Game Dev Journal Entry 2: Why This Time Will Be Different — Strategies for Finishing a Project

Murphy’s snow angel isn’t perfect, but at least she has something to show for her effort

Clearly defined purpose

One of my previous colleagues was notorious for always asking, “Why are we doing this?” It was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but he said it for a reason. It’s good to understand why you’re doing whatever it is you’re doing. Not only does it help motivate action, but it also helps guide decisions along the way.

Just enough project management

Developing games takes a long time, so it needs to be managed like any other long term project. I’m someone who likes to come up with detailed lists and schedules, and can sometimes spend more time planning than implementing. So for me, appropriately managing my project means doing less planning. I need to work on the game and not just plan the game. The tools need to serve me; I shouldn’t be serving my tools.

Iterative results

I have some ambitious dream projects that I’d like to make a reality someday, but for now, I need to develop my skills and actually finish some projects. I plan to create small games that I can learn from and that I actually publish and get feedback on. I’m planning on participating in a February game jam, that has a short time frame which will force me to create a game that is smaller in scope.

Regularly scheduled time

In the past, I’d work on game projects when I happened to have an hour block of free time and I wasn’t too tired. As you might imagine, this rarely happened. Game development takes time and energy, so I need to schedule it into my days when I still have energy.

Supportive network

Working on long-term projects requires dedicated time, and in order to ensure that nothing interferes with that time, I need the people in my life supporting me. I’ve talked with my fiance and parents about my project and asked if they’ll encourage me and help me make time. They’re enthusiastic about me having a project and their support is a big reason why I’m able to adjust my schedule and make time. Not only that, but I’ve asked them to check in on my progress regularly and hold me accountable.

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