Alright, I know this is long overdue and even now I’m trying to scramble it out so I can get back to work.
There has been a lot happening this last month and I’m feeling very optimistic. A lot of things have changed, so let’s just dive right in.
Demand at the real job has been on the rise and they are throwing more salary at me than I can say no to. This of course further drives a divide into the idea of ever making the Doctor Amana game full time because it’ll take years for Patronage to ever surpass what my job is paying me. But that doesn’t mean I’m done making the game. Far from it. It’s just required an adjusted mindset which I’ve spent last month developing and will spend this month testing.
My mentality up until this point has been all about how to make this game alone. Where can I automate, what can I optimize and how much can I just get done! So far it’s worked and we’ve implemented a number of time saving processes in terms of coding and image processing. Unfortunately moving forward this isn’t going to be enough. I’m already severely delayed on the next release and as each week sees less and less time devoted working on the game, the delays have become untenable. Right now I’m only averaging about eight to ten hours a week on the game and this just simply isn’t going to do.
The original question was, “What can I automate and trim to make development faster?” It was a good start. But now I’ve reframed the issue and the new question is, “How can I produce a single completed chapter in 25 to 30 hours?”
If going forward I am able to put in one to two hours a day on the game with possibly three or four on the weekend, with a 20 to 30 hour turn around I would be producing a single chapter every two weeks.
[(1.5 hours x 5 days) + 3.5 hours] = average of 11 hours a week, 22 every two.
That needs to be the new goal!
With this new target in mind I started tearing apart my development process. I continued to produce but at this point I began timing how long specific tasks are taking. What is my overall average development speed and where can additional time be ruthlessly cut?
As I began mining the processes I began to identify places where additional efficiencies could be obtained. (I may do a separate series of posts going into some of the more clever places I was able to shore up time but I’m trying to keep this post on point.) Now, for what it’s worth, I think I’m close and I’m ready to spin up the machine and see if we’re close to the mark.
My goal for the month of October is to test this new process and see how fast new content can be spun out. To determine the viability of it, I need to start two chapters from scratch and see how long they take to produce. Since I already have several chapters queued up for reworking, I want to start with those. This will give me a good baseline to determine if any additional changes or cuts need to be made.
The goal is to produce faster, with no deterioration in quality (perhaps even some improvement).
My real job may be sucking up all of my time these days, but that doesn’t mean I’m any less interested in this game. Fact is, I’ve spent too much to time learning Reny, Daz, Blender, Substance and a whole slew of other skills to produce this story. I’m not going to let all that training go to waste.
Plus, I’m in love with these characters and I want to continue working with them.
After struggling to keep this game going for so long, giving up would be such a devastating blow that I don’t want to bear. Besides, I’m not sure I could. If I told you today that I was canning the game and it was abandoned, it would simply haunt me. Because these characters are always in the back of my mind. They’re stuck in my head demanding a place on the screen. So yeah, I couldn’t stop now even if I wanted to.
But rather than say, ‘I’ll work when I can and it’ll be done when it’s done.’ I want to build a plan of production that works within my other commitments and allows me to kick out better and faster than ever.
It’s a struggle finding that balance. But now that I’m looking at this production problem from a different angle, I’ve put together some things that I think will help.
Let’s take October to find out!
I’ll use the new process, make a couple of chapters and then you can decide if it’s on par with what you’ve come to expect of the game so far.
Here’s to hoping I can do you proud.