Or, if you want something done, ask a busy person.
I’ve been in a good spot recently, making games. That might not be obvious, from this blog, as I haven’t been posting all that much about what I’m working on. Partially it’s because my projects are all in the stages before they’re worth showing people. Or, at the least, the people seeing them are familiar with how early-stages of game design look.
In any case, progress is happening at a good rate. I have the opening section of a short 2D RPG done, and I have the characters moving (though not without problems) and basic environments (though definitely “basic”) for a 3D game I’m working on. The key has been to focus and scale down, curbing my ambitions and making something.
Alongside that, my delving into Unity has been fruitful and I’m having a lot of fun with C#. It doesn’t hurt that my father is a fan of C# and works in it himself, lending itself to some semblance of father-son bonding. Not that I do it for him, only that it is another perk.
I’ve said before that I’m very happy that the RPG Maker community has been so helpful. Only now, I’m realizing that the world of software development is actually full of helpful people in all places. Asking questions net quick answers, and coding problems have had extensive write-ups all over, for the sole benefit of helping others. Ask and ye shall receive. And try to pay it forward.
I’m nowhere near the level where I can be helping others with coding, but I’m starting to get to the point where I feel comfortable with the software. Like that first moment when you can finally read some words in another language, and you come to feel it’s not impossible, the journey begins to feel a lot more accessible. Sure, the road isn’t easy. But it’s walkable.
Even if the effort above comes to nothing directly, it has been immensely helpful in other ways.
The productivity I’ve had in my hobby has bled over into my day job. The day after I got my first “playable” build of the RPG, I sent it to a friend and felt immediately refreshed. The classes that day went off without a hitch.
Actually, I wonder now if they were all that good in the first place. Perhaps I just felt so good that they seemed to go by smoothly. In any case, the added productivity increased my personal feelings of work-competence and general satisfaction.
The other way that the productivity has helped is in broadening my mind to changes in my routine. Perhaps an untold benefit of creative thinking is looking at common daily life problems and troubles in the classroom and approaching them with a new light.
Admittedly, I’m not working past 1 am. I still have free-time and refreshing sleep to allow me this. I can imagine too much work leading to not thinking at all about my routine. No time, right? Right now however, I have a good balance, where the lateral thinking in one area has helped me look at another area from a new perspective.
On the flipside, I notice that I haven’t been playing games as often recently. The productivity has resulted in increased work, perhaps at the expense of other activities. I’ve noticed developers and writers often talk about this. That is, in their professional lives, when they work on their material, they have to make time to consume other people’s media. Writers, who once loved reading, now have to schedule in time to read. Game developers, who once loved gaming, now have to work to fit in gaming. And they do it less to have fun and more to hone their craft: playing games that broaden their views of gaming or familiarize themselves with the current landscape.
I mean, don’t get me wrong: they have fun too. But it’s more purposeful. Less haphazard.
I’m not nearly at that level yet, either, but I have been choosing what games I pick up and feeling more content to leave them halfway. Box Boy!, System Shock 2, Antichamber—games I’ve picked because I’m sure they’ll be fun, but also because, professionally, they give me something to examine and use to better my own craft.
In the end, I’m fairly sure that the increased productivity is a good thing in all accounts. Because even with more time on the craft and less time on other ventures, the time with everything has been more thoughtful and contemplative.
Action breeds action breeds inertia.
Let’s see how far this inertia takes me.