Creating and Releasing In My Mind by Charlie Francis Cassidy

I’ve previously given this as a talk at Freeplay 2018 and NZ GDC 2018. I thought it was now time to turn it into a blog post.

What is In My Mind?


In My Mind is an autobiographical game designed to represent what it’s like living with bipolar. It’s very much based on my own experiences with mental illness however, so I can’t speak for everyone’s experience with it. In My Mind was released in August 2017 alongside its exhibition in Contours.

A simpler description of the game I have received however would be “you are a pill and you slide around a room talking to furniture”. So, whatever premise sells you really.

A few quick facts before I dive into this further:

  • All the content is from a blog I started back when I was first diagnosed about 5 years ago now

  • That was 66 blog posts

  • Which turned into 432 paragraphs

  • The idea was sparked by a Ludum Dare theme - room

  • I worked on this for about a year

  • I worked on it for about another 3 months after releasing it

  • About a year later I released it onto phones and tablets

  • It’s a pretty intense experience

Why did I make it?

There is not a lot of good mental health representation out there. Which makes it really hard for people like me to see my experiences reflected somewhere, or to have something to relate to. Something that I can not be angry at for once, because honestly - a lot of media paints us into monsters. I’m looking at you horror genre - where your antagonist has gone off their meds again.

It also makes it hard for anyone else to understand what bipolar, or any other mental illness, is actually like for the people who have it. So to sum up, I made this game for the following reasons:

  • I want someone to play it and go - I am not alone in these thoughts and experiences

  • I want someone to play it and maybe understand what some of their friends or family are going through

  • I want people to play this and go - we should be doing better with mental health representation

I remember playing Depression Quest, by Zoe Quinn, and it was that moment that I realised that I too could make something to reflect my life. My life with bipolar.

I originally had a much, much larger game in mind. It was gonna be first person, I was going to make the player try and live their life in their apartment while managing mania, depression and intrusive thoughts. I had SO MANY mechanics planned. Like when they were manic the view would always slowly drift to the left or something to emulate my inability to stay focused on one thing. The screen would be constantly flooded with thoughts moving too fast for the player to read fully. I had no shortage of ideas for what this game was gonna do.


But it was quickly becoming obvious that that was something I was never going to finish. I still remember the time that I admitted that out loud, on a panel at Pax about mental health and games. I still remember how I felt accepting that it was okay, that it was something I just couldn’t do. That is my life all the time, accepting that there is stuff out of my reach because of how bipolar affects me.

Much later though, Ludum Dare rolled around and the theme was room. It just really got me to thinking about how often I’ll pace around my apartment, which at the time was basically one large room. And I’d be doing that, talking to myself out loud. Which I do all the time because that’s just how I manage and sort through all the thoughts that go through my head.

My apartment at the time - working on In My Mind

My apartment at the time - working on In My Mind

And I am acutely aware of how media portrays that. Oh, that person is crazy then, better stay away from them. I have literally had people cross the street to get away from me when they’ve clocked that I am on leave from the local psychiatric hospital. I know how people see me.

So I decided, I am going to make a whole damn game around this. I am going to normalise something that is genuinely helpful for me. Not that I should ever need to justify it to anyone.

My first hurdle was, how do I produce all that content? Well, lucky for me I’d been keeping a very raw and personal blog, pretty much since I’d been diagnosed. And thus began the journey of In My Mind. And what an amazing and terrifying journey that has been!

The Journey

Let’s now go through the journey I went through in creating this game.

I was originally going to structure this much more rigidly, with a design section, then get into the technical. But that’s not really how my brain works, so we’re just going to kind of go with the flow here.

I did this as a talk at Freeplay 2018 and someone told me that they liked the narrative structure of my talk, so let’s see if I can repeat that in blog form!

Blog Tech

Most people might suggest nailing down the design fully before jumping into writing any code/tech for it, but me being me, I got super excited about writing something to pull down and parse all my blog posts. So, I totally wrote that system first. In my defense, I did have the mechanic nailed and I kinda knew I would need those posts to test the idea properly. So I figured, may as well write that system now.

