PRE-SPRINT 12 – MERRY QUITMAS – RETROSPECTIVE

MERRY QUITMAS Week of December 25th, 2016 OVERVIEW Well, it’s official, then. I’ve put my two weeks notice in. Quitmas has come and gone, and now all that remains is a two week limbo before things really hit the fan. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m somehow both thrilled about how much money I saved + dismayed that I didn’t save more. It’s complicated. In terms of laying a foundation this week could not have gone better. KanbanFlow has been fantastic and I’ve developed a real repeatable system almost overnight. I love it. The decision to use GameMaker Studio was also an important one. I’ll begin learning the ins and outs in earnest and will hope to have some actual dev progress screenshots up. MEGA-MONTH is officially over after tonight. As is 2016. The end of my employment and old life follow soon after that. Then…uh, well, then it’s onto something new. Exciting! HIGHLIGHTS Laid a fantastic foundation for work via KanbanFlow and Pomodoros in general Set up a new YouTube channel, VGM Pomodoro, for both myself and the general public Decided (officially!) to use GameMaker Studio for my development language Continued to find success in focus and meditation, though the latter has also been putting me to sleep a bit too frequently Played, beat, and analyzed Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Inside, and a few demoes Christmas was rad! Oh yeah, and I quit my job MEGA-MONTH HAS BEEN SATIATED LOWLIGHTS Still no dev, but this is likely the last week for that to be the case What is game…? UPDATE: I dunno UPDATE: TBD

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On Work

My life is a cliche. Each day, I get up and commute to my job. I don’t hate it, but I feel immensely unsatisfied. I’m smart enough, and have done well for myself. But is this really it? Is this my life? Am I really just on autopilot until I retire or die? I accepted this. I figured these are thoughts that everyone struggles with, and that accepting them is just something that adults must do. But I’ve had doubts I can live my life like this. I’ve dreamed of early retirement, and as I got older and those thoughts became less realistic, I instead contemplated escape. I thought about suicide. I thought about ‘running away’ from home, abandoning my wife and dog and house and living in my car. These are crazy, escapist fantasias, so clearly something was wrong. Over the summer an incredibly dumb thing happened to me. So dumb, in fact, I can’t even bring it up – not out of shame, but more because it wouldn’t make any sense. It sent my life to rock bottom. I’ve since learned to be thankful for this dumb thing, because it forced me to realize that my mind was real fucked and that I needed to a) go to therapy, b) get on some medication, and c) figure my life out I did all that, and it has all worked. Better than I ever could have expected, in fact. As the fog that surrounded me all my life began to lift away, I was left with a surprising realization… Maybe I do hate my job? Not the job itself, mind you. Certainly not my coworkers or my boss. I love all of them. What I hated was the idea of my job. The idea of giving up on my dreams immediately out of college…

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PRE-SPRINT 12 – MERRY QUITMAS – PLANNING

MERRY QUITMAS Week of December 25th, 2016 WARP DOGS’ CORP LOGS The state of our WARP CORP is holding steady at almost freakishly strong The Extinction-Level-Event (ELE) is holding steady at a remarkable 28 weeks away. Still unbelievable! Not much to say at this point! Everything is happening so fast…this Friday is the day I put my 2-week notice in. I have a lot of thoughts on the matter – too complicated, too personal, and frankly too boring to share even here. I will say this: I am grateful for the time I had with this job. I am very grateful for the time I had with my coworkers. I’m grateful for the money I was able to save up. Most importantly, though, I’m grateful that I figured out things weren’t working before it was too late. It’s hard not think of it in terms of one life ending and another beginning – cliches, but they feel true. This is the last week of MEGA-MONTH. This is the final stretch, the last chance to cut spending and save as many pennies as I can find. Let’s do it. Thank you. SPRINT GOALS I usually list out multiple goals here, but this sprint has one major one: Figure out which engine I’m using! Since November I’m been futzing about with Love2d and Lua. I’ve flipped flop mightily on this, as while I love (pun intended) Love2d and Lua as a language, it’s not exactly future-proof. It runs on PC, Linux, and Mac, but what of console ports? What of support generally? Do I feel comfortable enough basing my entire life on a relatively unproven platform? The other engine in contention is Gamemaker – specifically Gamemaker Studio. Why? Well, it’s an engine I know how to use. I feel pretty comfortable with it. And I know it’s proven with other commercial…

