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

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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: Retrospective

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It’s official: progress has been made! These bunch of stickies are proof.

Highlights

  • Actual work on the game – wow! Real coding! Real design! It’s like I’m really developing a video game
  • Fixed a laptop. The prospect of drastically reduced paychecks has incentivize me to fix and maintain old hardware instead of ogling new hardware. I fixed up one laptop and now have 3 in total
  • Tons of design. Lots was done on the design part of the game, including a design document
  • Lessons Learned documentation. I’ve watched a lot of Shenmue 1 & 2 let’s play videos, and it’s not just for fun. I developed a system for taking notes and analyzing a game for what to do (and not to do) with my own game. I’m calling it ‘Lessons Learned’
  • Implemented several helper libraries. Used Tiled, imported a map, attached a camera to a sprite, and animated it. I love love2d

Lowlights

  • Not as much work as I could have done given my free time.
  • A big issue was concentration. This is going to be a big issue as this progresses, as I’ll need to be able to focus and concentrate to be successful

Demo

No shareable demo yet, and likely not for awhile, but here’s a GIF of my ‘progress’

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An impressive amount of bugs:lines of code, if I do say so myself

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.

 

Deflated Expectations

I’ve dreamed about quitting my job and making indie games for half a decade now. I’m an escapist by nature, and thoughts of sitting at home making and play games all day sounded absolutely wonderful

What’s stopping me? Well, “life”, I suppose…there’s always some big expense or reason not to quit, and my responsibilities grow each year. No one wants to hear about the boring life of someone with suburban angst, so I won’t keep going

This time around I’ve pledged to at least dip my toes in the water – thus this site, this project. Small dips of the toe. Testing the waters. Mixing metaphors. That type of thing.

However, the world is very different than it was 5 years ago. The idea of a single developer creating a cool game that’s enough to sustain them was possible then, if not entirely probable. Nowadays? The competition is much, much stiffer in the indie world. I’m seeing games labeled as indie with cutting edge graphics, 10+ team members, and a big boy budget.

Worse, I’m seeing ideas very similar to my own. They can execute better by sheer numbers alone

Last night I felt down. Today I feel less down, and a bit inspired in the way an ant must feel when taking on preying mantis. I cannot imagine an ant would ever take on a preying mantis in the wild, but just imagine how pumped up he’d be. What’s he got to lose, you know? And if he wins?

Yeah. So my expectations for myself have been deflated, but it’s resulted in a boost to my confidence. Weird how that works.

Anyway. Back to work