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    Update and a happy belated #ScreenshotSaturday

    Posted by (twitter: @mathk_)
    October 14th, 2012 3:26 pm

    Okay, guys and gals – I’ll force myself to give you another little update about how my game for the OctoberChallenge is coming along.

    Procrastination, Story & Concept

    I have had some slow days in the last week, with some problems to motivate myself. As I’m a chronic procrastinater even for stuff which I really deeply care about (like games), I’ve developed few little tricks to overcome my anxious, lazy demons.

    Most often – for me, atleast – the problem is, that I simply pick too broad goals for my to-do-list.

    Something like „work on game“ will not work for me at all – something like „fix bug X and redo the art for enemy Y“, on the other hand, will work real wonders.

    The former will enhance the feeling of „this-is-too-much-work“ as it doesn’t set boundaries. Also it doesn’t reward you for finishing todays to-do-list at all because it doesn’t emphasize any goal that has been reached. „work on game“ can mean a minute or 16 hours. It doesn’t break my vicious circle of procrastinating brain chemistry (I’m no doctor, but that’s how it seems to work for me ;)).

    The latter – on the other hand – emphasizes exactly that. You can reward yourself extremely easy by checking easy and quick tasks. As you have clear goals for the next day it also happens really often that I come up with solutions while trying to fall asleep or being under the shower – because I know what’s coming next. That doesn’t happen with the more broad and general goals. To me, another really important aspect is that I have a clear end which I can work towards. If I have to do some things which I don’t find particularly fun, then I will work extra fast and efficient because when I’m done with them, I’m done for the day.

    What I would generally suggest to those of you with the same bad habits as myself: try to find causes! When you procrastinate over and over again, even though you actually like what you do, it doesn’t mean you’re a lazy person (I doubt such a thing even exists) or it is somehow hardcoded into your genes, it just means that you formed bad behavioural patterns which form this sort of vicious circle.

    I assume most of us are pretty good at analytical thinking (and creative at the same time, which seems to encourage procrastination ;)) – some self analysis can actually really help in these cases.

    What are your experiences with procrastinating and overcoming it?

     

    Enough of the rambling and on to my actual work!

    As my daily goals got broader and broader over the last week, I realized that some concepts for my game really lacked definition. A few of these worked wonders for getting me on the right track again:

    I had big holes in the story which I had planned as a major column of my games experience – so they had to be dealt with. After that sink was unclogged, creativity and motivation could flow again. Sometimes it’s the simple things!

     

    Happy belated #ScreenshotSaturday

    Some screenshots taken from a small testbed-level:

    The testbed – this is where the magic happens… hopefully!

    My placeholder (or maybe not, we’ll see!) menu screen

     

    Development Process

    I would like to talk a little about my development process and pipeline. Maybe some of you find it interesting.

    I develop my, yet to be properly named, game in Java with the aid of the Slick2D framework. Java was a no-brainer for me, as that is the only language in which I have some notable experience and it is also what we mostly use at university (and I actually LIKE it ;)). Slick2D – on the other hand – I will probably only use for really small quick prototypes after this one. At least until it gets some major updates (or I take the time to contribute some things myself). It caused me some very unnecessary bugs, also the TilEd implementation is not really sufficient and has a few weird bugs (including inexplicable, OS-specific ones).

    That leads me right to my next tool:

    My testbed level… those who played my LD24 entry might recognize it!

    TilEd

    It does everything I need for this project and quite a lot more, yet it also does have its quirks… Can somebody recommend another awesome Mapeditor with Java support? Don’t get me wrong – I would strongly suggest you try TilEd, it’s just that it’s not very stable for me and it could really have a more streamlined user experience.

     

    For source control I use Git with Bitbucket:

    Commits of the last days

    Even though I work alone on this project, I actually don’t want to miss this anymore. Once it is set up, it is really comfortable for working on multiple computers and also for when you just quickly want to try some things in your code without the fear of breaking everything. Good integration in Eclipse via Egit!

     

    Twitter

    Last but not least I’d like to bother you again with my twitter stream. I’m pretty new to twitter so I would love to have a chat (and maybe some mutual following? *the-rock-stare*) with more of you over there! ;)

    Tags: ,

    4 Responses to “Update and a happy belated #ScreenshotSaturday”

    1. Zelen3d says:

      Me too I am procrastinating by nature. Only for some weird reason, having a version control system made me less procrastinating. And also having no Internet connection. Tho it is good for develloping but not publishing!

    2. Dir3kt says:

      Nice post!

      Unfortunatly it’s unlikely that Slick2D will receive any major update :(

      Do you know about libGDX? It’s imho the best framework for developing Java games. It’s lightweight but full featured at the same time. Having used Slick2D, Processing and PlayN (which is crap tbh), libGDX is by far the best.

      About twitter you can try to use http://www.innovatty.com/twitter/IDRTG/ it’s good to get visibility (through the retweet mecanism) and to connect with other indies.

      Oh and your project seems to come nicely, keep it up!

      • MortalWombat says:

        Yeah, the original author isn’t involved in it anymore… still – they are setting up a new homepage and there’s an active repository on bitbucket, so not all hope is lost!

        I already bookmarked libGDX – in fact, I would love to play with it right now, but that would be a horrible idea, i guess. x) Next month!

        I didn’t know such a thing as IDRTG existed, I will definitely check it out! Thanks a lot!

    3. dougalicious says:

      I think self motivation is the nemesis of the indie developer. It took me 2 years to release my first game to the public and Zombie Tales is my second game.

      But my one bit of advice is make your goals 1 hour long. Every time I tried to tackle something like build the level editor I had no idea where to start. And justbthought i dont want to start because ill just get interupted.

      So I broke it into bits I knew I could do… Like design some icons and buttons. Layout the GUI in code. Spawn a bunch of cubes the size of the map. Spawn a blank level with a manually written map that just turns the cubes on or off. Etc.

      And all these thing had to be done at some stage so I’d chip away at least 1 hour a day, and I finally got it finished.

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