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PRE-SPRINT 11 – CASE OF THE MONDAYS – RETROSPECTIVE

CASE OF THE MONDAYS Week of December 18th, 2016 OVERVIEW After months – like, literally months – of saying I was going to focus on (ironically) focus and concentration, I finally go around to doing it. And it’s been great! I’ve studied up and practiced meditation. I’ve re-incorporated the Pomodoro system, this time with some legit success. The end result? I’m getting stuff done! My work to improve concentration also yielded a surprising side benefit: I discovered a new tool called KanbanFlow. I have fairly specific requirements when it comes to workflow tools – as a single developer who loathes bloat, it’s hard to strike a balance between features I want and a bunch of crap I don’t. KanbanFlow is wonderful. It’s everything I want and nothing I don’t. It’s free. It’s fast. It’s going to legitimately help me from here on out. HIGHLIGHTS Discovered KanbanFlow, a new tool to manage my work Good work done on (mostly) keeping my blog updated and in running order Began to find success in meditation, something I hope to use to improve focus, among other things Finalized the pitch, which can now be found here MEGA-MONTH CANNOT BE STOPPED LOWLIGHTS Still no dev, and contemplating a major engine change which may unfortunately set me back even more What is game…? UPDATE: I dunno SHOW & TELL

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WARP DOGS Game of the Year…?

Games. Video games, to be specific. Seems like nary a year goes by without seeing a release or two that are rather quite good. I had originally made this post to talk about my game of the year. It’s always a fun to think about and, hey, everyone is doing it. So I began scrolling through the releases this year and compared it to the games I played. It only then that it hit me: I didn’t play any good games released in 2016. I played No Man’s Sky – bad game. Paper Jam – terrible. The Witness – pretentious garbage. Infinite Warfare – fine, but not GotY. Clearly I know that a ton of good games came out this year. I just…never…actually got to any of them? That doesn’t even seem possible. Surely I played at least one of them, if only by accident. Like, maybe I fell onto a controller and began to play Dark Souls 3…? Turns out that the games I played – the good games, GotY contenders, anyway – were largely from last year. Or the year before that. Or like 20 years ago. Well, this is going to be awkward, huh? WARP DOGS’ GAME OF THE YEAR, (ASSUMING IN THIS CONTEXT “OF THE YEAR” REFERS TO WHEN I PLAYED IT, NOT NECESSARILY WHEN IT WAS RELEASED), 2016, GOES TO: The Witcher 3 If you sat me down in front of some very smart, very capable game designers and asked me to describe my perfect game, the end result would have probably still been less enjoyable than the Witcher 3. It’s sublime. It nails the humor and tone I want to see in video games. It absolutely crushes it with the world and the efforts it goes to build it up into something real. The story is fantastic….

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PRE-SPRINT 11 – CASE OF THE MONDAYS – PLANNING

CASE OF THE MONDAYS Week of December 18th, 2016 WARP DOGS’ CORP LOGS The state of our WARP CORP is almost freakishly strong after a last-minute push of savings The Extinction-Level-Event (ELE) is now at an incredible 28 weeks away. Unbelievable! MEGA-MONTH lumbers past the halfway mark and aims its way forward to the finish line. With two paychecks and a birthday under its belt, you would think its insatiable hunger would, indeed, be satiated, but the look in its eyes is anything but satisfied… SPRINT GOALS There’s less than two weeks until I give my two week notice. Assuming my math checks out, that leaves me with just under four weeks to prepare for a graceful and prepared exit. Unlike previous attempts at sticking to a series of goals, I’ll instead just dump out a stream-of-consciousness about what I hope to accomplish between now and the end of the year A fully realized ‘pitch’ of what this game actually is Mind Maps! Mind Maps for the various features, themes, and emotions of the game Mind Maps for the various loops of the game Mind Maps, generally A social media presence that’s not super embarrassing A final name, and probably a URL to go with it Also maybe look into rules and standards about names Comment and cleanup existing code Do some “fun coding” Document coding procedures to better iterate over them Write more posts. Write more everything Focus on focus BUT SERIOUSLY THIS TIME Read as much as I can Books on games Books on game design Books on life Books generally Cleanup and prepare Hangup pictures and other decorations Think real hard about scope Do more pixel art Learn how to do pixel art generally And much, much more Time to get to it.