Now at the time that I started this project, my blog was hosted on Tumblr as that had been the platform that made the most sense all those years ago.

To get the ball rolling I wrote down a few lines of code that pulled down all of the html that it could from my blog. But what would I do with that? I had no idea at the time. So I started reading through it. Now, I am sure that if I’d had more experience with html, this process might have gone a bit faster and neater. But I didn’t, so I just pressed on.

The first thing I noticed was that it couldn’t pull down every single posts at once. Annoying, but easy to work around. I just had to compile a list of all the url’s I wanted to pull down.

Okay, now I needed to make these 60+ blocks of html into something my game could use. So I made possibly the worst combination of for loops and if statements to parse through this whole thing and find the stuff I wanted. How did I know what to look for? I just literally read through hundreds of lines and adjusted my loops bit by bit until it started looking more like what I wanted.

Once I had what was a pretty nice block of actual content, I just started writing functions to split it up properly. So I’d look for line breaks and divide those into paragraphs, and in those I’d use the punctuation to let me know what sentences that split into. For awhile my game actually had no punctuation as the end of any sentences due to how the split function works. Eventually I stopped joking with myself about it being a feature and fixed it by using this one line of Regex.

It was honestly not as hard as I was imagining it to be. I was actually planning like 4 more loops and if statements to work this out.

Now, I had a working system, not a pretty system by a long shot, but one that was ready for me to start making the game part.

Basic Design of the Game

So, the basis of the game is how I process my own thoughts. My head just has a really loud and erratic range of thoughts going basically always. There is usually no linear pattern that I can find, so I try and sort through them by talking out loud and eventually piecing things together. For a long time I definitely tried to not ever do this in front of anyone, but to hell with that really. Life has been so much easier for me since letting myself do what I need to do to make sense of myself.

And this game leans right into that. The benefit of this as well, is that I can show the player exactly the type of stuff I deal with day to day.

My first instinct with this game was to just pick paragraphs to show at random. But then I was like, wait, that isn’t going to be a cohesive experience at all. So I started designing this tagging system, where I could tag the sofa as say meds, and the toaster as depression. So depending on the furniture piece you talk to, it would kind of give you a subject it was addressing.

Then I remembered, my thoughts aren’t cohesive. That is the point. I am so used to having to try and cater myself to a society that doesn’t get mental illness or neurodivergence, I was actually trying to make myself and my game more palatable. That’s not what I’m about, that is not what I set out to do, so I immediately binned that and started playing the game with completely random picks.

I was honestly amazed at how accurate this was. It was like watching my thought patterns being live streamed. I had so many raw and honest posts from the worst of times and the everyday times. I had put me into a game.

The game is also totally drop in, drop out. As low commitment as possible, cause I really struggle with my own attention span and playing games. You can play for a bit, then come back another time and it still won’t repeat anything. So one could really take their time to slowly explore it all. This also makes it good design for phones and tablets, just jump in on your commute home or just before bed.

Trigger Filtering


Now I want to get into the designing of the trigger filtering system. It’s something that I feel is particularly cool about the game. I knew going in that this was going to be an intense game. I also knew that I had a lot of triggering content in my blog. So I had a couple of choices.

  1. Ship the game with that content and the appropriate warnings

  2. Remove the triggering content completely

Eventually I thought of a third option. Ship it, with the warnings but also a way of filtering out as many of the triggers as desired.

It was very important to me that as many people as possible would be able to play it. I didn’t want to make a game about my life with bipolar but then exclude a portion of the people with it as well. I also really wanted to have the sensitive content in there for the people who don’t deal with it daily. So that if they’re up to it, they can see what it’s like. Cause, stigma.

All my blog posts already had the appropriate warnings, so I used that to help determine what triggers each post had. I went back and double, possibly triple, checked each post to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. Then whenever someone selects some triggers to filter out the game just removes them from the pool of possible dialog.

