So, I’ve been working on a game for the past year and a half now. However, due to life events I have yet to touch the project on it for close to 5-6 months. When I first started this game, I had hardly any coding experience and with the stuff I have learned within the last few months, I decided to scrap parts of what I have created and started to piece together a new foundation for De-Thieved. I won’t talk too much about the game here, as I have a site already created for a progress update, and eventually a site for the “company” I will be selling it from. However, this site is still in the works, but there isn’t much to update on, other then I started fresh.
However, I will talk about how my current job is affecting the production on De-Thieved. For those of you who don’t know, I work at a restaurant as a prep chef, while also attending school at Full Sail University. This would already create a busy schedule for most people and with trying to better my education with a Game Design you might be thinking that I would be trying to enter the Game Industry by getting a job at large company such as Ubisoft or Bethesda or at least be smart enough to. Well, I live in Iowa and with only one game company within the whole state, which won’t be hiring anytime soon. “But Oni, why don’t you move to a place with a company you could get a job at?” you may be thinking, which is sensible, but I have a family to take care of here so I’m a bit committed to staying in one place for a while. That gives me one option, go Indie, and to do so on an already tight schedule makes it a bit of a challenge.
So I decided to make a list for anyone that is trying to get into the Indie scene with life engagements that take up the majority of your day, and honestly, a list for me to look back at it I feel like I’m not doing as much as I can.
Keeping On Track Tips:
- Just do one little thing: Just find the easiest thing for you to do on your project. Whether you are simply renaming some assets or dragging some prefabs into the scene, you are making some progress towards finishing your project. Plus normally, when you start something you may find yourself wanting to work on it more, which is a great help if you no motivation to work.
- Give yourself time to mess around first: I normally listen to music on Youtube whilst I work and trying to find the right song to listen to will usually take me 15-20 minutes to find. This is because I find a cool video to watch, or I get a facebook notification, or the internet just grabs my attention. This occurs multiple times when I’m working on my project and the progress I make on it is sad for the amount of time I’ve spent on the computer. To avoid this, simply give yourself 10 minutes to check your email, respond to any Facebook notifications, or like me, make a playlist. Then close all other applications that don’t help with your project. This is what helps me get the most out of my time.
- Study a related skill in your daily downtime: On your lunch break, read a book about game design. Got a couple free minutes before your shift starts, download a coding app on your phone and familiarize yourself with the complexity of the code your working with. Read reviews of games that are close to your own creation. Do something that you think will help you later when you finally get a chance to work on your project again.
- Join a community: Go on twitch and watch some streams of other people creating their games, or even better, go on and stream your own. Look in your local area for any clubs or events that may contain some aspects of your project or skills you may need later on in life. Find a Facebook group that has people show off their own projects and do the same thing. Just remember to be part of the community as well, comment and be an active member.
- Designate a space to work: Preferably a quiet one where you can work on your project without being distracted. For me, I have a little corner in the living room, now it’s not very quiet or distraction-free as one would hope, but if it’s late and the kids are in bed, I like to pretend I am in my very own office. I am also lucky enough to have a laptop to take with me if I need another place to work.
- Create a community that can help keep you accountable: Tell people about your game, create a blog site that updates people on your game. Hopefully, this helps you later on when you have actually released the game too. Once you feel accountable for the production of your game, you will feel obligated to have to work on it, and if you end up procrastinating, you will tend to feel horrible about it, making you do it less.
- Why: Why are you doing this? Understanding why you are working so hard to do this project will help fuel your determination. Are you doing it for money, for fame, for yourself, for your future, or for your future? Is that enough of a reason for you to keep working towards your end goal?
What do you guys do to keep your head in the game and out of the clouds?