November DevLog

What went right?

40 hours & 18 minutes of development time. That’s a personal best since I started tracking my time spent working on games in September 2016. Most of that was spent on a project which I’m calling Judgment Day, with a smattering of work on Radio & Seed (two closely related games). A big part of my plan going forward is to build games with underlying frameworks which can be reused as the foundation for future games. For example, Radio currently has 3 possible variants on paper and Judgment Day could, similarly, serve as the foundation for at least one other game.

What went wrong?

Not enough blog posts, and not enough videos. I started writing two additional blog posts this month, but never managed to finish either. I also spent several hours working on video content, but was never satisfied enough with the results to post anything. I’d also forgotten how long it takes to record & edit videos. Since I want my primary focus to be game-making, I’ll need to figure out a lightweight solution to both blogging and videos if I’m going to produce bi-monthly blog posts and monthly videos.

What’s next?

The plan for December is to keep working on Radio (specifically a variant which I’m calling LHP 820), but I am obviously not super strict about sticking with a given project, and my inspiration frequently shifts. I’m also trying to zero in on a format for some video content, and will be running more tests, with the goal of releasing at least one video update this month. I’ll also be returning to the more promising of the two blog posts I started in November, aiming to publish mid-month.

A plan

Bearing in mind that a plan is just a list of things that don’t happen, here’s my plan from now until June 1st:

  • ☐ Make games for at least 5 hours every weekend day
  • ☐ Update this blog twice a month
  • ☐ Video updates once a month
  • ☐ Release 1+ game(s)
  • ☐ No debt
  • ☐ 18 months savings
  • ☐ Safety net

Who did no game work in July?

I did no game work in July.

Well, technically that’s not true. Technically I spent 5 minutes writing down ideas. Other than that, I was distracted by work work. You know, the thing that pays the bills.

I’m two-thirds of the way through a long weekend right now, and hoping to spend some time on a longstanding game idea tomorrow.

I sure hope I have better news next month.

Promotion

June was going pretty well. And then I got promoted. The back half of the month was pretty slow when it came to making games, while I tried to adapt to the changing landscape of my professional career. Still, total productivity for the month wasn’t bad.

Astute readers will notice minimal overlap between the projects worked on last month, and the projects worked on this month. Making games is hard. And what’s even harder is scoping a project down to the point that I can finish it sometime this millennium while only working on it part time, by myself. I’ve got some prototypes which I think are promising but… we’ll see.

I’d also really like to start doing development video diaries, but it’s hard to justify the time when I can’t even find enough time to make games. Maybe once I settle into the new position at work. Or after I finish a game. A game jam scenario would probably be ideal for some video content, but first I need to find 48+ uninterrupted hours. But that’s enough musing for tonight. To bed, to dream of games. And then, this weekend, to make them.

Sickness & Changes

TLDR; ~13 hours of game dev in March; two weeks of sickness; and work stress.

A couple bumps in the road over the last month interrupted what little routine I was starting to get into, so despite a couple good bursts of productivity, the month overall was kind of underwhelming. To cap things off, I’ve been brutally ill for the last two weeks, barely able to function enough to keep up at work, let alone find the time and energy for spare time game development. There have also been goings on at the office, which has caused a fair bit of stress at work, which has leeched into my free time as well.

So not a great month for game development.

But as my health returns, and and things settle down at work, I’m hopeful that the back 3/4 of April can see me get into a groove. In that spirit, I’m going to keep this short, and try to sneak in a little game making before bed.

See you next month!

Hello Again

TLDR; I graduated, got a job, moved, played around on Unity, participated in a game jam, and am working on several different projects, hoping to find something that sticks. Planning monthly updates here in the future.

It’s almost a year to the day since I last posted here. That’s too long. So what have I been up to?

I graduated from Carleton University in April 2016, starting work as a software developer the Monday after writing my final exam. Between adjusting to a 40 hour work week, walking about 8km a day to commute, and trying to find time for relaxation and socialization in between, I didn’t have the energy for any prolonged bouts of creative hobby work for months. That only started to turn around in November.

Somehow, I made time to complete two games for Wizard Jam 4, a game jam created by the Idle Thumbs community. You can find those (and any games I might make in the future) on my itch.io homepage, accessible through the new Games link to the left (or hidden in the menu, if you’re viewing this on a mobile device).

After the rush of finishing the game jam, I’ve started a half dozen different projects, trying to find a game that’s small enough in scope that I can complete it as a hobby, in a reasonable amount of time. I put north of 30 hours into this task in January, creating a couple early prototypes, but only managed 5 hours in February. I’m hoping to get back on my game this month, with early work on yet another prototype starting over the last week.

I have no idea if this project will be one that I stick with. But I’m going to try and start chronicling these things here. Right now, I’m planning to treat every month as a self-contained chunk of development time, following it up with a detailed retrospective penned and posted here. I’ve got the event in my calendar, with notifications set up. Let’s see if I can stick with it.

I’m aiming for 40 hours of development time every month, a target I haven’t hit yet. I’m using Toggl to track my time spent working, Unity as a game engine, and Twitter and this blog to report on my progress (or lack thereof).

But enough procrastinating by writing this blog post. It’s time to get to work.