It was a pretty simple matter of adding a check to my many for loops that just looks for a line starting with “Trigger Warning:” and then it checks to see which ones apply to that post.

The game still has heaps of content, even with them all removed. 137 paragraphs to be exact, so about a quarter of the already immense content. The game is also still an intense experience, even with all the triggers filtered out. There are definitely people who still won’t feel up to playing it, and that’s okay. I’ve had people tell me they’re glad it exists even if they can’t play it for themselves.

My Blog System Failed

Now this was all great until about a month out from release. I went to go and pull down the blog data and nothing happened. I panicked a bit and checked to see what it was pulling down. Still a bunch of html, cool. But, my code that usually turns that into workable game content was no longer doing that. Tumblr has changed something about the html format and now I could no longer download my content.

I was faced with two choices.

  1. re-write the horrible code and hope Tumblr never changes anything ever again

  2. re-write it in a much better way that would allow for easy adjustment if something did change

I bet you’re all thinking I went with option 2 right? It seems obvious. Well, I actually went with option three - move the entire blog to Squarespace (where I host my website anyway) and then also re-write that terrible code and hope that Squarespace never change anything.

So I learnt a very valuable lesson, which I 100% did not apply at the time. But if I were faced with designing a similar system in the future, I’d like to think I’d approach it differently.

Optomise Game Loading With This One Simple Trick

After I’d started letting people play the game one piece of feedback I got was about how slow it was to load. On some computers it would even visibly hitch. I tracked this down to actually be whenever the game was loading or re-loading all of the blog posts.

When I made the system that pulls down the blog posts it stores them in a list, but what it also does is it generates a bunch of json and stores that into a text file for me. Just like below:

I figured that was a nice way of storing it and it’s super easy for me to diff it in version control. So I also thought it’d be neat to just use that in game too. It would load up and parse through it and add the correct posts to the pool I was using for the random pick in game. Now it also goes ahead and does this whenever someone changes the filtering settings, as it needs to make sure it removes any that need to be filtered out.

This seemed to be what was causing me problems, possibly due to file size, possibly due to how I had setup the co-routine I’d written for it. Either way, I needed to change things. So to solve this quickly I just literally made a second list that never gets altered. In that list I hold all the blog content. Then I loop through that list to decide what goes into the pool of content to be seen in game.

Lo’ and behold, this was astronomically faster. I often refer to this as a time that I was trying to be too clever when a very simple solution/situation would have been just fine.

Releasing It

Releasing this game was probably one of the scariest things I have ever done.


What really pushed me to release it though was being asked to exhibit it at Contours in 2017. Which was truly amazing and one of the highlights of my life seeing it there. And on a huge screen (that you could totally fit about 20 cats on)! So that helped me overcome a lot of the doubt about actually putting it out there and I released it officially the day it exhibited.

It’s a scary thing releasing a game, and releasing a game that is so personal, you want it to be perfect. You wonder what people will think of it and then by extension, you. It’s really hard to separate the two. But nothing is perfect. The reception of a game, even a game about your life, isn’t a reflection of yourself.

I was afraid of what people would think of the thoughts that I have on a daily basis. But that is also why I made it. Because there is so much stigma, because a lot of people just don’t understand what it’s like. I should not have to be afraid of this. Maybe one day no one will be.

Even after you tell yourself all this, it’s just really hard.

This is where I want to mention the other big help in me finishing and releasing this game. It was the support from my partners and friends. Every day I’d be messaging them like, how do I do this, why am I doing this. But they’d always remind me how important this game was, that I was doing good. I can’t thank them enough.

Now I wanna get real here, not that I haven’t already. It is really easy to fall into thinking that the game, or you, didn’t do well enough. Putting it up for awards, watching sales, it is so easy to take that rejection to heart. And I did find myself having moments where I was like, I should have done better. Maybe if I’d done this. Maybe it just isn’t good enough. Maybe I’m not good enough.

