Do I lack time, or just focus?
I was going to write a post today about a game I’m working on to learn basic Japanese. Kana Master, I’m calling it. It’s a game where you learn and then practice recognizing kana (beginner), read simple words (intermediate), read simple sentences (advanced), and then use some of what you’ve learned to progress through a small RPG / text adventure (story mode).
The game is progressing well, but the story mode, among other things, will take some time to get solid. It’s basically an RPG where you use the score you gain from the other modes to make your character stronger, all while fighting simple battles that, like a good adventure game or Undertale, can be dealt with in different ways. The first basic command is たたかう(fight), but there are multiple ways to deal with enemies, such as はなす(talk) or やすむ(rest). None of these will actually be options you can select like menu options, but rather have to be remembered, like a text adventure. So when a wild animal approaches, maybe the only option is to attack it. But also feeding it could be a valid solution. As long as you know that えさをやる is a command.
So all that is a bunch of work, to make sure there are lots of options and that players who know some Japanese can use what they’ve learned in the past. I’m not going to delve too deep and make it have thousands of options, because 1) it’s a game meant for beginners, and 2) that takes way too much time, to both make the many options and have enemies have unique responses to each action. That’s not to mention the simple voice work I’d like to have for the beginner / intermediate / advanced modes. All-in-all, this project seems like it could be a many-month-long project.
On the other hand, this game seems like the first one I could legitimately monetize in some way. Release a demo version for free with beginner level and the first 1/3rd of the story mode, and a full version for $2-5 with everything. Then, based on its successes and failures, I could go and create a Kanji learning game with the same idea.
It’s Never Just One
While I am excited for Kana Master, it doesn’t help that I’m also working on The Many Sides of Ball (TMSOB), a 3D platformer set to be released later this year, alongside another unannounced project I’ve been working on with some friends. On top of that is yet another project that I had planned to be the next major project to work on after TMSOB.
Having projects I’m in the middle of keeps me on target, generally. But sometimes, like this morning, I read a post about how backtracking is amazing and suddenly all my mind can think about is the metroidvania game I want to work on. I can usually turn off that voice after writing the idea down on paper or stuffing it into a word document, but it still distracts me.
And then there’s this blog and my other one, Beginner Friendly, which take up their own portion of time each week. Based on the relative success of each, I should probably focus on this one, but those posts serve a different purpose and audience altogether.
Can’t forget Twitter, which I mean to post in every day, but I often forget because I’d rather focus on game development or playing games. Promotion and talking about the minutia of my life isn’t really my cup of tea, despite what this blog might suggest.
Never mind the creative writing I’ve wanted to work on for the past couple years and haven’t done. Sure, it probably won’t make any money, but when has that stopped me in the past?
All while balancing a healthy work-life balance. On that aspect, I think I’m doing well. I have a good relationship with my family, future family (crossing fingers), and friends, though I could be spending more time with everyone. I also keep semi-physically-fit, walking almost daily and going for a run once or twice a week.
It’s hard to say I’m unhappy with where things are at.
The Focus List
In spite of all this, I’m reminded of that 25-5 list associated with Warren Buffet. Where you make a list of the top 25 things you want to accomplish in your life. Then you circle your top 5. Everything else on the list, you avoid at all costs until the top 5 things are done. Else, you’ll never get those top 5 things done.
I’ve been hesitant to make this list. Seems scary, you know? But maybe I should. Maybe we all should, if we’re going to really focus and get stuff done!
If I go to reverse-engineer my list, based on what I’m currently doing in my life, my top 5 would probably be:
- Enjoy life.
- Have a good relationship with my family.
- Become a successful game developer.
- Get physically fit.
- Continue to grow intellectually as a person.
And I think I’m happy with that.
Notably absent from my list: making money. I should probably go and do that, but I also hope that the game development will hopefully fuel that. The truth is, though I do need some income to survive, I see little purpose in an end goal of “making money”. Perhaps the money is a step in having a good relationship or becoming a developer. But I’d hesitate to put it as a main goal on a list.
In any case, what are the many tasks you struggle with? And if you made a list of the top 5 goals in life, what would go on there?