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How to Make a Game while Dealing with Illnesses?

A topic by Dandelion created 4 days ago Views: 134 Replies: 7
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Hi everyone. My name is Dandelion. I am looking for some advice. 

I wasn't sure where to post this, so if this is the wrong forum I apologize.

I am a digital artist and have been inspired to be a game developer for years now. I've messed around with all sorts of programs, GMS2 and Godot are the ones I'm more familiar with. Regardless, I've been learning to work with these programs for years. I've started my journey almost 8 years ago and never got a project complete. Not even a small project. I'm always bursting with ideas and I usually am motivated to work on them, but I have some set back.

I have CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and ADHD. Not only can I not focus on things, but when I do my body gets exhausted. Sometimes I am even confine to my bed and lay there with no ability to get up for awhile. It sucks because I either get severe fatigue or I just cannot for the life of me keep still and learn. Because of them, I'm even very forgetful and sometimes forget what skills I've just learned. Energy drinks used to help me with focusing, but now I have to watch my caffeine in take. I do see a doctor and a psychologist, take meds, and ect but this is something that sadly can't be cured.

What are some ways that helps you through tough times and through your illnesses to work on your game? This can be physical or mental health illnesses. 

What advice would you have to help me with my situation to help me progress on my own game? (More so question leaning towards those with CFS)

EDIT: Fixed my questions. Again sorry for the mix up!


Now when it comes to focus, I can lose it quickly too, but if I really am in a good mood to work, then things mostly work out fine. 

I have heard about CFS and you are not the first I meet with this syndrome, but I'm afraid I know almost nothing about it, but since this has little to do with development in general, but rather with a medical status, perhaps the best way to go is to medics, but also to people who suffer in the same way you do. I suffer from the Asperger syndrome myself, and speaking to fellow Aspies (and one of my ex-girlfriends being an Aspie as well) did help me a lot to deal with loads of things. And this basically goes for all medical conditions. Speaking to fellow-condition-havers can always be by fare more enlightening than speaking to medics does, and this goes for both mental as physical conditions. After all the only way to fully understand what it is to have CFS is actually suffering from it, but even then there might be aspects of your own condition you may not yet fully know or never thought about, and that's where people who suffer from the same condition can sometimes have good pointers. Of course, every person is different, so what works for them may not always work for you, but at least listening to how they cope with things, can sometimes give you some good ideas for what may work for you. It's one of the ways in which I explored the Asperger syndrome. That's the only advice I can give. It does not matter if what they do has nothing to do with game development, as you may still find some things they do to make what they do possible.

Now perhaps as somebody who has the habit of sometimes drinking too much coffee, I may not be one to talk, but drinking caffeine solely to stay focused is rarely the way to go. I prefer energy drinks only when I need to drive at night, to make sure I get at my destination in one piece, but since I rarely have to do such rides, the danger is minimal, but in your case I guess things are different. But if there's really no other option, you may wanna discuss with a doctor how you can go this in a relatively safe way, or if there are any alternatives. It's mostly not a good idea to see medical advice on an open forum.

And with that I've given all the advice I can give, I'm afraid. I don't know how many people you may find on itch who suffer from CFS, as well. Perhaps you should look up if there are any places where people with this syndrome seek each other, preferably in your neighborhood so you can meet them IRL (which often works better than over the internet). 

I really wish you all the best.

Ah apologies. I am by no means searching for medical advice. Or so, didn't want to come across as such. I was looking for more so advice from others like myself on how they work with working on a game despite their illnesses. My brain is a bit funky so I can understand if my wording came off differently. But I appreciate your insight regardless and again, apologies for the mix up. Thank you for your answer.


You might want to seek out solutions that have nothing to do with game making. Any activity requires some sort of focus, so it should be a general problem, and I would assume what helps someone to express art in a hobby with conditions such as yours, would maybe help in creating a computer game as well.

For computer stuff and a game project you can of course use time tested approach that anyone could and should use, regardless of any conditions: Divide and Conquer. Break down the project into smaller chunks. Finishing them should motivate you. And you know your own limits, so do not hesitate to break down small chunks into even smaller chunks.

Yeah +1 for divide up your tasks

I don't have ADHD but I can still sit in front of an open project and just stare into the abyss of all the different options and ideas and possibilities.

One thing that really helps me when this is happening, is to just WALK AWAY for a little bit. Going outside and just spending a few minutes enjoying nature, or doing some task that doesn't require a lot of critical thinking like washing the dishes, can be so helpful. Often while I'm doing that I ask myself "OK, what exactly should I be working on?" and try to come up with something concrete. Then I can sit down with already the thought in my head "I'm going to do XYZ", so I can just get right into it instead of spacing out or just endlessly "testing" my game while thinking of ideas.

Sometimes I find it helps to pick something really small and seemingly insignificant. For example, lets say I expect to work on a game for the next 2 hours. That's not a small amount of time and so right at the beginning of that time slot is when I might start wondering, what am I going to accomplish in the next 2 hours? This can become one of those times where I'm just spacing out, with too many options.

Instead, I'll decide to just start with one small task. Like, make a single sprite. It is not something that will take up two hours. But it at least gets the ball rolling, and often by the time I'm finishing that task, I have a better idea of what I want to do next. And if not, then at least I got one sprite done :P

With CFS, it is probably even more important to just work in small amounts and take a lot of breaks. Also, all people benefit from sunshine, fresh air, exercise, and good food, so get as much of that stuff as you can!

I can assure that there is nothing wrong with you - (the more I read about ADHD it seems to be just a description for a healthy person but that is a whole another rabbit hole 🤔)

I think in general we tend to forget just how big of a project a video game is - especially nowadays with all these tools around - it's easier than ever to a make one and everyone seems to be a game developer churning out great games everyday
and for many the hardest choice is where to begin - everyone wants to do it perfectly and get it right on the first go 🤔

but in reality successful games also have hundreds of prototypes and and many many less successful ones behind them
many of them are created in teams, professional talent with big budgets 
and of course the sensible answer - mentioned by other replies - is to work your way up from small projects to bigger ones
but on one hand that is boring and on the other hand if you asked what a small project is I wouldn't be able to give you a confident answer 🤔

anyway one advice I can give you that comes from experience:
it doesn't matter how much you work on a project or how big is it or what it is
the only thing you need to make sure is to work a little on it every day
and eventually it will be finished
(it will be only finished though - success, money and fame are not guaranteed 😓)

if you asked what a small project is I wouldn't be able to give you a confident answer

Anything that can be completed within 1 year :P

I tried to give myself a project that would take 1 month, in reality it took about 4 to 5 months. 

Another thing about length of time working... I have found that sometimes I get more done in 15-30 minutes when I know I have to do something directly after, than in 2 hours. But sometimes I would miss that opportunity because I would think "I can't get anything done in 15 minutes." Not true! You can get 15 minutes of work done... and since it is a small time investment, even if you don't get much done it's not a big loss and you won't be as burnt out.

Of course, if you are really needing rest then that is more important. But if you feel inspired and only have a short time frame, you might be surprised what comes out when you really focus for a short period.

I tried to give myself a project that would take 1 month, in reality it took about 4 to 5 months. 

I can relate to that experience all too well  😔