And for a bit I did totally fall into a bit of a pit there. But there is something I’ve seen Morgan Jaffit talk about a fair bit, which is to define what success means to you. It would be easy for me to feel disappointed that my game didn’t sell enormously. But I never designed it for that.

Why did I make it?

I wanted to make a game that shows people what it is like living with a mental illness, living with bipolar. And, I did that. I’ve had people tell me how much they can relate to my game. I’ve had people thank me because they now have a better idea of what some of their friends/family go through.

When I started this game, I said that if this helps even just one person, it would be worth it. And it has, and then some! So for me, this game was entirely a success and I am unbelievably proud of it and myself.

Where Can I Find it?

The game is now available for free on, Android and iOS.

You can now also grab the framework/tool I used to create it and create your own games using your own blog! You can find that also on and it’s up on Github too.

GX Australia - 2017 by Charlie Francis Cassidy

I got to attend GX the other weekend and speak on a few panels about things that are super important to me and wow, was that just such a great experience. GX as a whole is just such a great vibe and place to be. While I never make a point of ever, turning down my queerness or stop holding a partners hand because of how people out in the "real world" might react, I can't deny how much less stress there is being surrounded with people who just think your cute and are as happy as you to just be, yourself. Also, everyone has such great hair.

Now, for the panels I was on!

Mental Health Representations in Games 
I usually talk about mental health and games in some capacity at most conventions I go to, but this one I organised and moderated myself which was an exciting new experience, and I think it went pretty well!

The A is not for Ally 
This panel was the one that meant the most to me having a chance to do. I haven't really publicly talked about being asexual before and I really can't think of any other convention in the world that would accept a panel like this. I had such a good time, and everyone I got to do the panel with were wonderful, as were the audience.

Queerly Represent me and the Under Represented
It was lovely being asked to speak on this panel as a non-binary person and say a few things about polyamory in games. Though I honestly said more about the lack of things in games.


In My Mind now in Alpha!! by Charlie Francis Cassidy

Very excitingly I've managed to get my game into a pretty Alpha-ish stage. It's all functioning and very playable, all it really needs is some art (oh god it needs art) although it's kinda still a bit charming in its simple red blocks and capsule/pill like character.

There are still a few accessibility features that I would like to get in (and will) and of course some good ol' polish! But it's looking very good for this to be a release this year. I am further ahead on this than I thought I'd be.

I've actually been using the work on this game as a way to get through some pretty bad times mental health wise. I am really not in control of my moods atm, but I'm just managing to get by. Working away on this bit by bit is helping. Making games has always been my driving force I guess.

Anyway, check out some screenshots! (there is no triggering content in the screenshots I've attached here, but here is the general warning for the game as a whole, also all triggers can be filtered out so you can choose what you want to engage with)

New Game! by Charlie Francis Cassidy

It's been a long time since I've posted about what I'm working on, and last I did I was still busy with my game about living with bipolar. Now while that is still on the cards, I've had to accept that at this stage I have way too much going on to keep working on it. I've nearly burnt myself out  a couple of times so I've decided to take a step back for the moment.

This doesn't mean I've stopped working on games entirely! This year I hope to release 2 smaller games that are pretty important to me. Interestingly the ideas for both have come from game jam's that I unfortunately didn't have the time/capacity to enter at the time, but the themes gave me a good idea.

The first one that I've been working on I got the idea from the last Ludum Dare, which the theme was room or something. It's quite a simple game really, it's set entirely in one room (probably an apartment or something) and the player simply walks about the room talking to the objects and furniture in it. Which is in fact, the player talking to themselves. The idea of this is that this is exactly how I sort through my own thoughts, basically pacing about a room talking out loud to myself. Which may commonly be associated with the person being unstable/dangerous even. Now, I'm not saying I'm always the most stable person but I am certainly not dangerous. I strongly want to de-stigmatise how people view mental health and things like this. Me talking out loud should not be something that indicates how others view my stability.

Now, for a bit I wasn't sure where I would get all the dialog for this, but then it occurred to me I already have a large resource of my thoughts. I've been keeping a blog about my mental health since I was diagnosed with bipolar.

