Do You Hate Unfinished Things?

One relatively tiny issue was bugging me. My “I wanna test how Ajax + Twitter + cache stuff works” page http://gamestweet.net/ had text “undefined” in the page (which meant Javascript issue). I decided to do a little bit of tweaking… and fixed it (also changed it so that it finds tweets that contain words “indie games”).

Okay, the site Alexa rank is like 5,000,000+ and for the moment I’m not doing pretty much anything with it… but having “undefined” was bugging me enough to make it work.

Now I have some other tasks on my list to hate…

(What unfinished task could you hate enough to finish them today?)

The 2nd Most Important Thing Needed For Finishing Your Game Project

Have absolutely clear idea about what you are doing.

This works in so many level. In higher perspective it’s a definite thing needed to finish a game. For example, having a solid answer to “what is this game all about?” is a must (I was working on certain feature today, and my game’s core values helped me decide how to approach that feature). There must be direction.

In lower level this works as well: two days ago I had a really clear and good specs for my work (and I finished good amount of stuff, was really pleased with the results). Yesterday… I had a pretty good day, but not as good as the day before. I must admit that some of the yesterday’s tasks were bit blurry (to some extent), and that’s probably the reason why I didn’t finish the things that I planned (and actually ended up working couple of hours on some feature that I had delayed for “to do in future versions”).

Do you know what you are doing today? Do you know what you are going to do next year?

How Torturing Yourself Can Help Get More Development Done

If you really love to develop and play games, here’s one trick you might want to try:

Stop playing games until your game is finished. (Or next major milestone achieved).

For many developers, this might not be a big deal (we don’t play as nearly as much we used to play when we were teenagers, right?) and many of us play very little if any. But if you enjoy playing – even a little bit – then this trick might work.

Take playing away. Don’t allow yourself to play games (excluding your own game for testing purposes…) until you’ve finished the game (or the next milestone). You might feel bit of anxiety in doing this, but it also gives you a one more reason to code your game. Make a promise to yourself that you “reward” yourself by allowing you to play as soon as your own game is done.

After you’ve finished the milestone, the funny thing that happens (I can almost guarantee this) that you actually might be much more thrilled about the development status – that you forget to reward yourself with “playing”. You see how much more rewarding it is to get stuff done.

Might feel like torturing (not playing)… but don’t get a quick fix (playing). It’ll get much better to wait a bit and then feel absolutely great about the progress done.

One Way To Spot When You Are In The Zone (And a Hint on How to Get There)

Yesterday morning, I realized I was bitching about being “busy” with many things. Without getting any further in those complains, I really stopped thinking for a moment.

I asked myself: “What I just wrote in my blog about stopping whining?”

I noticed that “being busy” was really mostly in my mind, and even if I would really be busy – it didn’t help anything to whine about it. I know I felt bad and unmotivated to start and felt that it would be whole day filled with small things that won’t get the project anywhere. I simply decided that now I’d just do it anyway. I spent like an hour or so to do some “cleaning the busyness” and decided to continue working with Dead Wake after that.

I started working and got tons of done. I felt like I was “in the zone”.

At 13:29 I watched the clock and noticed 3 things:

  • I was hungry (hadn’t eat anything for like 4-5 hours).
  • I got tons of done.
  • At this point I felt absolutely no need to complain about anything.

It’s good thing to ignore bad feelings, and… just do it. Soon you’ll notice how your whole feeling has changed after getting into action.

And if it hasn’t, at least you’ve got some stuff done.

The Ultimate Productivity Guide: 101 Dead Simple Ways To Get Things Done

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Seriously.

Motivation – Strange Beast It Is

Motivation is a strange beast. On Tuesday I had for some unknown reason very little motivation to program Dead Wake zombie game. On that day – for some reason – I had to force myself to do stuff (eventually things went pretty well though). I don’t know why that was, but those type of days just sometimes occur (luckily just rarely). On Wednesday I had a great day – I felt totally motivated and got tons of things done. In fact, I think I got strangely much done. I suppose these kinds of days also occur every now and then…

Motivation. It’s a strange beast indeed.

Here’s One Question You Should Avoid Asking (Or Answering)

I just asked myself a question: “how much time I’ve spent on different game development forums?” (A lot)

That’s not the scary question.

The scary question is: “has that been worthy use of my time?” That’s the tricky one.

First I’m almost getting scared of just thinking how much time I spent for example at the Blitzcoder forums (those were the times, the good old times…), Dexterity boards, Indiegamer… and many others. I think that in the last 9 years I’ve spent quite a bit of time there. Quite a long bit of time actually.

It almost scares me to think that some of the time has been “wasted”, but luckily that’s not the way I should think. Even though I’ve perhaps written many forum posts that carry little or no meaning in terms of my progression in the gaming industry, all those posts and time spent has helped me in many ways. I’ve seen what eager wannabe game developers wanted (I can just “list my posts” to get the idea by the way). I’ve been part of communities that have then evolved. I’ve actually progressed in the gaming industry bit by bit. I’ve seen all kinds of stuff happening.

All things cannot put into numbers.

I’ve made friends. I’ve had good time there.

Would I be making games today if there hadn’t been any forums like those? Quite unlikely – or at least in the scale I do today (through my own company, actually earning $$$ for making this stuff I really enjoy doing).

Even game developers are social creatures, no matter how much they sit in front of their computers and are afraid to talk to girls in real-life.

That’s why online communities are good. It’s not waste of my time to participate in relevant communities.

As long as I’m not procrastinating due the communities I’m sure I’m doing just fine.

Oh, this reminds me. I gotta zombie game to code now…

Do You Use Your Phone Effectively?

I don’t use email, calendar, web in my phone. I actually rarely even call anybody. Nor send SMS messages. I think I usually try to avoid using my phone, although I keep it near me most of the time I’m awake.

I think my phone is more about giving people possibility to reach me, rather than me to reach people. I prefer using blog, email and skype for staying in touch with people.

Lately I’ve seen some non-profession related benefits for getting some smart new phone (things like getting pics or recording some family events or small things, or perhaps using google maps while traveling and stuff like that – nothing too dramatic though).

But for profession, I’ve managed to avoid my phone pretty effectively. And, I’m happy with the situation.

Reiner Knizia (world known board game designer) said that he doesn’t have a cell phone. He’s too busy working, and he doesn’t need interruptions. I think that’s pretty interesting way to look at things (and I suppose it fits well for a designer).

What about you. What kind of phone you have? Do you really need it? Are you more effective now, or is the phone actually slowing down your progress?