Since this blog series is supposed to be a map of things that I want to take away with me and perhaps refer to at a later point in life, I should tell about the most interesting thing that happened to me. What pushes a first-year student to write an extensive Post Mortem of a whole year of studies? No, it’s not an iron discipline or a desire to be productive 24/7. I could be doing other things or not do anything at all, yet something compels me to write down anything that comes to my mind and reach out people with my thoughts and be willing to hear their thoughts. This isn’t a common behavior for me, personally. A week before GGC I felt miserable, yet now I feel more alive than ever. So, what the hell happened?
A short (yet very complicated) answer to this would be this: I might have found God (or maybe god?).
Now that I, hopefully, have you intrigued let me explain with a longer answer.
Ten weeks before the GGC I joined a group to make a game for the expo. I felt optimistic and was full of hopes. By the time the GGC started I was mentally crushed into what I can only call a state of mild depression. All I wanted to do was stay in bed or, even better, get drunk. This state is what I based my concept of group harmony off. Obviously, there were problems in the group project that went unresolved that were influencing the state of my mental health. And I assume that after the project was finished I would have gotten back to a normal state. Then what does God has to do with anything? It’s because of what I felt during GGC and how it influenced me. Let’s start by saying that I thought that GGC was great!
- I got to listen to different speakers who came to check out student projects. I was especially moved by the example of how games can tap into deep human emotions like grief.
- I got to see the craft of my fellow students and admire their achievements. I was happy for them being recognized with prizes during the award ceremony.
- I witnessed that my game that brought me so much unease was recognized as a part of the GGC2017 showreel.
- And during the GGC I figured out what the problems of our group were. This is important because rather than just moving on, I had objective reasons for our struggles.
- And when GGC ended I had a chance to talk to many talented people with whom I have barely exchanged any word over the course of the year. I experienced a sense of unity with these talented people and wanted to be a part this collective that reassured me that my work had value.
All of this together combined resulted in a feeling of exaltation that lasted at least for a week. But I also think that all this can be illustrated for a better understanding.
This is based on my theory about team harmony/disharmony but on a scale of a single person. And I am not a phycologist, so don’t take this too seriously.
If my unhappiness was based on the group work than it is possible to assume that once the group work end I would have eventually gotten back to my normal mental state, maybe fast or maybe slow. But the point of the release itself was the GGC where I was able to safely say ‘I am done with this project’. But instead of just recovering my balance I got a boost of several positive influences. This resulted in a sharp difference between feeling awful one day and feeling extremely happy the next day. It is this contrast, without a slow transition, that exploded my head.
I would keep telling my roommate how happy I was for several days and when I described this to a Liberal Arts student he said, ‘It sounds like you found God’. I am not a religious person but I thought that it sounded very poetic. And how cool is it to tell people ‘Why am I in the game industry? Oh, no big deal. I just found God there.’
And that is how I ended my first year as a game designer and why I wrote all of these blog posts. It was the contrast of having no ideas for weeks and then having my mind flooded with ideas and thoughts 😀
Thanks for reading!