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  • Doing The Impossible: The Guts And Glory Success Story

    - Jedediah Steen

  • Maintain your health and relationships

    There's no such thing as balance... at least not while working full-time and doing game development. If you're going to try and make a career-change to full-time, independent game developer, you need to accept the fact that this will be a period of sacrifice. Even if you're lucky enough to be in a situation that doesn't require you to work a full-time job simultaneously, you'll quickly find out that building a startup-any type of startup-requires an extraordinary amount of time and effort!

    Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prevent burn-out or ruined relationships.

    1. Get good nutrition: What we eat can significantly influence how we feel. Get the junk food out of the house and make healthy choices easy to grab. Trust me, this makes a big difference in your productivity!
    2. Exercise regularly: My health declined sharply when I transitioned from being on my feet all day to a sedentary desk job. Get up once per hour and try to work out 20-30 minutes per day, even if it's only a brisk walk. An Apple Watch or other fitness tracker can really help with this, since it will give you regular reminders and motivations.
    3. Schedule sleep: Get your circadian rhythm on track by going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, including weekends. Avoid blue light right before bed as well, as it can interfere with your sleep cycle. Melatonin supplements are a natural way to help you fall asleep fast and get into a new cycle.
    4. Log your brain out: When you finish working on your game for the day, don't think about it. Log out. Your subconscious mind will continue to problem solve for you in the background, and you will be able to return to your work refreshed and more productive.
    5. Enjoy life outside of games: Don't neglect your friends, family, or hobbies outside of video games. Get outside. Explore new interests. Take your significant other on a date and make your relationships a high priority.

    There are many more tips I could discuss around this subject, but I'll leave it at this for now.

    Enjoy time outside games and watch your productivity soar

    Build a Showcase ASAP

    Before you invest months or years of your life into a project, you need to test the market and see if it's even worth pursuing, or needs modifications. The best way to do this is to either build a prototype, or build high quality art assets that showcase what your game is all about. Don't hide this gem in a hole in the ground, show it to the world! See what others think about it. Ask them to brutally critique it so you can improve it-or can it and move on to something new. It's better to cut your losses early rather than waste even more time on a project that's dead in the water. The only way to know if you're on the right path is to get opinions from your target markets as soon as possible.


    Building a game by yourself is hard work. Making that game a commercial success, while working full-time, going to college and raising a family is even harder. I've learned so many lessons from this experience that I could write a whole book about it, but I hope you find these condensed highlights useful.

    Thanks for reading and please help me share this with others in the gamedev community!

    Guts and Glory is currently available on Steam Early Access, and version 1.0 will launch on PC (Windows, Mac, Linux) and Consoles (PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch) Summer 2018

    Follow HakJak's game development journey at


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