The year 2019 has been a year of many new challenges for me.
Next to making games I had my first full time job at the Ministry of Defence as a programmer. With much appreciation I looked at my bank account at the end of every month to see €2000 appear on my account. I never had so much money at my disposal and didn’t know what to do with it. And I felt very appreciated for my work.
In terms of people. I felt like I was back in primary school as one of the little boys who looked up to the older children with much appreciation. One day I would be just like them and be able to do what they do! As I was one of the youngest there surrounded by grown men and women with the average age of 40. For my work I had to work with an incredibly big system consisting of more than 1 million lines of code. I never worked with something this big before. But still I managed to find my way and helped by solving 13 bugs and testing the system. And contributed to a safe Netherlands. But unfortunately I was also struggling with anxiety.
Almost daily I was facing panic attacks. Before things got worse and my anxiety grew into a burnout or depression I went in therapy. I also quit my job and allowed myself to work on my issues at my own pace. I have an anxiety issue. Which means I spend an unhealthy amount of time being in a state of unhealthy tension due to my behavior. I can solve this by getting better at regulating my emotions. I think regulating emotions is about peace of mind. This means being able to recognize and accept every emotion. And being able to easily return to some state of balance.
These days I am working on myself. And I do what I can to get better at regulating my emotions. Learning to take care of myself. Figuring out who I am. My goal is to have my own place with a dog. And to have a kind and fun group of friends. And a hot, fun, kind girlfriend.
I am leaving game design on the back burner for a time. If I come back my art will be better for the personal growth. If I don’t I am very grateful for my time in the game dev community.
I have so many good memories and I learned so many things about not only game dev but also about life and me and my capabilities. And last but not least for all the people who supported me and who I got to know.
The things that I learned I can recycle and use in other areas of life. By spending so much time making games and figuring out how to win the best game of the month competition on Kongregate with little to none experience. Making Tough Growth winning 2nd place and A Pirate and his Crates 4th place both in different genres, Action and Puzzle. With over 200.000 people who played my games. I developed a keen sense of thinking out of the box.
Which allows me to be a better problem solver. I learned how to tackle incredibly difficult challenges from little to no clue. And that with determination, a humble mindset to asking others for help and faith in yourself any challenge can be overcome by taking baby steps.
One of the most valuable things that I learned is how to learn and I am incredibly grateful for that, because I feel like this is the one crucial thing that education has failed to teach me and many other people. By making games that subtly guide the players to accomplish a goal and tweaking levels and playtesting hundreds of individuals and observing their behavior. I feel like I have developed a deep understanding of learning and I feel comfortable now that I can become good at any skill in life. Learning things in a safe environment, slowly introducing new elements. And taking baby steps in increasing the difficulty.
Understanding how we learn, being able to think outside of the box and a sense of self worth I’d say is what I got from spending about 5000 hours of my life on this journey.
Last but not least I’d like to thank in particular Jeroen Wimmers, Joris Roelofs, Ferdi Özgürel, Timo Visser, Lenc Chroso from the GDD discord server, the lovely people of the Dutch Game Garden for letting me showcase my games at their events. And the cool boyz CriPon3, Ducktective and Flamingomaster, from the Feather Hat Discord Server. I don’t expect much more activity from me in your channels for a time. Besides occasionally a girl from tinder having a peak in the Feather Hat Discord server xD. When trying to fix them by telling about how I used to be one of the best game designers in the Netherlands.