Sprint 4 – Snowed In – Retrospective

The wonderfully cozy house of Papyrus, from the equally wonderful Undertale

SNOWED IN

Week of February 5th, 2017

OVERVIEW

It’s always going to be a good week when I put out a new demo. February’s Were-Release went up on Friday and I’m psyched out of my mind.

I cannot stress enough how motivational these releases are. Just the feeling of getting something out there is just so satisfying.

I’ll repeat the same warning I lay out in that post: it’s early – perhaps too early – and rough. But again, if you want to see what incremental and iterative game development is like, or if you want to provide feedback, then I’d love for you to take a look.

It’s now been a month since I quit my job. Has it been all worth it? Good god, absolutely. I have genuinely never been happier or more satisfied in my life.

I cannot say how long these good vibes will last. How will I feel when my savings start to dwindle, or if I face some unforeseen hardship? I hope I can face it with the same level of optimism and determination I have going for me now. We’ll see.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Release a new demo, one that I’m actually proud of!
  • Already had a chance to implement some feedback from my demo, including some bug fixes, animation cleanup, dialog changes, and more
  • Re-did my product map to more readable and analyzed
  • Added a neato dynamic camera
  • Completely revamped the dog to actually be usable
  • Added a crate, grabbing, and pulling
  • Made weather based off of a ‘forecast’ instead of hardcoded
  • Added idle chatter once dialog is exhausted
  • Fixed weather transitions
  • Whole buncha optimizations

LOWLIGHTS

  • Made a huge blunder by chasing some dumb optimization down a rabbit hole for 8 hours, only to roll it back when my new code was just as terrible and twice as unreadable
    • Lesson learned…?
  • As always, could have done more 🙁
  • Wish the demo had a bit more stuff to do in it. Next time, though…it’ll be different

SHOW & TELL

PRE-SPRINT 13 – YEAR OF THE SWITCH – RETROSPECTIVE

YEAR OF THE SWITCH

Week of January 1st, 2017

OVERVIEW

What a good week. First, I had a ton of success in learning GameMaker and porting old code and concepts over to it. I had been worried that I wouldn’t ‘jive’ with the GameMaker Language or GMS in general, but I genuinely love it and find it really interesting and easy to work with

As promised, this time I have actual GIFs to share again, so you know things are going great 🙂

This was my 2nd-to-last week at work, and was also the first chance I had to tell my coworkers I was leaving. As was expected, it was crushingly melancholy. I’ve said this a few times, but it would be so much easier if I was leaving my job for another job, or if I was leaving because I hated my boss or my coworkers or whatever.

But I don’t! I love them all. They were all so supportive and genuinely interested in what I was doing, and it’s making leaving even harder.

I also now know more than ever that I’m making the right move. What remains is one last workweek – 5 days more days of ties and commutes and Outlook. After that? Well…

…guess we’ll find out

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Learned a ton in GameMaker. I seriously learned more in these last 7 days then the last 7 years previous
  • Discovered a new user of MindMaps: Using it to create a Product Map of sorts.
  • Did a lot of coding, adding in basic movement, dialog, and a tileset I had created long ago
  • Continued to use tools and processes such as Pomodoros and KanbanFlow

LOWLIGHTS

  • Really none, other than the sadness of my transition

SHOW & TELL

PRE-SPRINT 12 – MERRY QUITMAS – RETROSPECTIVE

MERRY QUITMAS

Week of December 25th, 2016

OVERVIEW

Well, it’s official, then. I’ve put my two weeks notice in. Quitmas has come and gone, and now all that remains is a two week limbo before things really hit the fan.

I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m somehow both thrilled about how much money I saved + dismayed that I didn’t save more. It’s complicated.

In terms of laying a foundation this week could not have gone better. KanbanFlow has been fantastic and I’ve developed a real repeatable system almost overnight. I love it.

The decision to use GameMaker Studio was also an important one. I’ll begin learning the ins and outs in earnest and will hope to have some actual dev progress screenshots up.

