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Easter cramming

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Been working hard over the last few days.
Perhaps it might be obvious, from my last post that I do the indie thing.
I'm a lone wolf, working on my own idea.
I also do IT contracting to pay the bills, but work on games any chance I get!

The work pretty much sucks! It's hell boring. I write reports for business systems. Case in point I think!
But it's not all bad, on the plus side, I find a break from games can be refreshing and being in an office of people is certainly more social than working alone in a spare bedroom! Also, in doing a different style of work, I find I sometimes learn useful gems of information that I'd have otherwise missed.

Like the other day, out of the need to copy stuff between a lot of directories (and subsequently ending up with multiple explorer windows splayed all over the desktop), I went hunting for a Windows Explorer replacement with tabs, like Firefox. I discovered this really neato Windows Explorer replacement called UltraExplorer. It features exactly what I wanted.. tabbed folders, favorites and this neat feature called a drop stack that you can drop a file into temporarily while browsing other directories. Already is feels like it has majorly boosted my personal productivity!

So anyway, the Easter break has given me a chance to pour some serious time into games.
Saying that easter, was good, had the usual family dinner and caught up with a couple of friends, but I've been cramming in as much game making as possible in between all that!
Today I've been working on a simple game editor. My design for this was created in a slightly different fashion than usual.

Normally I'd go the "correct" route in writing out a detailed specification document pages of details.
This time I tried something slightly different.
My "spec" is a single page Visio diagram. It is a much more visual way of designing a piece of software and conveys a ton more information in less space.

There are two key advantages I can see in working in this way:

- It is fast
- It is much easier to understand than plowing through pages of writing

On the other hand for anything more complex (my needs are simple) than what I'm doing it may not work so well and I'm probably the only one who could understand it :)
I know how it works, so it should work alright, but if I was working on a team say, a more traditional spec might be the way to go. Still I think this may be a new way of working for me... we'll see

I also stumbled on something else that is very cool the other day. This guy, Mohawke has compiled a list of the best free and open source software. There is some very cool stuff on his list and plenty of great tools there for game developers!
I am very proud to say that my own contribution, UltraExplorer was warmly accepted by the author ;)
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