have questions, contact me. I’ll respond. I know the feeling. Things can feel overwhelming and impossible, but I know you can get through it like I’m doing.
Day 30 and Final Day
I spent the day devoted to my health and my happiness, but I managed to squeeze some time to make a game. I had plans to make something big, but I’d rather devote more time to that, without feeling the pressure of completing it tonight. Pressure isn’t always good. I have some great plans for July, so look for the games I’ll post then. Today, I ran with my puppies at the park, made breakfast and lunch for family, worked on the game, and I’m about to hit the gym and then celebrate the month. I saw a udemy tutorial about a skiing game. I gave it one glance and I felt I could try it out. I did manage to reproduce it within about an hour and a half. The game can be played with your mouse or even on a mobile device.
You have to drag your character (blue square) right and left to avoid obstacles as you ski down a mountain. You’re simply trying to gain a high score. The longer you last, the higher the score. The only difference my game has from the tutorial on udemy is that I’m lacking art.
That was the final project, but expect fully functional games WITH art in the coming weeks. I’m excited to reveal some projects that I hope you all play and maybe even download on your mobile devices. Please look forward to tomorrow for a recap of the A Game a Day project. It’s been a massive learning experience.
Thanks for reading these last 30 days.
Total time developing: 1.5 hours.
Today I made a Flappy Bird clone. I honestly always wanted to, so I can check that off. I found an easy to follow tutorial on how to create one with art even provided. The game works well, although it can use some collision tuning. For those that never played Flappy Bird on a mobile device, the game is about tapping on a screen to keep your character in the air as long as possible while avoiding obstacles. In college, a lot of us would compete for high scores. I’d love to expand on this maybe at some point.
As for the rest of my day, I did a great job. My health was number 1 priority as always. I woke up and went for a 30 minute run. Then, I made breakfast for my family, went to therapy, got my new pairs of glasses, made my sister some sushi for lunch, went to see Incredibles 2, cooked chicken fajita burritos for my family, made my juice for the next two days, and ran for another hour. I’m spent! I’m only up late because I wanted to finish my game. Tomorrow is the LAST day of A Game a Day after all. I’ll do my best to end with a bang. But remember, HEALTH COMES FIRST.
Additionally, today is day 20 of my health/fitness program. I’m happy to announce that I’ve lost 20 lbs. I feel a lot better mentally and physically.
See you all tomorrow for the final A Game a Day blog posting.
Total Time Developing: 1.5 hours.
Today I worked on another Udemy tutorial with my free time. I actually had a lot of downtime at work so I figured I’d tackle something. I didn’t even watch the tutorial. I saw the final game and decided to just try to make it on my own. I did. The only thing that doesn’t match is that the creator has nice art, and a title screen. I wanted to solely focus on making the game. I was successful.
In this game, you’ll see a big red circle and big blue circle. Additionally, you’ll see small red, blue, and purples circles falling in the top center. You have to drag the falling objects to their rightful color. For example, when the small red circle falls, you must drag it to the big red circle. If you miss, you lose. The purple ones will make you lose points, so be careful there. The goal is to see how high your score can be. You drag the falling circles with either your mouse of finger (if you’re using a mobile device).
It’s pretty early, but I’ve got a lot planned today. There’s an event with my coworkers. We’re all going bowling, getting out early, and then I’m going to an indie all-women wrestling event in Southgate. I hope I can squeeze in some gym time. I’m feeling pretty good right now since I’ve been drinking a lot of green juice and I ran at the park as soon I woke up. That’s 4 days straight. Additionally, this is my 19th day working out and juice fasting, and I’ve dropped 19 lbs. I can’t wait to see 20 lbs hopefully tomorrow.
Again, thanks for reading. Check in tomorrow for another game.
Total Time Developing: 1.5 hours
Today I focused on my health again. I ran in the park for some fasted cardio, I bought my veggies, completed my Japanese audio lesson, went to work, hit the gym during the lunch, back to work, made my juice for the next two days, and hit the gym hard one last time. I had very little extra time to spare, but I managed to do another Udemy tutorial to make a physics based blocks game.
The game looked colorful so I wanted to try it out. The rules are simple. You can either click anywhere on the screen (or tap via a mobile device) to create colorful blocks and earn points within 5 seconds. There are only 5 different colored blocks that spawn. Afterwards, the timer restarts, and a message appears to click a specific colored block, destroying it, and earning additional points. The game is actually only ten seconds long. Afterwards, it simply restarts.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll do my best to complete something tomorrow, although I have a very eventful day and night.
Total Time Developing: 1.5 hours.
Due to personal matters, I will not be participating in the A Game a Day project today. I will instead focus on my health.
Depression can be defeated. I believe it.
Today I won’t be submitting something, but I did get some cool work done. I was collaborating with my friend Allyssa, who was the artist for my first game. I developed a demo back in January for a game I also managed to make in a day. She was on board to be the artist for it. Today she sent some images and videos and it is looking pretty awesome. I did some editing to the controls, worked on a few bugs that I had ignored before, and helped write the menu screen. I’m going to be quiet about this game for now, but I expect to show it soon. I think it’ll be done a little bit after this blog series is over. I can’t wait to show it.
Today, I managed to once again focus on my health. I got a good night’s rest, woke up early, bought my veggies, went to the park and ran (yeah, I actually ran at 7am!), did my Japanese audio lesson, worked, went to the gym during lunch, back to work, made my juice for the next two days, and hit the gym again. Today I burned roughly 1600 alone on cardio and I feel really good and relaxed. Today is Day 16 of my workout program/juice fast and I’ve lost 15 lbs. It’s a bit freaky, but I’m happy.
Thanks for reading again. I hope to have something to show tomorrow. If not, I’ll definitely be working on a game.
Today I woke up really early and got so much done before heading to work at 8:30. I worked out, did my Japanese audio lesson, drank some green juice, and completed a demo for the game that I wrote yesterday. It took only about an hour and half. I’m relieved that I managed to do so considering that I have a busy night tonight.
The game doesn’t have an official title, I simply called it Cleaner Racing Demo. The game is a multiplayer game where players try to clean more of the map than their opponents by driving over it. I wish I was an artist because I wanted to use sprites that represented maybe a mop or broom, or anything that fit the theme. This demo just showcases the mechanics I shared yesterday.
The first player moves with WASD, while the second player moves with the Arrow Keys. W and the Up arrow key work as acceleration, S and Down work as break and reverse, and A, D, Left, and Right arrow keys work as steering.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to stop by tomorrow and see if I managed to complete a game with my extremely low amount of spare time.
Today I didn’t complete a digital game, but I wrote a brief document for a short and sweet multiplayer racer. The game is a reversed version of my color-based racing game, Colors Crossed. Two players compete as trucks (sprites taken from Colors Crossed) trying to clean up a larger portion of the map than their opponent. Simply drive to erase the top layer of the map, revealing an Anxiety Monster logo underneath. Unlike in Colors Crossed, where you can see your score reflected throughout the entire game, in this game concept the players won’t see their score until the end. So both players will race to clean most of the map, and find out who won after the map is completely cleaned. It’s a simple idea.
I didn’t find enough available time to complete this project, so I hope I can tackle it tomorrow. I made sure to once again prioritize my health and happiness. I walked my dogs at the park, bought more veggies, made two days worth of green juice, cooked for my family (camarones al mojo de ajo), then hit the gym where I broke my cardio record. I managed to burn off 1210 calories in an hour. I’m feeling drained right now and about to hit the bed. So, goodnight and thank you for reading.
Check back tomorrow where I’ll try to tackle this concept.