Basically at the start of the game, it will pull down all of my posts and use those as dialog. In fact, I have that working already. It has a list of url's that it pulls down and then sorts through the content to pull out each blog post, which it then splits into paragraphs and then splits those down into sentences. It still needs a few more tweaks so that I can also mark any specific trigger warnings for each post, and keep the punctuation after splitting the sentences. But the fundamentals are all working.

I want to make sure this game is as accessible as possible. A full list of trigger/content warnings will be at the beginning but I also want to go a bit further and have the player be able to select which they are okay with engaging with. This might limit how much content there actually is but I think it's more important to allow as many as people to engage with what they're comfortable with.

I also plan on providing a selection of fonts (including dyslexia friendly ones), options for text size and hopefully colour contrast options. This game is heavily text based so again, I want to make sure as many people can engage with it as possible.

I plan on blogging my process in making this game, and I hope to be able to release it sometime in this first half of the year, but I should also acknowledge things happen and my health comes first so that might not be possible. I am only a couple of weeks out of hospital as it is.

The working title so far is - In My Mind

Everything is Different! by Charlie Francis Cassidy

This might be a slight exaggeration but a lot has changed with this game since my original concept and even last post. Hell, I thought I was ready to start prototyping it but nope, it had a lot of design to go and I'm still finishing that off. But I'm getting ahead of myself here, I should start with what's changed and maybe why this has been a dead space for so long.

In June I moved to Melbourne and got full time work at Mighty Games as a programmer, so for months I didn't dedicate any spare time to working on this game. But all that changed after GCAP and PAX where I realised I needed to start working on some of my own stuff again.

The first thing I realised was that I needed a game design document for it. When I sat down to write it, I really struggled. I thought I knew what this game was but really, I just had a couple of mechanics I wanted to use and a vague but cool idea. I needed  to know more about it before I could even think about MAKING it.

It has gone through quite a few iterations since I started this doc. At first I was very set on it being an endless run of days set in an apartment with mood cycles that just get harder and harder to control till the player hits a point where they just want to quit the game and that's how it ends. For a long time I was designing around that idea, and trying to work out why in the world anyone would feel compelled enough to play it to that point, to a point where quitting was a result of understanding how terrible bipolar can be rather than just how terrible the game is.

Eventually I worked out what this game really needed, it needed a story to go along with it. But, I'm not a writer, how do I write something that will make players interested in this. Wait. Hold on. This game is about living with bipolar. I have bipolar. And then it clicked. This game should be about my life. It always kind of was, but more abstract. No, this game needed to tell my story. I don't know what it's like for anyone else living with bipolar, sure I have a decent idea but those aren't my experiences so I can't tell them. I can tell people my life, what I've gone through with this illness. That is what will get people invested. 

At first I tried to work out how to tell this story in this game mold I already had. But that's too tacked on. I want this game to be about the story now. I'm still keeping a bunch of the mechanics I worked out for it, I'm just focusing on telling a story rather than trying to make my players quit.

So I started to look into ways games tell stories and settled on a few things. I want to tell the story in a few ways. Through the environment, the game will still bring you into living out various days of my life, the ones that are important, and each day that you are in the apartment things will be different and will reflect what has been going on in the time that has passed since the last day you have played. Gone Home helped inspire this, I want the player to explore the environment and get story from it.

Another way will be through interaction with friends and other people in the characters life. I can't always see what is going on with me fully when in an episode and other peoples reactions to things can be a big clue as to what has been going on. So things like concern and comments on things you have been doing but also other things where your available responses to them can be very telling of the state you're in. I'll go more into that in another post when I start breaking down specific things I want to do here.

I'm also going to have more than just the apartment as a location. I want to include the experience of being in hospital, which will be tricky but I think I know how to tackle that but I'll talk about that another time.

