The "I am stuck at worldbuilding and can't get out" Thread

A discussion on world building; I enjoy these types of threads.

My world building experiences are different from most expressed so far in this thread. I am not a special snow-flake but I think my experiences differ than others in different, key ways.

World building for me is a constant 24/7 thing and while I am working on a project, I am constantly looking at making it more immersive, better at keeping the audience’s attention and a more believable place to spend time in.

I can be watching a handyman fix-it show where they are repairing and restoring an old Victorian-Age projector and I get excited because I start to try to figure out how I can bring this real life item into my game projects.

I can be researching something about Thomas Edison, see one of his home movies and all a sudden realize, the way the lines at the amusement park he was filming is extremely creepy to modern sensibilities and my mind starts racing with ideas on how to incorporate that horror into my story.

World building is something I can not shut off.

The biggest tool available for you to avoid or minimize the lost of interest is game design planning and preparing (aka pre-production) before you even begin writing.

This is where you make or break your project before it begins.

Pre-production should always start with fleshing out your ideas and figuring out the requirements you will need to meet to deliver the game to CoG/HG/HC to be published.

@CorvusWitchcraft has done a wonderful job of detailing the steps of fleshing out your game. I can’t improve on that.

The requirements (such as art needed) are set out in the FAQs for the company you will be submitting your work to. If you have not looked at them and started planning how you are going to meet them, then you are putting yourself at a disadvantage.

Once you have the ability to “elevator pitch” your game to others, you have to get into the details:

  • gameplay mechanics
  • story
  • levels (aka acts)
  • characters

These things do not need to be finalized or perfected at this stage but you do need a core that can be made into a working prototype or “proof-of-concept demo”.

This is the stage that most people here jump to, attempting to do everything discussed above on the fly. Speaking from experience, both my own and observing thousands of WiPs over the years here – this is very hard to do and often because it is so hard is the breaking point of many.

The demo should show your audience (the community) what your game will look like and this will give them a chance to give you feedback on what needs tweaking, change or improvement.

This is where pre-production ends and actual work on the final game begins.

Burn-out is something that occurs. Like writer’s block, it is best to look at the root causes

When it occurs for me, it is usually because I am caught in the details of the story and I’ve been among the trees for too long. I’ll give you an example:

I am writing nine (9) branches of a murder. Each of the nine branches are different, containing unique material that distinguishes them from each other. Yet, despite all this good inspiring things, there are elements of all nine that must remain the same … the motive, the perpetrator, the murder weapon … and the conveying of essential information that my readers will need to know, no matter which branch they take.

There are Choice Script coding tricks to help alleviate this but when doing the actual writing, these do not help.

What I do is take a break, during which I try to regain the “big picture” perspective and I actually often look into researching further world-building elements to use later. I give myself a “carrot” to reward myself and then usually I am able to refocus and finish the part of the story I am working on.

This may or may not work for others.


Second part of this statement…wow, spot on. Exactly on how I’m going on with it. Although I enjoy world-building and researching history as much as writing story itself. So don’t view it as something negative.

This actually is pretty good advice. Those who invest a lot of time in their worlds, tend to love it from inside out. And then writing story in that world lean more to the world itself in descriptions or events than actually story. Looking at my own work, I have noticed that. Thank you for opening at least my eyes ^^’’

Have to agree strongly on this. Every book I read, every person I meet and events that happen around me, can be somehow twisted, explored in depth. Quirks and details noted down and somehow incorporated in story or world-building. But this 24/7 thing I think works more to fiction writers than non-fiction. I think high fantasy or sci-fi gains the most from such approach.


Just wanna thank everyone who posted here and shared their opinions.

Particularly @CorvusWitchcraft 's whole post, @poison_mara 's tough love, @Eiwynn 's instructive post and @The_Lady_Luck 's post which pushed me to actually write the first sentence to my story. Sorry for notifying you all :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

I had a school break for near a month and all month I spent worldbuilding for a complicated project. In the last day of my break I changed my focus onto a different, less time consuming project and wrote 7k words that day. Thanks everyone for being so encouraging :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: