So, it’s been an… interesting? three or so weeks. I’m just writing today to break it all down for you guys, so you know what’s going on, what changes are happening, and what I expect the results to be.
Edit: Also I owe you guys a blog post for last week… and this blog post ended up being twice as long as a normal one so we’re square right?
Okay, so flashback to three weeks ago. My friend who runs the FLGS* where I play Warhammer was going away for a week-long trip to Mexico with his wife. I had offered to watch the store for him, in exchange for a percentage cut of all sales. My *intention* was to bring my laptop and work on some of the less-racy parts of HC when the store wasn’t busy that week, so I could keep up with game dev while also helping my friend out and making some extra dosh in the process.
Oh boy, was that a bad idea.
For the first two days, two of my Warhammer friends had basically told themselves, “NoMoshing will be so bored at the store, obviously we have to plan to spend the whole day there open-to-close in order to keep him company!” So even if I could work on less racy stuff, I basically had these two guys hanging out with me, playing games and chatting and otherwise disrupting my focus. The following day was Friday, so that’s when randos started showing up to game and business really started picking up, so I basically only had a couple of hours to work in the morning. On top of all that, the shop is in an indoor minimall-type situation- think a flea market but the shops in it are less transitory and there are no knockoff Gucci bags or piles of crap that obviously “fell off a truck”. The other shop owners are also very chatty, and I was the new guy and thus, interesting to them.
By Monday I had given up on doing anything work-related. I just had to collect by cut, write the week off in terms of game dev, and rally the following week.
Now, if you’re a backer of a certain tier, you know I was already running behind at the beginning of that week. I was looking at the prospect of catching up one 2+ weeks of work in the six days before the backer release was due to happen. And… I just couldn’t get it done. Performance anxiety and failure paralysis set in, big time. I don’t think I’m normally a basket case, but I basically shut down entirely. I’d sit staring at an open RPG Maker window for hours without doing anything. It was… not good. I missed the deadline, I didn’t write a blog post, it sucked, and was generally awful for everyone. I left that vague message about the delay happening on Wednesday, and went to bed.
I took Thursday and Friday last week off. I had stress nightmares about the release all Wednesday night, and at Nekochan’s urging I just took it easy, focused on other things, and tried to unstress so I could deal with things better the following week.
Having noted lately that I seem to focus better while streaming in spite of having an audience to talk to, last Sunday I decided there was nothing left to lose and I’d started an experiment- what if I went back to silent streaming my work hours? “Silent streaming” was something I tried last fall, streaming the occasional afternoon while I worked with the mic off, and it was just me and whoever came to watch me. As a promotional tool, it seemed to be a failure- only a couple people showed up, and I wasn’t getting anyone new- but how would it do as a tool to assist my work? Having nothing left to lose, I gave it a shot. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I streamed my work to whoever would show up to watch.
I’ve accomplished most of my remaining to-do list in three days.
I’m not even kidding with you. I don’t know what it says about me, but publicly transmitting my work hours was what got me to work two or three hours at a stretch, totally focused and without interruption. Being accountable for my use of every minute got me to make the most out of my dev time, and I’m accomplished an astounding amount of work.
For the rest of the dev cycle, I’ve got to:
-Write a sex scene
-Finish the exposition/animation section at the beginning of the second quest (and even that’s mostly done)
-Program the boss fight for the second quest
-Close out the second quest
-Test and bugfix
I expect to finish that up by the end of today, maybe Friday.
So what’s changed? Well, the delay is going to be a little more than a week. Later today I’m doing the February schedule, and it won’t mention any release dates for now- not until I have my feet firmly under me. I want to official backer release to be as polished and stable as I can make it in a short amount of time.
I’m also going to be streaming a lot more. Pay attention to the BKG Discord and my Twitter Account if you want the exact details, but if you’re ever bored and wouldn’t mind keeping track of my progress come check out the offical BKG Picarto channel. I can’t promise I’ll be interactive- I’m making it a policy to just ignore any comments or questions I can’t respond to in a single sentence, and you won’t hear my sultry? voice- but you would be helping me stay focused and working hard. The main attraction of the schedule Devstreams, now, will be the interactivity, and I’m going to make more of an effort to schedule things I want fan input on for them.
I realize that a lot of the miraculous amount of productivity I had this week is going to be a “honeymoon period” with the daily streaming, but I think in the long term this will be a good thing. I’ll be more accountable to my backers, more focused on getting things done, and less tempted to “just play a little Rimworld as a break” and them be surprised that five hours have passed.
So yeah, hope that helps keep everyone on the right page with regard to game dev! I’ll be streaming my work again shortly and then all afternoon, so if you’re reading this the day of posting, I hope you join me to get some shit done!
*Favourite Local Gaming Store