April Dev Diary: Mission failed (kinda)

Is it that time again? It’s the last day of the month, that means I have been summoned to my little corner of the internet for my (slightly) regular monthly dev log. As always, I’ll discuss what I’ve been up to, what’s new & what’s next. Let’s begin…

Previous Goals

Things did not go to plan at all this month, I may have been a little too optimistic setting my goals. I wanted to finish Jelly Toss, that was the plan but instead I ended up working on everything but that. It’s safe to say I didn’t complete the goals I set out last month. However, I’m happy with what I have done. I now have a plan moving forward, a real one!

This Month

Bits of Jelly Toss

I didn’t get much work done on my game; I’ll explain why in this post. But first let’s talk about what I did manage to do (this shouldn’t take long). 

I’ve added a few small but necessary features, including:

  • Leaderboards
  • End-Game ads
  • Continue/Extra life
  • Made a start on achievements (ooOo)

Aaaand that’s about it. There’s a couple of other small things & bug fixes but nothing noteworthy. 

I did try adding different characters, thought it would be cool to have something to unlock. That did not go well, the blob works. Anything else I try seems to either spit out an error or create a swarm of bugs. Eventually I gave in, it was stressing me out I wasn’t getting anything done so I moved onto another job…

The Unreleased Video

Earlier in the month I posted this on my socials:

There was a new video in the works! The thumbnail was done, the video was done. But when I check my channel now, I haven’t posted in a month! Wtf happened to the ghost video…

Truth be told, it wasn’t finished the weekend I wanted it posted. I’m still new to this editing/recording business, give me a chance.

That was not the only problem, when I finished it, I just didn’t like it. So, I decided to redo the entire thing, with a few added bits. Including the new & improved AlextheDev plan, but we’ll get into that.

I spent the first part of the month on jelly toss and this^ the video would be finished but then came…

A Short Break

Hey, I deserve one too! 

Seriously though, work was slowing down, I was almost doing nothing. I was stressed and unmotivated, there was barely any posts on my socials. It got to the point I was looking up “how to stay motivated”, yup, it was that bad. The best solution I found was simple, take a break. Surprisingly, it is common advice from experienced gamedevs.

It was perfect timing too, this month lockdown rules have been slightly eased. The pubs have opened & I’m allowed to see some of my friends again! I’m sorry but it’s been so long since I’ve socialised, I need to take advantage of that!

Having a break has helped though. Yes, my socials have been a bit dead and I’m a little behind on my game. But I am back, and there’s so much I WILL get done! Having time off has it’s perks…

Planning Everything (Again!)

Since I had an unplanned break from my gamedev work, I had a lot of time to think. When I first began this indiedev adventure 2 years ago, I came with a plan. This plan spread across years, including everything from the business/marketing plan all the way to exactly which games I would make and when (split into a weekly timetable). This might have been a bit much but hell it motivated me to get stuff done!

Of course, once I got into it, the plan was pushed to the side. I followed it loosely, but for the most part I went in my own direction. Maybe it’s time to create a new plan. Shorten it & avoid being as strict, especially in the ideas section. This may not be the best illustration but here’s a look at the new plan:

Basically, I start by getting this video done, which leads to a lot of other videos (over time). Videos are definitely not the main focus but there’s plenty of cool ideas to come. YouTube is a good place for me to experiment with some gamedev stuff.

Aside from that, we start updating my old games one by one, why? That will be explained in the first step. Again, this is not the main focus, but this is definitely a higher priority than creating videos (+ I might get a video from each update).

Then of course, no.1 priority is working on my own games! This starts with Jelly Toss my current project, finish what I started then we move on. I can’t talk too much about the next project yet, but as soon as Jelly Toss is published, a new game is born!

Finally, in between all of that we have a collab linked to a few things. I’m still not sure if this will happen, but I do have plans to participate in a game jam soon with someone else! I hope it does! I love game jams and working with someone makes everything easier! If not, I would still like to squeeze in a collab somewhere with somebody.

That’s the plan as it’s written, there’s enough work to keep me busy for months! How am I going to get it all done? The same way I did when I started. Planning wasn’t the only thing I did, I used various project management apps to track my tasks and manage my time. Eventually they all faded away, I began using Trello to manage my project and a random app to track my time. And now I usually just use notepad in my phone, create a simple to do list:

Probably not the best option but it works for me. Then I had an idea, why not just create my own productivity app? I only need a glorified to-do list with a few bonus features, can’t be too hard…

Secret App

So, I decided to spend some of my break planning and creating a productivity app. I only spent a few days on it, but I got a very basic prototype working. I decided to create this app in Unity, why? A couple of reasons, firstly I know how to use Unity and the idea here is to get it running without wasting much time.

Secondly, I would like to gamify the app as much as possible. Maybe not at first, but there’s plenty I could add to keep me motivated. I mean why shouldn’t I unlock an achievement when I make a new game?!

It is very basic at the minute but all I wanted is a to-do list to start. Here’s a look at it:

We can add tasks to a list, with a name, description, and colour. We can also create and assign tags to those colours to further categorise the list. It doesn’t look impressive visually, but the functionality I need is there!

We can edit/delete tasks should I make a mistake but you can’t reorder the list items just yet. That is something I would like to add. Finally, we can set the task as active, once it’s active I can’t change it until it’s complete, so get some damn jobs done! I wanted this to track my time too, but I didn’t quite get that far. That will do for now.

I won’t be adding any more to my little productivity app, but I will be making use of it. There’s plenty I’d like to do with it but for now, let’s see if it was worth it. I might find time to squeeze in the few missing features I mentioned sometime this month. I’ll keep you updated!

Goals for next month

Okay, this time we will be more realistic with our goals. Jelly Toss is still the primary focus but there’s a few other things I want completing. With that said, I don’t want to say, “IT WILL BE FINISHED”. Instead, I’d like to get it as close to complete as possible.

Honestly, I didn’t do much work on my game this month, I’ll just be happy to make progress again! I also want to get the unreleased video out! It still needs a final sweep of editing, then it’s ready for exporting and uploading. I expect a couple of days work most now. I think it’s best if I focus on that first, get that out of the way then I can get back on with the masterplan! At least I have a new app to keep track of my tasks. Let’s see how it goes.

Until next time…

2 thoughts on “April Dev Diary: Mission failed (kinda)

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