Now the story, I very handily started a blog around the time I was diagnosed with bipolar to document and talk about all my mental health stuff, in the hopes of helping others accept and talk about this stuff more. So for the story  I am basically going back through all of that and putting together a timeline of events that I'm going to put into the game. That's what I'm doing currently, in Trello of all places.

If you want to see what's in store for the game, feel free to have a read. It's cleverly named charliethebipolargoldfish

That's all for now, I plan on updating this as I go along now because this is all very new and exciting and I love talking about it!

Coming Along by Charlie Francis Cassidy

I've been a bit distracted with studying and my fractured ankle to properly update on what I've been doing with this game, but I am still making progress!

I've finally decided on an art direction and what engine to  use. I've been picturing this game as first-person for awhile so 3d really makes sense. I really like the idea and possible immersion of the player walking around their apartment doing simple things to get by.

I'm imagining the HUD to look a little like this - 

Thoughts will float down on the right side of the screen, the speed  of them will depend on your mood state. When manic the thoughts may even go to fast to actually catch all of them, which is an actual thing that happens to me. While depressed the thoughts might linger around for longer and feel less positive, more defeatist. Thoughts also revolve around whatever objective it is you have, so if you're thinking about food a lot that's a good indication that you should eat. 

The energy meter is the other important part. When depressed you have very little energy and everything seems to take extra effort to do. If you don't have the energy to do something, then you either won't be able to or you won't be able to do it well. For example - say the player needs to go out to get some food but they have very low energy. As long as they have enough to go out they still can but they might come back missing food items, or get there and have to come home immediately without anything and far less energy. This is again, things that happen with me.

While manic however, the energy bar may seem endless. While this sounds great it also impacts what it is the player wants to be doing.  That will change a lot while manic as it's hard to stay focused. So in the space of 5 minutes the thoughts could indicate wanting to eat, play a game, do some cleaning and maybe 5 other things. While manic it's really hard for the player to focus on doing something that they've lost interest in. I haven't entirely worked out how to do that yet, but it's important.

After a good brainstorming session with the lovely Snow (who does some really cool stuff, have a look here) we worked out some other cool things that could help get across different mood states. For starters - playing around with the colour and saturation. While depressed everything could be more dull/subdued but while manic everything would be bright/intense. Something I definitely plan on testing out. Other thoughts are on actual mouse movement/panning - so when depressed movement is much slower because again everything takes extra effort but while manic the mouse could be really sensitive. I also want to really push the lack of focus thing with possibly adding a camera drift, so the player might be looking one way but the camera just starts to drift in a different direction so it takes the player physical effort to stay  focused on what they are doing.

Now I am really set on not making this an easy game to play. Probably because being bipolar isn't exactly easy. I have some worries that maybe how frustrating I want it to be will cause people to give up far earlier than I'd like but at the same time I want the game to  drive you to a point where you just can't do it anymore. Then have some sort of witty thing point out that you don't get to quit life. Well, something like that, it's still kind of not fully decided. I'll see how testing out this stuff goes first.

Now how am I working out the mood states. The plan is behind the scenes there will be a scale of how depressed/manic the player is. I don't ever want to show this directly though, I am hoping I can represent it through other things like the energy meter and playing around with colour and mouse movement. The meter though will serve to calculate how the thought system and energy bar act. But what will determine the mood on the scale? This is going to take a lot of mucking around to get right but my idea on it so far is a combination of random  (random will be a pretty large factor), the environment (a messy house lowers mood, or something), the players health (have they been showering and eating properly) and then a weighting system to allow for long streaks of a certain mood but still allows some rapid cycling. Because mood states can generally last days/weeks but a person can also be rapid cycling and have them last only a couple of days, hours or less depending. I want all of these things to come up through the game.

I still haven't decided exactly how long a game day might be, that will be something to probably test. But I think not too long, that way I can get across how much this affects a person across a large amount of time.

