Sprint 4 – Snowed In – Retrospective

SNOWED IN Week of February 5th, 2017 OVERVIEW It’s always going to be a good week when I put out a new demo. February’s Were-Release went up on Friday and I’m psyched out of my mind. I cannot stress enough how motivational these releases are. Just the feeling of getting something out there is just so satisfying. I’ll repeat the same warning I lay out in that post: it’s early – perhaps too early – and rough. But again, if you want to see what incremental and iterative game development is like, or if you want to provide feedback, then I’d love for you to take a look. It’s now been a month since I quit my job. Has it been all worth it? Good god, absolutely. I have genuinely never been happier or more satisfied in my life. I cannot say how long these good vibes will last. How will I feel when my savings start to dwindle, or if I face some unforeseen hardship? I hope I can face it with the same level of optimism and determination I have going for me now. We’ll see. HIGHLIGHTS Release a new demo, one that I’m actually proud of! Already had a chance to implement some feedback from my demo, including some bug fixes, animation cleanup, dialog changes, and more Re-did my product map to more readable and analyzed Added a neato dynamic camera Completely revamped the dog to actually be usable Added a crate, grabbing, and pulling Made weather based off of a ‘forecast’ instead of hardcoded Added idle chatter once dialog is exhausted Fixed weather transitions Whole buncha optimizations LOWLIGHTS Made a huge blunder by chasing some dumb optimization down a rabbit hole for 8 hours, only to roll it back when my new code was just as terrible and…

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PRE-SPRINT 13 – YEAR OF THE SWITCH – RETROSPECTIVE

YEAR OF THE SWITCH Week of January 1st, 2017 OVERVIEW What a good week. First, I had a ton of success in learning GameMaker and porting old code and concepts over to it. I had been worried that I wouldn’t ‘jive’ with the GameMaker Language or GMS in general, but I genuinely love it and find it really interesting and easy to work with As promised, this time I have actual GIFs to share again, so you know things are going great 🙂 This was my 2nd-to-last week at work, and was also the first chance I had to tell my coworkers I was leaving. As was expected, it was crushingly melancholy. I’ve said this a few times, but it would be so much easier if I was leaving my job for another job, or if I was leaving because I hated my boss or my coworkers or whatever. But I don’t! I love them all. They were all so supportive and genuinely interested in what I was doing, and it’s making leaving even harder. I also now know more than ever that I’m making the right move. What remains is one last workweek – 5 days more days of ties and commutes and Outlook. After that? Well… …guess we’ll find out HIGHLIGHTS Learned a ton in GameMaker. I seriously learned more in these last 7 days then the last 7 years previous Discovered a new user of MindMaps: Using it to create a Product Map of sorts. Did a lot of coding, adding in basic movement, dialog, and a tileset I had created long ago Continued to use tools and processes such as Pomodoros and KanbanFlow LOWLIGHTS Really none, other than the sadness of my transition SHOW & TELL

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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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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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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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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 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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Pre-Sprint 6: Retrospective

No One Goal Should Have All That Power Week of November 13th Overview I took a hard left turn this week – new operating system and almost a new language altogether. I then took a soft right turn as I switched back to Love2d but stayed on windows. Now I’m bearing left slightly, I guess? I don’t know. This analogy is getting away from me, and I’m also incredibly late on posting this up, so I’m going to cut right to the “demo” and move on Demo

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Pre-Sprint #5: Retrospective

The Lost Week Week of November 6th Overview Well. This wasn’t a great week. Lots of nonsense happened – from sudden manager departures to a very distracting election and much else beyond that. I’m calling this a lost week. Not necessarily a bad week, but one in which much of my time was spent not working on my games or my business or really much of anything. Still, I got quite a bit done. I’m really hopeful that this will be the week I finally get into a flow of sharing my thoughts on here and elsewhere, but it’s been over 5 weeks now of absolute failure so why should this be any different? We’ll see. Highlights + Sold a camera! +$60 in the escape fund + May have found an extra $1,000 just “laying around” – fingers crossed it pans out + Added the concept of Power Goals – more to come on that in a later post + Added simple dog fetching, simple dog snoozing, and some cool stuff regarding zooming + Lots of ideas put to paper and then stored safe and sound in TFS Lowlights — Distracting election — Distracting work — Distracting housework — Wore a bad pair of socks 🙁 Demo

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Pre-Sprint 4: Retrospective

Overview Man, I got a *ton* done this sprint. Lots of dev work. Lots of porting previous prototypes into a more finalized design. Refactoring. A whole bunch! Looking ahead, it seems likely that this sudden increased velocity will continue for a time, but can’t last forever. Still, I’m enjoying it while it lasts Development + Added variable tail wagging animations + Created entities for dog and bugs + Added bugs. Like, flies, not coding bugs + Also added coding bugs + Then I added way more bugs + Implemented state system + Implemented new map + Basic physics + Created entity for human + Lots of refactoring! + Rudimentary day/night prototyping Demo

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Pre-Sprint 3: Retrospective

I’ll probably mix the format of this up from time to time, especially as I’m still firmly in the “pre-game” of sprint planning. So, let’s do this thing! Overview Sprint went well. Did a little bit of everything, from coding to design to art to my business itself. As I’ve said twice already these “pre-sprints” are going to be weird and disjointed, but that’s ok because it’s still progress. Change Log Coding + Made scaling crisper + Added portrait to dialog + Locked camera to map + Implement two additional monsters + Generally made the code far worse and hacky and terrible, and everyone hates it Design + Puttered about with TFS + Designed several new monsters! See them below + Began reading The Art of Game Design Demo

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Pre-Sprint 2: Retrospective

tr It’s official: progress continues to be made! These additional stickies are proof. Highlights Even more coding! I had promised myself that I wouldn’t harp too much on the actual coding – mostly out of fear of burnout while I’m in this weird limbo stage. Still, I got a lot of good work done, including dialog boxes, sprinting, a dog (!), commands to the dog (!!!), a bunch of other stuff! Transferring work to Visual Studios Team Services. I don’t use Visual Studios. I’m not part of a Team. And yet I’m finding these so-called ‘Services’ pretty useful. TFS / VSTS is a wonderful one-stop shop for my features and code. It’s free. It’s way overkill for a solo project, but it’s working for me More work on design. Now that I have a basic framework sketched out ideas are flowing through me. I’ve wrote most of them down but I have plenty of stuff still floating around in my head that needs to be put to paper Lowlights Not as much work as I could have done given my free time – again! A big issue was concentration. This is going to be a big issue as this progresses, as I’ll need to be able to focus and concentrate to be successful – again! Not much else to talk about save for the above repeats. Demo Still nothing to share in the way of an actual .exe, but here’s a gif of borderline dog abuse  

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