Heya, it’s me again, the rambling game designer. I hear that we’ve had a bit of a hiatus in blog posts, mostly because the team has been very busy working on new content (our second ending is coming up!) and preparing for moving the office to a new location (I hear rumours about standing desks and air conditioning!). So it seems it’s time for yet another classic ramble from me!

Since a lot of what we’ve been working on recently is at least kind of secret (for now, there’s some fun reveals coming over the summer), I figured I’d write about something only tangentially related to our current project, but very much related to my work as a game designer: stage fright and performance anxiety.

Much of what I do as a game designer is communication. Any idea or design I have is useless unless I can communicate it to the rest of the team, and I do my best to bridge the gap between everyone’s personal visions and concepts about the game without overpowering creativity with my own solutions. Luckily we have a great team, and communicating within the group is easy, productive and often quite fun. But when I need to talk to people outside of our team, things get a little more challenging. 



I have a background in amateur theatre, I’ve ran tabletop RPGs for over 20 years, and I’ve even worked as a teacher and lecturer. So talking about our project (what I know best, at least arguably) should be easy, right?



Every time we record a developer update video I get irritable and a little shaky. Whenever I go online for a media contact (such as this podcast we recently visited with Jaakko) or an important call with a customer, I tend to put on cologne and an extra spritz of deodorant, even though the action is online and in reality I’m alone in my own home. This is nothing new, and things have been worse – I remember one time at a meet-and-greet in the Netherlands when my legs were so shaky after holding the microphone that I had to sit down in a corner for five minutes just to avoid falling over.

These nerves started to show only in my late twenties, before that I was entirely fine making an ass of myself on stage. I’ve been dealing with them for a good ten years now, and I pretty much know what to expect and how to handle it (partially thanks to therapy). I’ve slowly started to enjoy the rush again, and consciously try to put myself in situations where I know I’ll get a little shaky. I’ve never been much for speed thrills or dangerous sports, so maybe performing in front of people is just my way of getting the adrenaline flowing. 


All this of course means that I’m super critical of my own output in these situations, and sometimes stress for days about how I look or sound. I still cringe a bit every time I see one of the developer videos. But I guess it all sort of pays off in the end – one of our fans recently said in a Twitch stream that I make the game sound so fun in those little updates, and that comment really made my day. I was mostly just worried about whether my anxiety showed through, and how pale and uncomfortable I looked.


I’ve no real advice for anyone suffering from stage fright or performance anxiety, other than maybe considering talking to a professional, at least if things are bad enough that they block you from doing what you want. And I think it always helps to remember that other people are probably as nervous as you are, at least sometimes. Be gentle to yourself, and to others as well. 





Random development quote: “Onko nää paloturvallisia nää materiaalit? Kyllä, ne syttyy varmasti tuleen“.