Now the art, I mentioned that in the beginning and got side tracked. I plan on doing all the 3d work and putting  it all together in Unity. The game will be set entirely in an apartment where your aim is to basically take care of yourself. There will be moments where you can leave to say go buy food and possibly go to work (that is still undecided) and in those moments I'll use a nice 2d painting of the scene that is happening eg a picture of a store while the player is at the store.

I think that is about where I am now. It feels like I have a lot of ideas but no  real idea of how well they're going to work. So I think it's time to start  throwing together some things and test  stuff out. I love nothing more than some prototyping. I already have a partially modelled apartment that I plan on using for this, so I might touch that up, throw it in Unity and start messing around.

Game Brainstorming update by Charlie Francis Cassidy

I've still been giving this game a lot of thought in between all the study and uni work I am trying to catch up on. Which I am stupidly behind on, but being in hospital will do that to a person. Especially a person coming off all her medications. But I have a separate blog for just that.

I have decided on a few things and again all roughly drawn up on paper.

I've started thinking about the art now, and I'm like First Person more and more. I want the player to really immerse themselves into the game. I want them to sync up with it to a point that when they can't do something because they've run out of energy they are frustrated as the character, not frustrated at a game mechanic.

Otherwise I think I've gotten myself too attached to the idea of doing it in 3d so I can model all the stuff. I've been wanting to make a house interior. Problem is that I'm not much of an animator. I mean I can do it, but it would just be a lot of work to do for this game. I could maybe get away without it but it would be very obviously missed. I could still get someone else to do it of course.

The other idea getting me excited is that that player has to throughout the game try and maintain their house. So that means doing dishes, washing and cleaning. All of those things. Of course they don't have to, but that will just keep bringing their mood down too. And of course it takes a lot of energy to actually complete these tasks. 

For things like going to work and the grocery store they also need a certain amount of energy otherwise they just won't go or in the case of shopping if they will leave the house they may not come back with all they meant to. It's things like this that I will make up most of the game, finding the energy to do little things. Because when it comes to it, that can be the hardest thing - depression side. Now what it means mania wise well that's some more thought.

The other art option is 2d, so I could again have someone do the art for me or try my hand at some 2d art (which could look cool interesting or just bad). I could also then make it in Game Maker which is kinda what I wanted to have a go at. I haven't made anything in it yet so I'd like to do something sometime. But Unity for 3D is the obvious choice there.

I still have plenty of time to work out more details.

My new game on - Bipolar! by Charlie Francis Cassidy

So I'm sure I've mentioned before that I've been wanting to do a game on depression and I've also been having trouble with inspiration and that sort of thing. Well last night it hit me, I know I'm not just battling depression anymore. Why not make a game based on the whole of what I'm going through. So ideas started flowing last night and I think I have mostly worked out how I want to do it.

I want to blog my whole process as I go along too, hence the early shots of very raw thoughts on paper from a probably manic brainstorming session last night.

It's still very early stages, I'm not even sure on art style, game engine or even how to present this yet. I am very excited though. After months of no game inspiration, to finally get some is pretty great. I'm still planning on doing that medication reminder app and a few others. Not to mention my degree, so everything will move pretty slowly I imagine but it's getting somewhere.

Oh and a name, I already have a name I want to use.

A Day In The Life.

Medication Reminder/Tracker App by Charlie Francis Cassidy

So, I've gone through a lot of medication apps trying to find one that suited all my needs with keeping track of doses and remaining supply of pills, prescriptions etc.

So far I haven't been able to find one that fit, there was always something missing or wrong or annoying about it. 

To remedy this I've decided to make my own. I'll also make it available to the public once I finally finish it. Undecided as to whether I should charge say $0.99 or make it free for all.

But, before I get that far I need to do more research! I want this to be both functional and appealing. Maybe a bit of humour too.

To give myself a bit of help I've made a survey

If you happen to use regular medication it would be grand if you could quickly fill it out or if not, pass it along!

Routine! by Charlie Francis Cassidy

I'm starting to put together a routine for myself, so I can actually get stuff done. There is a heap I want to get on top of before my Masters course starts.

