Today I found out the studio I work at is shutting down and that layoffs are on the way.

There’s a lot of studio closures and layoffs in the game industry. It can feel like we’re yet another headline in a sea of headlines.

So, while the attention is on the Tectonic studio, I wanted to say my piece.

Here goes:

🙏 TO THE TEAM

Thank you to all the teammates I worked with in the trenches at Tectonic. Thank you for teaching me patience and resilience.

Thank you for sending flowers when a loved one passed and celebrating with me for the birth of my child. It meant the world to me.

Thank you for teaching me hard things. Thank you for fixing my messy scripts. Thank you for giving me feedback and critiques.

Thank you for showing me better ways to do things.

Thank you for supporting my ideas and allowing me to collaborate on yours.

Thank you for continuing to work on the game, even on this day.

🙌 TO THE PLAYERS

Thank you for supporting Life By You.

Thank you for your direct and honest feedback. It changed the game for the better, when our voices alone couldn’t.

Thank you for all of your input. It helped us advocate for the changes we believed in.

Thank you for welcoming us into the Life Simulation community with open arms. What a beautiful and diverse group of fans.

Thank you for giving us the chance to build this game for you. I hope that one day you will get to experience it for yourself.


If you need great talent to join your game studio, look no further than the fine folk at Paradox Tectonic.

Thank you!

Just discovered my favorite UI principle.

Act on press.

Why it matters: When interactions “do the thing” when the input is pressed, instead of on-release, the interaction feels more responsive.

Deeper Dive: See John Carmack’s thread.

How To Work On Your Game For 30 Minutes

I wanted to work on my game. Actually, no…

  • I NEEDED to work on my game.

A Month had gone by and I had made close to zero progress.

There was a month left of development and I was no where near releasing something onto my itch.io page.

If I could just sit down for a little bit and work on my game, I could make progress. And, if I could make a little progress I could feel excited about working on my game again.

  • I could build some momentum.
  • And If I could build some momentum, there may be a chance I would release my game in time.

But, I couldn’t do it.

I even negotiated with myself. 30 minutes is all it would take.

I told myself, “Work on the game for 30 minutes and the rest would take care of itself.”

But, I couldn’t get myself to do it. Why?

The problem is that I had built this game up in my mind to the point that it was intimidating.

My vision was so far ahead of my execution, that I became paralyzed. I believed that no matter what I did next, it would fall short of my expectations.

And the truth is, I wasn’t wrong.

I was going to sit down and work on my game and it was not going to turn out the way it was in my head.

It was going to be imperfect. No two ways around it.

And there was the obstacle. Looking me right in the face.

I was being a perfectionist.

And so long as I was going to be a perfectionist, this game wasn’t going to get made. Period.

I had to accept that it was going to be imperfect, no matter what I did.

But, how do you stop being a perfectionist?

It’s not like some switch you can turn off. Especially if you’re the type of person who needs to feel like things are in control. Ha! Good luck.

I needed to get through this inner obstacle if I was going to sit down and work on my game for 30 minutes.

So, I made a plan.

My plan was: If I procrastinated because of perfectionism, I would tell myself “imperfections are my unique style.”

This plan made a huge difference.

It reminded me that embracing imperfections is what makes something unique.

In the end, I’m happy to say I got myself to work on my game for 30 minutes. And I’ve used this tactic to help me do it again.

It seems like a small win, but I hope you can find the time to work on your game for 30 minutes.

Layoffs have been straight devastating to the game industry.

Yet, when I look around at the game dev community, I see passion, talent, and creativity burning hotter than ever.

I’m inspired by the resilience I see around me.

Just stumbled on this quote and it got me thinking.

“No matter what the work you are doing, be always ready to drop it. And plan it, so as to be able to leave it.” ― Leo Tolstoy

I find myself sometimes clinging to things past the point where I should have let them go.

🧘I thought it would be good to formalize my mental health toolkit.

This process keeps me going:

  • Meditate every day for at least 10 minutes
  • Workout 20 minutes, 4 times a week
  • Create something for 20 minutes, 3 times per week

Total time required:

  • 30 minutes per day
  • 3.5 hours per week

Receiving feedback made easy:

  1. Assume positive intent.
  2. Appreciate all feedback. Say thank you even if you don’t agree.
  3. Accept or discard, but always consider it deeply.

This simple process elevates your creations and builds collaborative relationships.

Here is the key to compelling games!

It’s not just about mastering design techniques. Observe the behavior and emotions you enjoy in your favorite experiences.

How can you get the player to feel those too?

🕹️ I impusively signed up for a game jam

It was probably not the best idea. I have a newborn, and I’m helping the studio I work at launch its first game in the next couple of months… so time isn’t something I have a lot of.

Anyways: I decided to make a card game for the Godot Wild Jam. The theme is “Train”

  • I established the data structure for shuffling and dealing out the deck of cards
  • Picked the color palette for the game
  • Got a basic visual representation of cards to show up on the screen

The Concept: You’re a personal trainer for trains.

  • Your goal is to help them get fit by helping them shed their extra cargo
  • You’ll play cards and powerups to help them lose the right amount of cargo

Next up: I gotta work on the functionality for allowing the player to play cards.

🕹️ Clarify your game design with "If-Then" thinking

Why it matters: Gameplay becomes stronger when you talk about it the same way players talk about it.

  • If you drink the potion, then you heal” (Every game ever)
  • If you rest at a bonfire, then it unlocks a checkpoint” (Dark Souls)
  • If you throw your axe, then you can press triangle to recall it” (God of War)

Pro tip: “If You” is one of the best ways to start a gameplay concept:

  • If” implies choices and possibility
  • You” puts the player at the center of the design

This method serves as a way to check how intuitive the concept is. If it’s confusing as a sentence, it will be confusing as gameplay.

Yes, but: Add a “but” at the end of the statement to introduce a twist to the concept. The Dark Souls example becomes, “If you rest at a bonfire, then it unlocks a checkpoint… But, it also respawns all the enemies in the area.”

Bottom line: Good game design starts with clear and easy-to-understand concepts.

I started working on a roguelike for the Playdate 🕹️

  • I’ve always loved fantasy consoles and the constraints that come along with designing games for them

🕹️ Game Design Tip: “If the player doesn’t see it, it may not exist.”

Why it matters: If you have something in your game that the player can’t perceive, those areas may not benefit your design.

Learn more: Ep. #236 of the Game Design Round Table with designer Tanya X. Short of Kitfox Games