Hey, Mark Lohmann here. This week, I want to share some of the new art I’ve been making, explain some stuff how and why we’re evolving as an indie-game team and talk about my personal life and mental health a little bit (which, one day you’ll see, relates to this game in deep and important ways)
First of all, the easy part, that doesn’t require many words, the art:
Tada! It might not look like much, but mind you, pixel art takes time. As time goes on we’ll keep adding details to make the world feel alive and in motion. Which brings me to my next subject: the way we work now as a game-dev studio.
I’ve sort of taken/gotten the role of producer in this team, which basically means that I have to structure the way we work. I prepare the skype calls and make sure we stay on schedule while we’re doing them, I create the events in the Google agenda and I try to keep the conversations open and honest. Honestly, a few years ago I would’ve totally sucked at this job, but ever since I got a live-band I’ve learned the consequences when I don’t take the lead and leave things unclear and what not. Basically, I had to learn to be structured. Since I consciously decided to take the producer role my life has changed for the better, which brings me to my next subject: my personal life.
MY PERSONAL LIFE (darkness ahead)
A few months ago, after years of negative self-talk and dark inner voices echoing in my mind-cave (that I have learned now weren’t even mine) I was literally at a crossroads in my life. It was another rainy, gray, terrible evening in my town Heerhugowaard and I was standing still with my bike somewhere. To the right was the road to the train tracks and to the left was the way back home, where I had work to do and a life to build. I was checking the schedules of the trains on my iPhone, not because I wanted to get on them but because the thought of going home and having to spend more days with the same hopeless feeling was way worse than jumping in front of a train. I know this game dev blog just got really dark, but stick with me, I’m writing this right now, so you already know what road I chose. There wasn’t really a revelation or anything, I just quickly rode my bike back home before I did anything stupid. That evening did make me realize there was probably some stuff I had to change in my life, starting from the inside.
And omg, there was a lot I was just not doing right with my mind. It kind of baffles me that “learning how to keep a mental hygiene” isn’t a standard thing at every school. Seriously, I was doing so many things not right in there and I had been doing it for so many years that it was hard to get rid of. It’s sort of like letting the water you swim in getting more and more toxic until you don’t know any better and are just in a constant unconscious state of unhappiness. It was only when I stepped out of that shit that I saw how bad it was.
Luckily, just as I started to learn these things, I had to be a more “together” person for our game dev team too. These days, I track what I eat, I consciously work on good habits, I meditate, I say and think positive affirmations at least 3 times a day for 5 minutes. I chose role models that have a positive and productive outlook on life, I speak my mind and try to do this in a compassionate non-judgemental way (not speaking your mind can also really make the water around you get more and more terrible because nothing really changes for the better). Since then I’ve made tons of new friends, had awesome nights out, talked with cute girls (normally I’d feel like I wasn’t worthy of talking to girls at all), even scored a few numbers. I’m not afraid to take small risks, don’t overthink anything until my mind tells me not to do it, bought flowers for my grandma without feeling weird, stopped thinking about my ex in lonely moments and I found city I would like to live in one day, and I’m taking steps to make that happen. Basically, taking any steps in bettering yourself and your life is a reward on its own because it gives you a sense of hope and direction while the results are slowly but surely showing themselves in all different parts of your life.
For anyone reading this who is also in a dark place, I hope you’ll believe me that Hell has ladders, and there is a way out of it. Start climbing, and you’ll find yourself in a whole other world without having to move an inch. 1
A few other specific things that helped me:
- School of Life (tons of great videos that could help you understand yourself and make you aware of things people are going through.)
- Toggl (maybe you shouldn’t go as far as me, but I try to track everything I do so I have a clear view of what I’m doing wrong or right. I only spend 5 minutes in the shower these days where I also brush my teeth, instead of standing there for 8 minutes unconsciously)
- Awaken The Giant From Within (I know, I know, fuck self-help books, right? Maybe. or you could try to let go of that cynicism that is so popular these days and just try it.)
- RSDTyler (take from it what you want, the basic things are: he does meditation, realized he can win at life even though he’s a, and I quote, “short, balding ginger guy”. In this society we’re often led to believe we’re not happy unless we buy this or that, or look like this or that, but he’s breaking those rules and you can too.
- I want to say this again, MEDITATE! it’s not hard, look for ways to do it online, download an app, but be consistent. Nothing happens after you’ve only done it for a few days. Keep at it.
- Yoga With Adriene, (start with the 30 days yoga challenge to get a good starter guide, again, keep at it, take time for yourself, you deserve it, even though your negative self-thinking might tell you otherwise or feel cringy when I say “you deserve it”, that cringe is probably that same voice that’s bringing you down.)
- HASfit (find a consistent scheme that works for you, and keep at it. Honestly, making pixel art is a lot more fun with a 6-pack. Kidding, but seriously, staying fit is super important <3 .)
HEY! If you are thinking of suicide or anything, please look for professionals to talk to, they are always available everywhere. Or start a chat with one of them here.