A sneak peak into Happy Doggo dev days
Happy Doggo turns 1
How it all started with a definite happy end
It's a delight to say that happy doggo turns 1.
1 year into not so serious indie development and playing with Unity is becoming quite a serious dog business. Happy Doggo is growing up. Happy Doggo turns into an adult dog (or half adult).

1 year ago, Happy Doggo became real. I remember the moment, when I was sitting there, trying to overcome the fear of posting the Happy Doggo logo to Instagram, to make it real, to make it visible to the world. Most important, to tell myself that I started making games 4real.

It was somehow easier to tell that I'm the happiest and loveliest animal on Earth, and not Sofi Naydenova, an illustrator without any experience in game development. Because dogs are happy and playful and excited and grateful for everything. I wanted to be like that at this moment in my life.

It was easier to call this whole thing a studio not to feel this lonely and lost. I didn't tell anyone that I'm making games until I entered the game jam which was hosted by Garage Museum of Modern Art in Moscow. After this little presentation of my 2nd game (Ecoman) went well and I received nice feedback, I thought I could tell everybody that I'm a developer.

Don't know why telling everybody was so hard to me, but I guess it's always hard to start something new. Especially something which you completely don't understand. Game design. Coding. Writing scenarios. Sound design. I learned it all. It was a long journey and it still continues. But now, I'm working with people, the studio will be growing; and soon instead of one happy doggo there will be a whole dog pack☆。・゚・
As an indie developer, I had to face several difficulties. The first and the main difficulty was planning. The time management tactic differs slightly from an illustrator one.

An illustrator works mainly on one project roughly 1 week-1 month. In this time, the illustrator has to come up with the solution to the concept, to email the client several times, do some tweaks here and there (simplified scheme).

An indie dev need to develop a concept, write a game design doc, build a prototype, code everything right, draw the assets, do the animation, find the music (or do the music by himself ), tweaking and re-planning everything at the same time.
Before becoming an indie dev, I thought I'm perfect at multitasking and that I'm simply a genius(oh my, how naive and romantic I was back then).

The second difficulty had a bit of personal origin. 2020 was the hardest year for me in terms of self discipline, because my Bipolar Disorder got worse. I had to fight it and needed to seek for medical help, and there wasn't much time for work and hobbies as I wanted.
You could probably guess: I was terrified, lost and lonely. Having no energy to play life. Together, with Happy Doggo, I made it. The lonely doggo who called himself happy became one.
This was a crazy year, and I'm glad I made it this far. (Where is the moral here? Never let your dreams go. Hold them tight and turn them into actions.)

Process of making Mend game. I wanted to create a visualisation of each separate level to see, how it all looks together.
Sofi Naydenova
aka Happy Doggo
Nevertheless, all of the aspects of game development are beautiful and exciting. Every day I come up with better ideas and solutions, growing and getting better in so many disciplines at once.

Also, I was so happy to give an interview to WeTransfer on how to master several profession and combine them - > READ HERE IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE.
Always accepting more donations at ko-fi.com/sofinaydenova <3
And last but not least, I am so thankful to all the support to what I do????

It's very rewarding to get such a feedback, especially on a stage when you're just starting.

Starting from March, Happy Doggo received 59k views and 2,5k plays, 2 articles on the games and 2 gameplays on YouTube. Also, thanks for all the comments and donations! It's an honour.

After 1 year of making games, I can definitely say: Game development is fun and exciting, beautiful and satisfying, challenging and difficult, but sometimes horrible and heartbreaking (especially at coding).

Game development is life, life is game development <3


Love and woof <3
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