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Pre-Sprint #6 Planning: No One Goal Should Have All That Power

Pre-Sprint #6 Planning: No One Goal Should Have All That Power


No One Goal Should Have All That Power

November 13th, 2016



The state of our corporation is strong, mostly because we aren’t spending anything yet. We currently have enough cash to sustain us for 8 weeks once we take the plunge – a good amount, but not nearly enough.

November’s cash is being largely spent on the future so that anything in December (henceforth known as Mega Month) can be deposited directly into the company coffers

Sprint Power Goals

Last sprint I had a mini-revelation for how I prefer to work. Instead of epics and features and stories, I’ve decided instead to use something I’m calling Power Goals. The 1-week sprint structure allows me to make changes quickly and, uh, with agility, so that’s just what I plan to do

  • The tired dog makes his way to the warmest spot in the room and, with a sigh, plops down and falls asleep
  • The player throws a ball. It bounces. The dog fetches it – but to where?
  • An inn full of strange regulars
  • Stalk, chase, and catch a sea fly
  • The player enters the room, plops down a chair, and sits in it


Pre-Sprint 5 Planning: The Lost Week

Pre-Sprint 5 Planning: The Lost Week


Pre-Sprint 5: The 5th Wheel

Wow, has it really been 5 weeks already? That is pretty nuts. What’s even crazier is that I’m actually filled with pride – not self-loathing! – at the work I’ve been able to do in that time.

I’m starting to think this might actually work.

Anyway, let’s take a look at the week coming up.

Sprint Goals

  • Work on ‘Power Goals’. My favorite developer of one of many favorite games – Tarn Adams of the wonderful Dwarf Fortress – used to have a dev page where he outlined the various core features and ideas he wanted in his game. He also had this other type of item he called Power Goals which were essentially little vignettes that tied together multiple features and ideas. I’ve reached the stage of game design where I can begin making some power goals of my own. Make sense? Probably not! But I’ll explain more a bit later
  • Make money. We’re at that stage where I need to just keep making money. I’m currently selling as much as I can while also working other angles to bring in cash into the bank. Looks like I have about 68 days left, which is at once terrifyingly short and maddeningly long!
  • Refactor & Iterate. I love refactoring an awful lot – it scratches a really specific itch that’s hard to describe. It’s time to take my hacked together and poorly written code and really put a shining to it

I’m optimistic in how things are going thus far. Let’s keep it up.

Pre-Sprint 4 Planning: I Really Hate the Seahawks

Pre-Sprint 4 Planning: I Really Hate the Seahawks


Pre-Sprint 4: I Hate the Seahawks

I’m from Seattle. I love the footballing Seattle Seahawks.

I’m from Seattle. I hate the footballing Seattle Seahawks.



Sprint Goals

  • Public Relations. It is far too early to start any sort of PR campaign – for example, there literally is no game to advertise yet. I’m also an indie dev, so calling it “PR” feels really slimy. Still, I think I’m at the stage where I can begin sharing some of the things I’m working on, even if it’s dumb bugs that we can all laugh at
  • Better code. All my code is throwaway – this is on purpose! I even added a state in VSTS called “Makeshift” purely to track the features that are *technically* coded but are actually hardcoded. I want to avoid too much rework and refactoring, but I’m at the stage where I need to sincerely clean things up
  • More art. I’ve finally taken a stab at creating pixel art. It’s not the best, but given that I have zero experience in this I can’t help but feel a little bit happy with what I can make. I want to continue.

Heads down, fingers moving. November is a big month. I’m going to make the most of it.

Pre-Sprint 3 Planning: Better Late Than Never

Pre-Sprint 3 Planning: Better Late Than Never


Pre-Sprint 3: Better Late Than Never

Truth is, I should have written this 3 days ago. But, uh, better late than never, right?

This sprint – pre-sprint, that is to say – is likely to be similar to the past two. So long as I’m chained down my time will be split and my concentration difficult. Still, it’s 8:31pm on a Tuesday and here I am working away, so that’s a good sign, right?

Well, let’s hope so.

Sprint Goals

  • More blog posts! I said this last time and wrote just one article. Granted that’s one more than I had before, but I need to do a better job
  • Obliterate stickies. I have a ridiculous number of outstanding stickies on my backlog board. No doubt this has contributed to my feeling unproductive. I want to tear through them, at least the easy ones.
  • Think more about the development process. Now that I’m actually coding it’s time to do some hard thinking on how I’ll actually work. How do iterations work? When do I know I’m done? When can people play this darn thing?

So, very similar to last sprint. Fairly unfocused, but not distractedly so. I think it’s going to take me at least a couple months before I can really focus on any one area. Until then, lots of irons in the fire.

Pre-Sprint 2 Planning: The Storm That Wasn’t

Pre-Sprint 2 Planning: The Storm That Wasn’t


Pre-Sprint 2: The Storm that Wasn’t

The Pacific Northwest is fairly sheltered as far as weather goes. We get a lot of overcast days and rain, and sure, one day a giant earthquake will kill us all, but we’re spared the blizzards and hurricanes and tornadoes and everything else. It’s typically very quiet here.

That’s why this last week was so unique. All throughout we were repeatedly warned about an upcoming storm that was to make landfall on Saturday (yesterday). Hurricane-force winds combined with a rain-soaked, saturated ground seemed to spell a devastating, once-in-a-generation type of storm. At best we’d all lose power, at worst we’d all lose our lives.

Well, the fact I’m posting this on Sunday morning is essentially some environmental storytelling, isn’t it? There was no storm. We didn’t lose power. We all survived. A bit of a bummer, if I’m honest.

Anyway, onto the next sprint – and the next storm!

Sprint Goals

  • More blog posts. I have a lot of thoughts bouncing around my head. Not all of them are useful or interesting, but I believe this blog is a medium in which I can get them down on paper and think through them. Expect to see some more posts
  • Continue implementing ‘simple’ systems. I’m not a strong believer in the whole ‘vertical slice’ pattern of game creation. I think it encourages bad practices and wasted work. My goal instead is to start simple, start rough, and then relentlessly iterate.
  • Read a whole lot. In order to become a better writer I need to first become a better reader. I know, I know, I sound like a 7th grade Language Arts teacher, but it’s true in this case. I have quite a few books coming my way on game design, storytelling, and writing in general. I must absorb these books like a sponge if i have any hope to make it

So, very similar to last sprint. Fairly unfocused, but not distractedly so. I think it’s going to take me at least a couple months before I can really focus on any one area. Until then, lots of irons in the fire.

Pre-Sprint 1 Planning: A Very Rainy Start

Pre-Sprint 1 Planning: A Very Rainy Start

These types of posts will be used to go over the next week’s work. However, because this is still just a hobby, I’m not considering this an ‘official’ sprint – just a test run.

Goals for Pre-Sprint 1

There are a lot of spinning plates right now! It should be of no surprise that there’s simultaneously too much going on and not enough to talk about. After all, this is the first one of these.

I view the current iteration in three parts:

  1. Research & Design – Familiarizing myself with the tools I’ll be using, other games in similar genres, and more. Essentially laying the foundation for the game itself
  2. Biz Prep – This is all just a hobby, but could it be more? Maybe. This week, I’ll look into my options and come up with a plan.
  3. Prototypes – I want to avoid burning out on working on too much at once, especially if my design isn’t nailed down and refactoring is unavoidable. Still, it’s important to test things out. This week, I’d like to play with Tiled, a neat little tool to create tilemaps.

I’ll have another post up this Saturday to see how I did with the above. Depending on this goes you’ll either seem way more or way less of this type of thing.