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PRE-SPRINT 10 – 33 DAYS – RETROSPECTIVE

33 DAYS Week of December 11th, 2016 Overview Another week of little dev work, but a lot of analysis. I think I’m just about done the analysis stuff and with just a bit of time remaining (less than 33 days, you might say…) these next few sprints will be big I’m also incredibly tired tonight, so this post is going to be really bad. Sorry. Highlights Rediscovered mind maps and have really enjoyed the way they help me think through problems May have seriously come up with the game title…oh my! A lot of progress on the game’s overall pitch, scope, and key ideas. Or, uh, something MEGA-MONTH MARCHES EVER ON Lowlights Having a hard time concentrating and staying focused. I need to really, uh, not be bad at that. I think I’ve put this in every single lowlight since I was born What is game…? Too tired, sorry Show & Tell

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HOW TO QUIT YOUR JOB AND GO BROKE MAKING VIDEO GAMES – THE BURN CHART

It takes some real skill and precision to quit a good job making lots of money to pursue a career in which you’ll make very little. It requires strategy. Foresight. A willful ignorance of consequence.  I’m here to talk about my own process so that you, too, can self-destruct your finances Today, I want to talk about my burn chart, which you’ve may have seen after reading one of my WARP DOGS CORP LOGS posts. There may be other, more accurate names for this style of chart, so let me show you what I mean: So, what exactly is this thing? In short, the burn chart is the primary method to measure when exactly I’ll be out of money and broke as all hell. It performs this tremendous service by looking at my current cash reserves each week and compares that to both a fixed and moving estimate of where I predict my cash reserves should be each week. It then plots this all on a nifty graph so I can visualize how fast I’m spending and when exactly I can expect to run out. Make sense? Well, let’s dig in some more… FIXED ESTIMATE This is the grey line. The fixed estimate is simple. I took a look at our average monthly expenses and compared it to our average monthly income after I quit my job. I then simply looked at the difference between the expenses and income, and called this difference the expense delta.  Said a different way, the expense delta is what’s needed to break even each month – for example, if average expenses were $5,000, and average income was $3,000, then the expense delta would be $2,000. The Fixed Estimate is simply this delta subtracted from my cash reserves on a weekly basis. It’s a steady, consistent march to $0,…

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PRE-SPRINT 10 – 33 DAYS – PLANNING

33 DAYS Week of December 11th, 2016 WARP DOGS’ CORP LOGS The state of our WARP CORP is strong. MEGA-MONTH is halfway over and boy are the results promising already! The Extinction-Level-Event (ELE) continues to hold at 14 weeks away. Astonishing! Our team of highly respected accountants are slacking off, but are ready for the call to action later in the week The astute among you may have realized that despite the rather salient header image Christmas is, in fact, not 33 days away. So what is…? We shall have to find out together! Thank you. SPRINT GOALS This is likely to be the 3rd week of very little programming, though the hope is to begin to ramp up as the week goes on. As has become typical, lack of time and overall concentration has contributed to a very slow pace. This pace is expected to increase dramatically in, oh, 33 days or so. Here’s this week’s TOP 3 P O W E R * G O A L S What even is this game? Continued from last week, we’ll be focusing on what this game is and isn’t. I’ve also scoped in work on an actual, real-life, honest-to-goodness pitch that I can start to share people so they can make fun of me Let’s read! a bunch of stuff. I have a huge amount of stuff to read that I’ve bought over the last few months and years. Books on game design, Lua programming, inspirational books, books on self-employment, and a whole lot more. So much, in fact, that it’s become necessary to create an entire POWER GOAL for it so I can begin to actually read the darn things Improve your concentration with these ten easy steps. Well, maybe it’ll be more than 10 steps, but I really need to address this problem, so I’m making an entire…

