Thursday, April 17, 2014

End of March Progress Report

Oh wow! March just flew by didn't it? Well, time to put our best foot forward and work hard this April. It's going to be a month full of hard work and-
Oh... geez, April's already half over...
Well, uh, I guess I've been making good progress on my "Power Game" prototype that I've been documenting all year. Yeah, let's take a look at the progress I've made on that!
Uh... well, shit.

Real Talk

So, what happened?
The answer is a lot of things happened. Work at my day job started to get really hectic towards the end of February and that's still going strong, so I've had a lot less energy by the time I get home each night. Then there's been some tough times for friends of mine, so I wanted to be available to them, further diminishing time I had for working on the adventure portion of my game. When I did work on my game, I managed to make it really tedious to put text into the game and since my plan had been to write out the story, that made me loathe to work on the game. 
Perhaps the biggest problem though, is taking a step back and looking at my project's scope. I've designed an art heavy game and I have no means of making the art. I mean, I've been making do with my horrible approximations of art, but it really doesn't do much for morale. I see what other people are doing in less time and I feel like their smaller, simpler (graphically) games are doing more for them because they're actually learning things and making finished projects.

I haven't been completely delinquent in my game development though. I've created a few small projects experimenting with different parts of Unity, and while that's been fun it hasn't created anything very impressive or fruitful.

So What Now?

Well, I've identified my problems, and I've taken some time this past week or two to recuperate. I'll probably take most of next week easy as well, but my goal for April is to have a small finished game. There are three things I think will propel me towards hitting this goal:
  1. Greatly reduced scope. Despite my best attempts to check myself before I wreck myself, I keep trying to make games that are beyond the amount of time I have available. So part of what I'm doing with these small projects I've been making is busting myself down to the smallest possible scope I can let myself have. It sucks, but it has to be done.
  2. Ludum Dare 29 is happening on the 25th of the month. I'm going to participate and make a small game in 48 hours. The last time I did this, I actually came out of it with something, so hopefully a small scope and a hard deadline will kick me out of this slump.
  3. There was a job opening at XSEED Games for a Localization Editor. From the job description, it sounded like a dream job for me. I thought I met all the qualifications rather well and then some, but they told me that my background was too technical for that position and that I didn't have any sort of English degree or professional writing background. They're absolutely right, of course! I've taken five years of creative writing classes throughout high school and college, I've completed nine first drafts of novels in the last ten years and written several short stories, but none of it has ever been published! Tons of people have done this as well, so I'm really not special in that regard. If I want to get that sort of dream job in the future, I need to get published. I need to have work I can point to and say "I don't have a degree in English, but this is what I've done and here's how people have responded to it." Basically, I'm disappointed but determined to not miss out on such a chance in the future.
So for now, I'm going to try to relax and be in a good place for Ludum Dare on the 25th, keep up on my small projects in Unity, and come May 1st I'll reassess where I am and figure out what I can do to make a game in eight months. I'm down, but I'm not out yet.

2 comments:

  1. Well, April is now over and personally, I don't think I hit most of my goals. I think scope might be my issue as well. I'll take the lesson and look at what I'm trying to accomplish. Something will have to give.

    Smaller steps and small completed projects do help propel momentum, so that should help your progress.

    And for the writing credentials? Well, there's a whole bunch of us at that table. My last published anything was for a school paper. First submission is always the most painful one.

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    Replies
    1. I'm increasingly finding that although scope is still a problem for me, I do best when there's an absurd, looming deadline. Whether that's NaNoWriMo's 30 day first draft (which, frighteningly enough, I'm used to) or Ludum Dare's 48 hour all-on-your-own game, it motivates me and I'm putting out much more finished content than when I set my own deadlines. More on this in my End of April post I'll be making soon.

      As for writing credentials, I'll be calling upon you all soon I think. I've got a short story that I'm pretty happy with but could probably use some more editing before I look for places to publish it again, and I also need to just push myself and finish that first draft from last November. It's really personal so I don't want to work on it, but I should because it's probably my best novel draft so far.

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