It happens to most of us from time to time and it's the worst feeling in the world. We're working along in our own beautiful and completely flawless world when, suddenly, something happens. Something bad. It could be a negative comment on your blog, getting stuck on a piece of code or game mechanic.. or just be a change in your external environment. And then, BAM, full blown depression.
You start questioning your project, your team member's motivations, your own skills and worth. And all that motivation and excitement you felt just 15 minutes ago is filled with complete dread. This thing you thought you loved is now something you hate and want to get away from.
And it's all a (y = -1x + b) from there.
I've been through it. I'm going through it right now. It sucks.
There are two things I suggest that you keep in mind. (And I try, myself, to keep in mind)
Also, when you're depressed, you want to get away from things you can fail at and you just want to sit around and do things unrelated to the cause of your depression. In my experience, doing something tangentially related helps. If reflecting on your project is too close to that kernel of depression, try experiencing something outside of that kernel. Reading, weed pulling, talking with friends, getting out. Getting away from the thing you're depressed about gives you perspective.
I have a couple of techniques that I use that tend to help me out. They don't all work all the time, but usually one will.
- Change your state
- Go to the grocery store/gas station/park. Say some words to people like "Hey, how's it going" or "Nice day, isn't it?"
- Buy a random thing at the store and consume it (this works especially well if that thing is caffeine based)
- I spend about 16 hours on my laptop a day. So, 99% of the time, I'm viewing my game in the same tiny box. Try hooking your laptop up to your TV and playing the full-screen version of your game there. If possible, throw it down on a tablet and see what it feels like there. Get your game somewhere else than you're typically used to it being.
- Sometimes I'll steal a meeting room at work and play around with my game on the 60" monitors we have. Sometimes folks will walk by and want to give it a try.
- JUST WATCH THEM. If they have questions, answer them.
- Watch HOW they play
- Watch WHAT they fail at
- Watch WHAT they succeed at
- Watch WHAT things they do that surprise you
I hope that something here helps someone who's going through a indie game-induced depression. It's never a good time, but if you're able to embrace and integrate it, it will make it less hard (not easier!) to get through.
Extra LevelsAlso, if you're like me and need to talk about stuff to feel better about it, I've created an irc channel:
If you don't have an IRC client, you can connect to freenode.net channels by clicking on this link.
I'm going to try to be in there all the time, but if I'm not, berate me on gchat or by email until I am.
 If there wasn't, then it's possible that you're working on a project that you actually hate. It's best to change the project (if possible) to something you don't hate.. or leave the project entirely.