Thursday 20 July 2017

Maintaining Productivity

Creating a game can take anywhere from a few weeks to several years. Needless to say, it's a marathon and not a sprint.

The first of many ways to maintain productivity over such a long time period is to pace yourself appropriately. This is easier said than done, but really- don't push yourself to work too hard on any given day. Crunch time is one thing, but don't let yourself accidentally crunch all the time. You'll accomplish more over the span of maybe one week, but pushing will very easily lead to burnout which is one of the worst things to happen to a project, save the project lead getting hit on the head with a lead pipe six times.

Everyone's pace is different, but remember that you're aiming for quality of hours spent and not quantity. Sheer quantity might work, but you could run into the aforementioned problem of burnout. Personally, I try to aim to work on Mass O' Kyzt for an absolute minimum of 2 hours per day, and ideally no more than 6(though I admittedly rarely hit that limit). 

Another thing which I find somewhat motivating is to keep an hour count. For me using Godot on Steam, this is easy since Steam automatically keeps an hour count. In my experience it reassures me that even if I'm doing absolutely fuck-all of value, at least I'm gaining some kind of experience with the engine and my project. Also, just to show off my e-peen, I have 475 hours in Godot on Steam. Just saying. 

Something which I keep underestimating is to keep a healthy diet. I'll often go for days eating very little of value, living off of expired ASDA-brand ready meals or lemon meringue pies and feel absolutely awful. Then I'll have a salad and feel absolutely amazing afterwards since I just starved myself of vitamins for 3 days. Sugar is great, but everything should be taken in moderation.

This "moderation" does include caffeine. As someone who used to drink way too much coffee and by extension way too much caffeine, don't consume more than 1000 miligrams every day for several weeks. It actually ruined every month from around November to some time in February before I got ill, couldn't drink any coffee for a while and compounded the withdrawal symptoms with the existing illness.

Some signs of a caffeine addiction that's gone too far might be waking up with a headache every day. For me, this was by far the worst one. I literally experienced withdrawal symptoms in the time period it would take me to sleep and wake up. Of course, by this point the caffeine did relatively little to actually wake me up but rather to maintain my baseline awakeness.

To give a constructive tip, get your hands on some coffee-making device like a french press rather than instant coffee. In my experience, I'm way too lazy to take 15 minutes to prepare coffee and then clean out the device more than three times a day, so my coffee consumption ends up self-limiting. Also, you get to drink legitimately really good coffee so that's always a plus.

If you don't want to cut your caffeine addiction, you can always transition onto a harder drug like cocaine, methamphetamine or ritalin. This will give you some of the same effects of caffeine(with a little extra), while allowing you to make a clean transition off of caffeine with minimal withdrawal symptoms. Of course, you then have to get yourself off coke but hey- you can find a professional to help you with that.

One more thing that's important is to hold down a sleep cycle. I'm the first to admit that I'm terrible at this, but it helps to make sure that you get enough sleep in some form. Being sleep deprived can seriously impair creativity as well as problem solving skills which are like the two most important things to be good at when developing games.

In the same vein, consider setting some hour boundary when you should be working. This doesn't work for everyone, and it certainly doesn't work for me but it can help some people so I guess if you're the kind of person who that would benefit, go for it.

In any case, stay tuned for more videos on whatever creative or game-dev-related topic I come up with next, or maybe even Devlog #10 on Mass O' Kyzt. Thanks for watching!

1 comment :

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