Learning Something Every Day of 2016: May Report

I’m approaching the halfway mark now. Some of the things I am feeling at this point include: Cool, this is going really well; Is that really all I’ve accomplished in five months?; and How is the year almost half over!?

spreadsheet screenshot, things learned by date

The things I learned in May.

Every day for five consecutive months is almost certainly the most consistently I’ve ever done anything aside from maybe playing World of Warcraft during certain years past, but that wasn’t really a choice as much as something that just happened.

Ok, I’ve actually missed 2 days now, most recently because I upgraded my computer last night, it took all evening and I ran out of time.


Making a Thing, Month 2

This is the second month that I’ve been focusing my efforts on building my game project on the side. It’s still a second priority to learn-a-thing-every-day, so on days when I’m tired or strapped for time, it’s the game that gets left behind and I focus on getting my learning in at the very least. This is essentially my minimum level of accomplishment metric for a day.

As you can see, it has not been a stellar month as far as getting coding done. 13 days out of 31, less than half of the days this month. Partly because of family visiting, and partly because I’ve engaged in some more difficult tasks at work that have sapped my energy a bit more than usual.

But the fact that I can look at my project and see the “to-do” list gradually shrinking while the “done” list gradually grows is a good sign. This is one of the main reasons I’m doing all of this, to counteract the forces of procrastination that take any setback, any pause in productivity as a sign that failure is inevitable, that it’s just too difficult or time consuming. I know it will be difficult and time consuming, and this is how I will go about completing it anyway.

My approximate timeline is to have all of the core game mechanics working by this summer, and then spend up to the next year adding content, polish, features, etc… It’s going to be a long project, and I’m still on track.

gif screen capture of basic gameplay

Ta da...!

It appears that I’ve spent about 28 hours on the project so far, including time on tasks like source control and project setup, etc. At a little less than half an hour a day on average over the past two months that’s actually right about where I want to be. It just tends to work better in longer bursts on fewer days, rather than spending a smaller amount of time every day.

From another angle it drives home just how hard it is to spend a meaningful amount of time on a project in your ‘free time’ while also living your life. My day job Klei has an annual 3-day game jam, which amounts to about 24 hours worth of project time. I usually work with one other person, so that’s 48 man-hours of work in 3 days. I’ve only accomplished half that amount of work, and it took me two months. That’s the depressing angle, from which procrastination springs, and must be fought with persistence.

Other People Succeeding

I found a post by John Resig (apparently the guy who wrote jQuery) about his effort to Write Code Every Day. It’s great to see how other people have approached this sort of endeavor. I wonder if, at the conclusion of my year of learning a thing, I might also try a year of writing code every day. We’ll see when the time comes, maybe it’ll be that, or maybe it’ll be drawing, or modeling, or just keep up with the learning.

Checking The List


Big projects take a long time.