#GameDev Breakdown Podcast – Organization and Productivity

Since the start of the new year I’ve focused on coordinating content for our listeners that would improve their craft in a more direct and measurable way. We’ve hit on some popular topics since that time. Thinking like an entrepreneur, promoting your indie game, and accessibility all seemed to resonate with listeners in a much more real way than our previous reactionary gaming news talk and our other AM radio douchebaggery. And that feels¬†good.¬†

To push that momentum even further, we’re wandering out into Indie Land to see what problems we can bring back to the lab and, well, break down. What keeps catching my eye lately is indies (and pros) talking about the wide variety of real life problems that stand in the way of putting in project time. And, oh, I get it. John and I are both dads working full-time with separate side hustles and we both still desperately want to gain traction with our first cooperative indie game. We harp on overuse of the phrase “real soon” in this week’s show, but believe me, we have to use it a lot too.

That doesn’t mean we don’t have the answers! We’ve had to conquer some absolutely wild personal scenarios to achieve what we have professionally and as weekend warrior creators, and I gathered no small amount of wisdom from people infinitely more qualified than us. Our goal this week is to get you past “real soon,” and send you back to the battle renewed.

Resources

Organize your project

  • Comment your code like a champThis Medium post does a great job of examining different schools of thought on the topic and shows great examples for inspiration.
  • Use source control – Just do it. Get Git. They have great tutorials and it’s also free to use their great book.
  • Document your check-ins effectively – If it seems like a small detail to worry about, really think over this post.
  • Number your releases like the pros – If you never thought or cared about this before, I get it, but be ready for that moment you’ll need to enter a seemingly intelligent version number for the benefit of your players in the app stores. Semantic Versioning is a great system for it.

Organize your life

  • Stay on task – The Pomodoro Method is such an effective personal productivity strategy, it’s survived being called The Pomodoro Method. The book is freely available. Look it over and pick up a valuable weapon in the war on procrastination.
  • Make task lists for your project – This is important if you work alone, and even more important if you don’t. Trello is an awesome tool that small teams can use for free.
    • Make note that we’re talking about implementing the Kanban method here, and you’ll hardly notice you’re doing it. If you want to look into the actual mechanics of this system, there’s a great video from Eric Brechner about how his team at Microsoft uses it and has for over four years. You can also buy his book with money, if you like.
  • Make task lists for your life – As I stress in the show, I don’t believe any effort in your life reaches its full potential if you let the rest of your life fall apart. I use Trello for my personal tasks as well, and it’s super effective. A notebook could be just as good. Just do it.

As always, thanks for listening and participating. We have a ton of fun doing each episode. Thanks to those who contributed questions this week! If you want to help us out, share the show with a friend, leave us a kind rating on iTunes or somewhere else, and subscribe to get new episodes before anyone else!

Catch you around the web.

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