Fang Talks

Length doesn't matter when you're horizontal!

Not a how-to on having a successful sex life.

So this random gamedev on reddit (whose really awesome-looking game will be out soon) came to the gamedev subreddit earlier today and made a post on planning a game and staying motivated enough to see it through to the end. It’s a surprisingly good read. Formatted for the easy consumption we all expect these days, yet still rich enough in content to actually benefit you.

Though his description of his methods are set in game development, I feel like they could also be very useful in other fields. He starts by saying that, after you have your general idea and prototype down, working and fun (very important!), you should outline all core features. Pretty standard procedure, right? Now, divide everything on that list into chunks. These chunks should encompass a decent amount of work, relative to the total scope of your project. Got that? Now split those chunks into jobs for you to do. “Implement X”, for example. If your project’s scope (or that of the jobs) is on the large side, feel free to split everything up one level deeper.

You now have everything partitioned into single tasks you can do in a day or two, or maybe even a couple hours. Amazing! Now get to work. No, seriously, get busy! Keep working on those smallest tasks until you’ve completed a job, then a chunk, and repeat until your project’s finished!

Okay, okay, easier said than done. But still, using such a framework allows you to constantly track your progress. Put in an hour of work? You can probably check something off one of the lists! This provides a feeling of satisfaction that should not be underestimated. Being able to see that you’re progressing through your goals can work as an incredible motivator.
Not working, on the other hand, can easily, swiftly and sneakily turn into a bad habit that’s hard to get rid of. Set a schedule for yourself, and stick to it. When you allow yourself to say “I can’t be bothered” without even trying, that’s the point where it all goes to shambles.

You need to be dedicated to the project, but how do you do this? It helps if you genuinely believe in the project, enjoy working on it, and/or have another strong motivating factor. It’s important to not burn yourself out though. When working on something for hours on end, never forget to take a five-minute break occasionally. Are you working on your project full-time? Have at least two days off each week. Don’t tempt yourself into picking those whenever you feel like it, but set them in your schedule! Never go “I can’t be bothered”. Just do it!

On a related note, I worked on Panic Attack again today. Wuzzah!
~ Fang

Comments

  • 14/08/2014 (2:18 PM)

    One of the simplest ways to complete a large project is indeed to scale it back and divide it into lots of smaller projects. It helps when the tasks are varied like in gamedev. You already explained why so I won’t recant, but good job on working on Panic Attack.

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