MEGA-MONTH is officially over after tonight. As is 2016. The end of my employment and old life follow soon after that. Then…uh, well, then it’s onto something new. Exciting!

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Laid a fantastic foundation for work via KanbanFlow and Pomodoros in general
  • Set up a new YouTube channel, VGM Pomodoro, for both myself and the general public
  • Decided (officially!) to use GameMaker Studio for my development language
  • Continued to find success in focus and meditation, though the latter has also been putting me to sleep a bit too frequently
  • Played, beat, and analyzed Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Inside, and a few demoes
  • Christmas was rad!
  • Oh yeah, and I quit my job
  • MEGA-MONTH HAS BEEN SATIATED

LOWLIGHTS

  • Still no dev, but this is likely the last week for that to be the case
  • What is game…?
    • UPDATE: I dunno
      • UPDATE: TBD

PRE-SPRINT 11 – CASE OF THE MONDAYS – RETROSPECTIVE

CASE OF THE MONDAYS

Week of December 18th, 2016

OVERVIEW

After months – like, literally months – of saying I was going to focus on (ironically) focus and concentration, I finally go around to doing it. And it’s been great! I’ve studied up and practiced meditation. I’ve re-incorporated the Pomodoro system, this time with some legit success.

The end result? I’m getting stuff done!

My work to improve concentration also yielded a surprising side benefit: I discovered a new tool called KanbanFlow. I have fairly specific requirements when it comes to workflow tools – as a single developer who loathes bloat, it’s hard to strike a balance between features I want and a bunch of crap I don’t.

KanbanFlow is wonderful. It’s everything I want and nothing I don’t. It’s free. It’s fast. It’s going to legitimately help me from here on out.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Discovered KanbanFlow, a new tool to manage my work
  • Good work done on (mostly) keeping my blog updated and in running order
  • Began to find success in meditation, something I hope to use to improve focus, among other things
  • Finalized the pitch, which can now be found here
  • MEGA-MONTH CANNOT BE STOPPED

LOWLIGHTS

  • Still no dev, and contemplating a major engine change which may unfortunately set me back even more
  • What is game…?
    • UPDATE: I dunno

SHOW & TELL

PRE-SPRINT 10 – 33 DAYS – RETROSPECTIVE

33 DAYS

Week of December 11th, 2016

Overview

Another week of little dev work, but a lot of analysis. I think I’m just about done the analysis stuff and with just a bit of time remaining (less than 33 days, you might say…) these next few sprints will be big

I’m also incredibly tired tonight, so this post is going to be really bad. Sorry.

Highlights

  • Rediscovered mind maps and have really enjoyed the way they help me think through problems
  • May have seriously come up with the game title…oh my!
  • A lot of progress on the game’s overall pitch, scope, and key ideas. Or, uh, something
  • MEGA-MONTH MARCHES EVER ON

Lowlights

  • Having a hard time concentrating and staying focused. I need to really, uh, not be bad at that. I think I’ve put this in every single lowlight since I was born
  • What is game…?
  • Too tired, sorry

Show & Tell

PRE-SPRINT 9 – LET IT SNOW – RETROSPECTIVE

77180_nsmbwiiu_snow-04

LET IT SNOW

Week of December 4th, 2016

Overview

What is “game”? This question has plagued mankind for generations. Can it be answered here? Answered today? Can it be answered at all? Is answer even the right word? Is answer spelled right? Why the ‘w’? What purpose does it serve in that word?

All good questions.

None of them were answered in this sprint.

Highlights

  • Thought a lot about what my game is and isn’t. Ended up with a nice foundation with which to begin analysis on
  • Continuing to enjoy Evernote. I ended up building a ton more notebooks and stacks of notebooks and tags and all sorts of other crazy words and phrases
  • MEGA-MONTH MARCHES EVER ON

Lowlights

  • Having a hard time concentrating and staying focused. I need to really, uh, not be bad at that
  • A bit worried that I may be spinning my wheels the closer I get to my quit date. It’s easy to do and redo things at this stage, and I’m afraid I’m refactoring too much
  • What is game…?
  • Ate too much

Show & Tell