There is a certification in Gamification I'm interested in looking at as well as some Android programming ones that I'd like to have a look at. Prepare myself to make this app I agreed to program. We decided building it for Android first would be the way to go then port it over to iOS depending on feedback etc.

I actually have another app someone wants me to make for them too, but I've been very slack. Slack and frequent hospital visits, so you know, I'm a bit behind in just about everything. Hence the routine building. Not only is it good for my mental health it should help me to actually do all the things that need doing.

That being said, I'm going to go and have a look at that Gamification course now.

Apparently I post monthly... by Charlie Francis Cassidy

My apologies again! I seem to forget that I have this blog here and then remember about once a month. So let me summarise what's been going on.

I finally got a response from the University I wanted to do my Masters at, University of New England, so I start in a few weeks. That'll be my Masters in Computer Science. I think I've decided to a thesis at the end of the course (so next year) but I still have no idea what that'll be on. I'm hoping some of these classes point in more of a direction. Either way, I'm excited to take my programming skills to the next level and understand computers and software a lot more.

I've also started a new project with Grant again, one which I won't announce until it's further along, but it should be easy enough to work on it on the side of our studies. 

Also, I'm back in hospital again. Another medication change/adjustment to get myself stable again before I throw myself at a Masters degree, this time for mania as opposed to depression. Speaking of depression, I've been incredibly slack at designing that depression game. I really haven't been up to much lately, it's been far too hot at home to even think, let alone do work and far too much valium in hospital to do work either. Though I have signed up to do an online course on Android development that I really should start looking at, so I can get started on this mystery app.

Now, if you're wondering what it is I have been doing in here, there are a few things.

1. The Mental Illness Happy Hour podcast
   I have become very addicted to listening to this, it's brilliant. Check it out.

2. Fantasy Life
   Seriously, I have become addicted to this game.

3. Animal Crossing
   I've discovered I have a serious clothing problem....

Feel free to follow my Tumblr for more updates on my gaming habits. 

Nearly a month later... by Charlie Francis Cassidy

I'm often bad at updating anything, depending on where my mood has been sitting. I'm still sorting a lot of things out so I haven't really made much progress. 

But I can show you what my wall looked like before I took it down to cover my wall with whiteboards.

All of this was before I started considering adding the other side of my mental illness. I'm still not entirely sure how to tackle it. Since I'm in a manic state, rather than a depressive one, this is probably the best time to work out how I can combine the two. Perhaps it will end up making the game quite jarring, but then again that is what my life is a  bit like.

Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar and whatever else by Charlie Francis Cassidy

I was diagnosed with depression when I was about 15, and when I finally came out of my first rough patch I had the dream of becoming a games developer. I managed to get through highschool, a diploma of animation and finally got into a Games Design degree.

That's when my next rough patch started and it hasn't really stopped. But since then, I've graduated and have been wanting to make a game to try and show people what it's all like. I just don't have the words to convey it.

I have gotten significantly worse since graduating, now with a few more diagnoses. But that has only made me more passionate about the game I want to make. It might be a little bit ambitious, but I want to change the world. I want to reduce the stigma that is attached to all this. It took me a very long time to admit to even my closest friends that I may be bipolar. Let alone telling the world, but here I am. I don't want to feel like I need to hide parts of me, I don't want other people feeling like they need to hide parts of themselves.

One of the biggest hurdles is, how do you explain this to someone. How do you explain that there is something going on in your head that changes everything. I really feel like this is something games are perfect for. My goal is to create an experience for the player, the experience of living with my mind. My up, down, mixed up head of thoughts that are either too fast or not there at all. I want people to feel the things I do. Then maybe it'll be easier to accept these illnesses for what they are, an illness. Not a flaw or fault in the person.

So that's what I'm going to do. I've been out of uni for 2 years now, next year I'm going back to do my Masters in Computer Science. But I'm not leaving the world of Games Design behind. I'll still be working on a couple of games projects. Especially this one. It's time for me to start designing this one.

This is where I am going to be posting my progress as I go along.