How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat? (Mar-Apr Recap)

My most read post is a post entitled “You’re-doing-it-wrong (common indie dev mistakes to avoid” -probably because of the somewhat inflammatory title. More accurately, it would just be called “Things I was doing wrong, that you might like to know about, so that maybe you won’t do them wrong too” but that isn’t quite as grabby, so here we are.
Anyway, I do a lot of things wrong, so I come across this shit all the time. Thus, I have decided to make it a recurring feature of this devlog.

This episode (are they episodes?) of You’re doing it wrong is for those of us who ‘wear many hats’ (as they say) in our game development journey. I’ve seen a lot of devs, especially solo devs, talk about how regularly changing up their current role (programmer, artist, etc..) keeps their work fresh and helps them stay motivated.
I, too, have made this claim…

IT’S A TRAP!

I am wiser now. And so, too, shall you be:
While it certainly feels like you’re keeping yourself motivated; in the long term, what you’re really doing is teaching your brain that novelty is more important than discipline. Now every time you run into the actual work part of a project, your brain’s like, “Nah. Why finish? Let’s go get some novelty!” You lose interest and start yet another project. You’ll never finish anything that way. I know because I’ve never finished anything.

So don’t depend on novelty for motivation/inspiration. Don’t depend on passion either. Those are all great things, but they never finish.
When your work is fun, appreciate it. When it’s not, don’t stop. Discipline is key.

(Disclaimer: This (like anything) isn’t true in every context. Sometimes you get burned out and novelty might be the perfect medicine to get you going. The problem comes when you start to depend on that medicine.)

PS: I couldn’t resist one more analogy:
Top speed > Acceleration (Discipline > Novelty/Passion)

And now for the
2-month recap:

Let’s see, I ran into all kinds of fun problems which forced me to put on other hats. This website became a malware threat, was suspended, and then I spent 2 weeks emailing different robots and deleting files until they finally gave me my site back.

Then I went to build my Save System and learned that (now that I’m practically finished system building) that’s the kinda thing you’re supposed to plan out and build all other systems around… Oops! Luckily, I think there’s an asset that can solve this for me.. Lesson learned, I guess.

Speaking of systems built on top of other systems: The beginning of these two months went something like this: Built a Terrain System based on the Noise System. Built an Object-Placement System based on the Noise System, but it didn’t match the terrain. Redesigned the Noise System to reconcile the differences. Then designed and built an extremely-complicated Weather System based on the Noise System, which, turns out, doesn’t match the terrain’s or the object-placer’s noise chunks. So now I’m in the middle of rebuilding parts of ALL those systems in addition to a new Chunks System (which I shoulda did in the first place) for them all to obey.

The Weather System: I may have gotten carried away with this one. This thing reads the elevation, converts it to atmospheric pressure, adds sun and subtracts wind & clouds to get temperature, which results in evaporation (based on water level), which results in humidity, which results in clouds and eventually precipitation, all of which results in more wind/temperature/evaporation/precipitation and on and on.. It takes a ton of tweaking to balance, but it’s pretty fancy.

Once the Weather System was complete, I had to get out of all that noise chunk nonsense, so I built a Splash Logo System and a Quest System. Both of which were pretty easy and straight-forward.

After I finish fixing up all the noise chunk nonsense, the only systems left on my backlog are Preloader/Scene Management Systems, Analytics System, Achievements System, and the Save System which I’ll probably just buy.
Soooo close.
After I wrap up the systems, I plan to build a small game that uses them all so I can test it all out and see how the systems are all working together (and what’s missing). Maybe you can play it – who knows, but it’s gonna be ugly because I haven’t done any shader work yet (No switching hats!). So once it’s all tested and working, thus begins the summer of shaders!


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