Learning Something Every Day of 2016: August Report

Month 8 down. How is a year simultaneously so long and so short.

spreadsheet screenshot, things learned by date

The things I learned in August.


A Wizard Is Never Late

If only I were a wizard. So here we are almost half way through September and I’m writing the August update. Not great as far as being on time goes, but it is getting done.

How did August go? Well it was a mixed bag I’ll tell you.

The Top Idea

As some others have noted (I like the idea of me referring to Paul Graham as “some other” guy…), it’s difficult if not impossible to dedicate the creative part of your mind to more than one thing at at time.

So it is with side projects. It so happens that I am blessed to have a job that is also my hobby. Game development is many intellectual and creative challenges woven together and some are more taxing on the creative brain than others. When things at work are ticking along mechanically as I implement technical features or something along those lines, I’m relatively free to save up and spend creative or just surplus energy on side projects.

However when things get hairy on a work project, design decisions need investigating, discussions need having, conflicting factors need balancing… that leaves me pretty drained for anything else. Either work fills the top idea slot, and the ideas I have in the shower are work related, or the side project fills my top idea slot and so that’s where my unconscious energy goes, probably leaving me feeling that I’m not really giving the attention that I should be to my job.

Work ended up being my top idea in August, and I had very little left over for my side project.

That being said, I am still pleased that learn-a-thing-a-day suffered very little for it. I’ve been making the choice that it is the priority over side projects until the end of the year. I can’t say it’s the right call for sure, but that’s what this little exercise is all about.

Phase 2

There’s another reason side-game-project faltered this month and that’s because I reached my first milestone. The basic gameplay and systems are in that make it a game at least from a very loose interpretation. Not only is this the perfect time to slack off and pat yourself on the back for a job well done, but in this case it also involved a shift in focus.

I’m hoping that Phase 2 of said project will focus primarily on visuals and animation, raising the visual fidelity up from programmer art cubes and capsules. In that vein I spent some amount of time on non-coding tasks (marked ‘o’ instead of ‘x’ in the spreadsheet (o is for ‘other’) ). I investigated some leads on hiring a concept artist but so far my efforts on that front have fizzled, so I’m feeling somewhat stalled.

Now that I’ve had a bit of slack time I need to give it another go or, alternatively, commit to doing the best I can with the resources I do have at my disposal. Namely myself. In no way do I currently possess the skill set of Real Artists in the indie game industry, but I’m not completely hopeless on that front and fortunately part of the charm of many indie games in particular is the ways in which they make the most out of the limited art fidelity or resources. It will take longer, but I given time and effort I’m relatively confident that I could produce simplified stylized assets that would suffice for my purposes.

Checking The List


I can only think about one thing at a time.