Zen And the Art of Recovering From a Hard Drive Crash

Last Monday my computer suddenly crashed. I rebooted and got a famous Blue Screen saying: UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_DEVICE.

I tried to reboot. Still nothing. I tried to recovery console, safe boot, boot CD…. nothing helped.

Note: this was the hard drive where I had stored all my game development data, university course information, hobby info, writings – basically everything imaginable within last 5 years. And no, I didn’t have a backup copy.

Weird thing was that I did not worry. I was pretty amazed myself. I guess I just thought: Yes, I could worry about the situation – but in the end: what would that change? If the data was lost… then worrying would not help – if data wasn’t lost… then worrying would have been pointless. I decided to see what would happen.

The next day I bought a new hard drive and managed to fix the problem with disk check and luckily all data was there. I guess the zen philosophy can help you to relax… but I still suggest taking back-ups in frequent basis. Now I know I will.

Zen philosophy

I’ve encountered zen philosophy during my game development career. I got interested in eastern philosophies and read books about Zen*. I spent quite a lot time in different philosophy forums and tried to find the essence of zen.

No, zen is not a fancy word for being enlightened nor does it contain any supreme truth. I think the following phrase contains very much the essence of zen:

“Eat when hungry, sleep when tired.”

That’s about it. Nothing fancy there: go with the flow. Zen is about being in here and now and accepting change. Zen philosophy will help you to understand that major source of stress is expecatations: if you concentrate on what should happen instead of what is happening, you’ll end up getting your stress level up.

*If you are interested in Zen, I’d recommend reading books like: Zen and Zen and the art of Archery. Other books – I think these were interesting, but not perhaps the best in the field – are Hardcore Zen and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

1 Hour Solution to Any Problem

I’ve found it useful to take baby steps when solving some seemingly huge (or ugly) problem. Decide and schedule yourself to work on this specific ugly task for a one hour per day. I know it’s easy to do something more fun than doing the hideous task – but make a conscious decision: decide that you won’t check email before you have done that one daily hour. Don’t watch TV, don’t visit those nice discussion forums you usually do, don’t allow yourself to do any nice thing you usually do – until you have took action for at least one hour.

For me this kind of attitude releases pressure – I know the task will be done some day, and I know I will get to do fun stuff after handling this. As Chinese say it: “A Journey of thousand li* begins with a single step.”

*In case you are interested, one li is about 500 meters

Use Links In Your Forum Signatures

Putting your web site link in your forum signature is a good idea: it takes you less than couple of minutes to do and it will bring traffic to your web site. Make sure you put a link – not just text – in the signature. People are lazy – it’s easier to click link rather than copy & paste it. It’s a shame to see so many professional developers not telling their website URLs while they post… hopefully you are not one of them.

Why not check out the popular forums you visit and put this little practical marketing idea into action right now?

Practical Marketing

This new category focuses on practical marketing: not the kind of “build enterprise wide business plans and earn millions” but more like practical steps which you can put into action in very easy way.

Practical Marketing is about getting rid of all the fancy marketing jargon and giving a handy method as a substitute.


This is a blog about independent game development. This blog is for those who are just starting their indie career (and maybe sometimes for those industry veterans to remind them…). You’ll find information about how to start making games, how to market them, how to get more (or any) sales, how to design your game. And besides technological issues there’s also topics about personal growth which – as I see it – is very important for young and old entrepreneurs.

This is a blog about game development – from a game developer.