Pre-Sprint #5: Retrospective

The Lost Week

Week of November 6th

Overview

Well. This wasn’t a great week.

Lots of nonsense happened – from sudden manager departures to a very distracting election and much else beyond that.

I’m calling this a lost week. Not necessarily a bad week, but one in which much of my time was spent not working on my games or my business or really much of anything.

Still, I got quite a bit done. I’m really hopeful that this will be the week I finally get into a flow of sharing my thoughts on here and elsewhere, but it’s been over 5 weeks now of absolute failure so why should this be any different? We’ll see.

Highlights

+ Sold a camera! +$60 in the escape fund

+ May have found an extra $1,000 just “laying around” – fingers crossed it pans out

+ Added the concept of Power Goals – more to come on that in a later post

+ Added simple dog fetching, simple dog snoozing, and some cool stuff regarding zooming

+ Lots of ideas put to paper and then stored safe and sound in TFS

Lowlights

— Distracting election

— Distracting work

— Distracting housework

— Wore a bad pair of socks 🙁

Demo

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Pre-Sprint 5 Planning: The Lost Week

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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: Retrospective

Overview

Man, I got a *ton* done this sprint. Lots of dev work. Lots of porting previous prototypes into a more finalized design. Refactoring. A whole bunch!

Looking ahead, it seems likely that this sudden increased velocity will continue for a time, but can’t last forever. Still, I’m enjoying it while it lasts

Development

+ Added variable tail wagging animations

+ Created entities for dog and bugs

+ Added bugs. Like, flies, not coding bugs

+ Also added coding bugs

+ Then I added way more bugs

+ Implemented state system

+ Implemented new map

+ Basic physics

+ Created entity for human

+ Lots of refactoring!

+ Rudimentary day/night prototyping

Demo

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Pre-Sprint 4 Planning: I Really Hate the Seahawks

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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.

Ugh.

Anyway.

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: Retrospective

I’ll probably mix the format of this up from time to time, especially as I’m still firmly in the “pre-game” of sprint planning. So, let’s do this thing!

Overview

Sprint went well. Did a little bit of everything, from coding to design to art to my business itself. As I’ve said twice already these “pre-sprints” are going to be weird and disjointed, but that’s ok because it’s still progress.

Change Log

Coding

+ Made scaling crisper

+ Added portrait to dialog

+ Locked camera to map

+ Implement two additional monsters

Generally made the code far worse and hacky and terrible, and everyone hates it

Design

Puttered about with TFS

+ Designed several new monsters! See them below

+ Began reading The Art of Game Design

Demo

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Pre-Sprint 3 Planning: Better Late Than Never

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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.