How to Make a Game – Part 2
Written by Tim Donely
You thought it was over already? We’re just getting started. This week we’re talking about you. Yes you. We’ll cover programming languages, tools of the trade, education and all that later, but now we start with the real game development engine… you!
Taking yourself seriously makes sense if you think about who you should be. You want to take yourself seriously since that is the jump-off to big achievement. What does it mean to take yourself seriously? Let’s cover a few topics you might not consider important. I’m referring to little things you likely do but put no consideration into. They’re the foundation of your life as sure as bedrock anchors a building.
2. Make Your Fricken Bed When You Get Up!
Do you do this already? Do you do it nicely? If not, do it. There was a recent commencement speech by US Admiral William H. McRaven and he led with this. I completely agree. Start where you stand up and get on the ball designing your day. Sure, it’s a choice to just toss the bed together or let the cat sleep on it. It’s a choice to leave your room, your bathroom, kitchen and whatever in disarray, but it says something about you when you slop around everywhere. You know who notices it? You do. You validate a mindset each time you don’t commit to be your best. So be your best and clean up. It will affect far more than you can imagine.
3. It Takes as Much Time and Effort to do Something Wrong as Doing it Right
You probably don’t believe this one. It’s actually more like “it takes more time to do something wrong than right”. What I’m talking about is the shortcut attitude we are all born with. It’s very natural and arguably smart to get the most for the least. That’s human nature and you can’t just wave your hand and change it. It’s what drives a lot of innovation and discovery. What I am referring to is once you are on a path of creation, you need to take time to do things right. Avoid slapping crap together with the promise of getting back to it later. Take the time to do things as well as you can the first time around. Again, you can’t imagine how much better this will improve your creative skills.
4. Create Routines… Then Be Ready to Break Them
This isn’t a contradiction, but a starting point. You will need to create routines that work for you. When to get up, when to go to bed, etc… More important are things like managing your day to allow the best work flow. Mostly, this is about creating a repeatable structure and can only come from you. You will need to make habits, let them settle in then evaluate how well they are working. If you don’t see sufficient progress, you’ll need to change. If you find a morning cup of coffee gets you going, then go for it. Enjoy it and then get back to the task at hand. Creating routines frees your mind from worrying about little things and allows you to aim your thoughts at the big stuff.
5. Track Your Time
This is a subject for a much bigger topic, but I implore you to begin tracking all of your time immediately. First, you are a huge time waster. Apologies to break it to you like this, but you are. You’ll see how much time you waste when you keep track of it. This will do more for you than any to-do list, time planner or Jira-program task manager. It will wake you up.
A little story about time tracking. When I started on the indie path I was working 7 days a week, having a blast and feeling like I was getting so much done. I got a web based time tracker and for one week I tracked every Facebook intermission, stretch break and fart I shook out. Before I checked my end of the week tallies, I felt I had done a pretty solid week of ‘indie dev’. I felt I had worked about 60-80 hours since that is about how much time I was in front of the computer. When I checked my work time, the actual time I spent coding and doing art was 23 hours. That was eye opening since I felt I had really been working much, much more. In fact, had I not tracked my exact times, I would have sworn I coded for 50 plus hours. Not even close. The point here is to get yourself a realistic estimate of where you put your weekly minutes. Do it. You’re the best investment you can make.
Hope you enjoyed this week’s look and next week, some developer tools I have found useful!
Remember to always live your dreams!
Tim is currently working on his game Boss 101 – you can check it out here: www.donleytimefoundation.com