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PRE-SPRINT 9 – LET IT SNOW – RETROSPECTIVE

LET IT SNOW Week of December 4th, 2016 Overview What is “game”? This question has plagued mankind for generations. Can it be answered here? Answered today? Can it be answered at all? Is answer even the right word? Is answer spelled right? Why the ‘w’? What purpose does it serve in that word? All good questions. None of them were answered in this sprint. Highlights Thought a lot about what my game is and isn’t. Ended up with a nice foundation with which to begin analysis on Continuing to enjoy Evernote. I ended up building a ton more notebooks and stacks of notebooks and tags and all sorts of other crazy words and phrases MEGA-MONTH MARCHES EVER ON Lowlights Having a hard time concentrating and staying focused. I need to really, uh, not be bad at that A bit worried that I may be spinning my wheels the closer I get to my quit date. It’s easy to do and redo things at this stage, and I’m afraid I’m refactoring too much What is game…? Ate too much Show & Tell      

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PRE-SPRINT 9 – LET IT SNOW – PLANNING

LET IT SNOW Week of December 4th, 2016 WARP DOGS’ CORP LOGS The state of our WARP CORP is strong. MEGA-MONTH has only recently dawned, yet we’ve already been able to put away a lot of cash into the WARP DOGS coffers. Our current extinction-level-event (ELE) is a record-breaking 14 weeks away. Incredible! Our highly respected accountants are celebrating by taking the rest of the week off. It’s likely to snow here at WARP DOGS HQ in beautiful, behind-the-Safeway, North Bend, Washington. As Founder, CEO, and Chief Meteorologist of WARP DOGS I have been asked to provide a comment on these situations. My response is thus: LET IT SNOW. Thank you. SPRINT GOALS The nice thing about sprints is that you can change your mind often. Last sprint was proof of this: I took a break from programming and pivoted to lore and world-building. A fun diversion, and I got a whole lot done. This sprint is more of the same. One thing that my brainstorming sessions taught me was that I needed more constraints. Before I jump back into programming I plan to take an entire sprint – this sprint – to really narrow down the scope of what I’m working on. I enjoy editing and taking a knife to my own work, so this shouldn’t be too bad. Here’s this week’s P O W E R * G O A L S A logo and name and it’s all good, dog. This PG was from last sprint and continues through this one. It’s related to the company itself – naming, logo, that type of thing What even is this game? Ah, a good question! Is it Animal Crossing meets Zelda, or Zelda meets Animal Crossing? Is it truly inspired by Undertale, or is that game so deeply rooted in my brain that essentially…

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Pre-Sprint 8 – DAWN OF MEGA-MONTH – Retrospective

DAWN OF MEGA-MONTH Week of November 27th Overview The nice thing about sprints – really, one of the most defining things – is being able to  change gears quickly. After weeks of programming I essentially spent an entire week where I didn’t open up my IDE once…and it was the best decision I’ve made thus far. An entire world poured out of my head, complete with a map, lore, context, and a whole bunch more. I can’t share a whole ton of it right now as it’s still being shaped into something coherent, but it’s rad. Highlights Sketched out a map across several mediums + had a bunch of fun Came up with names and backgrounds for a lot of areas in-game Brainstorming sessions went much better than expected Incorporated much into ever-growing Evernote MEGA-MONTH MARCHES EVER ON Lowlights Spent some more money I probably didn’t need to 🙁 Learned I’m still not an artist despite everything – oops Ate too much Show & Tell  

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