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A Day in the Life

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I've been wanting to do this for quite some time, but just never really got to it. My last attempt didn't turn out so well as a journal entry, but did very nicely at helping me track my own work habits. So I'm going to give it another shot.

9:45 AM
I stumble over to my cell phone and turn off the extremely annoying alarm. This is the fourth time it's gone off this morning, and I figure it's probably time I actually woke up and got about doing something useful. Of course, I went to bed at 5:30 AM, so I feel more than little justified in being groggy - but work calls, and I really need to take care of writing some emails.

10:09 AM
Quick morning troll of my email inbox, GDNet, and digg. I then hop onto Skype and the VPN to get ready for work. My IDE is already open (it rarely closes anymore) as well as the project wiki.

Soup of the day is to finish up specifications documentation for a new cutscene definition and management system, which includes both the data format and a comprehensive internal API. I have most of it planned out in my head, but need to get that on paper - this system is going to be a central part of many of our plans for the projects to come.

10:22 AM
Just had to send a quick status email to the rest of the team. We're trying to arrange a conference over Skype, which is actually fairly difficult when you're spread across three continents and a dozen time zones.

10:53 AM
Several areas have been specified and fleshed out. About 60% of the system still needs to be specified. Time for a quick break. I'm feeling my lack of sleep very acutely at the moment, and I know from harsh experience that the best way to keep myself awake is to consume a steady diet of complex carbs and protein all day. Not the healthiest thing in the world, but I'll make up for it when I go running tomorrow.

11:31 AM
Down to about 30% of the specifications remaining. One part is already specified, but in another mode of thought; I need to translate the concepts from those notes into a proper data-format and logic spec. The final chunk is something of an unknown, and the actual details will depend a lot on another bit of work being done by someone else. We will need to discuss that in detail to produce the final spec, so I don't have much to do at this particular time in order to be "done" with it for now. In any case, it's time for lunch.

12:13 PM
My nephew just told me to "keep your pants up" in a very cheery tone, as if he was saying "see you later" or something. Absolutely hilarious. But back to the microwaved pizza and random web surfing.

12:33 PM
OK, time to crack open a Bawls and get back to work. I'm really starting to feel fuzzy around the edges of my brain, which is a bad sign, but I've got practice with this so I'm sure I'll make it.

1:00 PM
Right, I mean it this time. That session of Crimsonland was for... uh... research. Time for a little Anontin Dvorak and some quality time with a sheet of blank paper.

1:27 PM
Down to the last straggler of unspecified functionality. Every aspect of the cutscene description system is now specced out, except for the actual stuff that will be displayed. Believe it or not, that's actually the simplest aspect of the system! Really the only complication is that cutscenes can either show "real" locations that are actually being simulated by the game engine, or totally fabricated situations. The ways of controlling these two alternatives are what I need to specify. The brain-fuzz is thick, though, so it's time for another short breather.

1:47 PM
After catching up on the GDC coverage, it's time to find some more music and finish up this spec.

2:19 PM
Whew... done! Well, sort of. There's still quite a few areas that need to be discussed with the rest of the team, and then the entire spec needs to be reviewed and approved (particularly by the art team) before we're ready to move on to code work. My next task is to run through the current documentation wiki pages and compile a list of the "To Do" notes that are scattered throughout. That will give us a rough agenda for the upcoming (and still unarranged) meeting on the whole subject.

2:40 PM
I've put together a list of everything that still needs work - it's pretty short and depends primarily on input from the art team as to what sorts of visual effects they want. With only one exception (transitions between shots in a cutscene) there is nothing that might affect the data structure at all, so it should be safe to begin working on the basics of the data format schema, and other such fun stuff.

In any case, at this point, I've done all I can for now; the entire thing needs review by the rest of the team, and seeing as it is currently 8:40 PM for them, chances are it will take a little while to get done. The sleepiness has taken a serious toll, so I'm going to go relax for a while and perhaps sleep a bit until my flatmate gets home from work. After that we'll have some Friday Night Shenanigans.

Can't stay up too late, though - I'm painfully behind on sleep, and my nephew has his first soccer game tomorrow morning.

So there you have it: a day (well, part of one) in the life of a game developer. Truly gripping drama, no?

I have no idea if this will be even remotely interesting to anyone else, but I'm finding it a very useful way to keep a sort of high-level, one-step-back overview of what I'm doing. It's also a great guilt tool for making sure I don't slack off too much. I'm definitely going to try to continue to do these, although unless someone thinks they're worth reading I won't bother making coherent sentences and posting them here.

And now to bed, and now to bed.
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