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Planning week

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Trapper Zoid


I've delivered my broken computer to the shop today, and I've got a relatively inexpensive Athlon 64 being built for me using the transferrable parts from the old one. Hopefully this means I'll be back up and running with a computer twice as good as the old one by the weekend.

Since I was dealing with the computer problem yesterday, I didn't post as much about the year ahead as I was planning to yesterday. I've put aside these next few days for planning the year ahead, so I'll make a few review-like posts over the next few days. It's often good to think through your word processor.

Overall, I thought 2005 went reasonably well as far as game development was concerned. As can be seen if you skim through my journal entries, I quickly went from an overambitious dreamer to a more focused approach that's close to the right mindset that I think is required for indie game development. There's still a large amount of room for improvements however; I'm nowhere near there yet. 2006 is also where things start getting a bit serious; my Ph.D. work will really pick up this year, and I have to start thinking about what I'll be doing after I finish my thesis. This means I can't just muddle through with my usual style of disorganised daydreaming instead of planning and working.

The three skills that I think I need the most are self-confidence, planning and business ability. Lack of self-confidence and thinking that you aren't good enough to make games has been a major reason why it's taken me so long to attempt this. My lack of planning and organisation ability is severe, and while that's not such a negative trait in academia (disorganisation is epidemic in research [smile]) it's a big problem for working on a game project. I also know very little about all areas of business. I've got to become more confident, less risk adverse, and more pro-active towards game development.

Although I haven't got very far into the planning yet, the present strategy I'm going for is to "learn by doing". I think that if I have a game that I'm working towards, then learning the skills I need to create that game will be easier. I also think this is best way to go about my first sellable game; while I'll definitely do some preparation work before hand I'll have to learn a lot about indie development by experiencing it. Of course, this means that my first game probably won't do very well, but I'm prepared to accept that if it means I learn the skills to make the second game go better, the third game break even, and I finally get people's attention with the fourth game.

What I will need to do soon is decide on what type of game I wish to work on for the next few months. I'll post more on the games soon.
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A focused mind is a spline leading to success. Ok, that's me trying to be profound. Anyway, good luck on finishing the PhD!

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Thanks! Although I try to keep this journal game focused, the Ph.D. is going along quite well too. I'm pretty much in the same situation there as well; if I stay focused and plan my time more productively, then it will all fall together nicely. Maybe I'll finally get one of my papers into an international conference too.

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I don't think you ever fit the qualifier "overambitious" since you've begun your journaling. Quite the contrary, you've been very realistic and dedicated. I'm looking forward to what game you've got set for us next. :)

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I still think my original plan for "Project Hamlet" and "Project Ivan" was a bit overambitious, although I still intent to implement them in some form, some day. I'm just going to work my way towards them through a series of smaller games (it'll probably end up quicker that way).

Admittedly it's not quite as ambitious as a lot of the project I've read here, I guess!

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