This post is going to be about something I’ve found to be the number one most important aspect when developing an indie game title in your spare time. Discipline.
I’m a pretty busy guy all things considered, I’m a husband, a father to 3 kids (14yrs, 3yrs, 4 months) and I have a full time job. I also like to make video games in my spare time.
As you can imagine that ‘spare time’ is very scarce and rarely do I get to choose when it is. Is the baby napping for an hour? Is the toddler at her Nanas for the afternoon? Does the teenager need a taxi somewhere? Lots of factors conspire to gobble up any free time I might have available.
Waiting for “motivation” or “inspiration” simply isn’t an option. When the planets align and I have spare time I leap into action. I have spare time! Right now! This is the time I have and I have to use it for gamedev, who knows how long it will last!
Motivation is fickle & unreliable, Discipline is a trained skill. Discipline leads to results.
One thing that helps for me is making sure I have varied tasks that need to be completed, I could work on graphics, coding, GUI, animation, dialog etc. I simply pick the one I most want to work on at that exact moment and make sure I actually work on it. I try not to binge on one particular aspect too long to make sure I can come back to it later.
Making progress is key here. Using this scant free time to make some kind of tangible improvement to the game is very important, no matter how small. For me, gamedev is a collection of hundreds of tiny steps towards a goal, each step being as important as the others.
So next time you’re waiting to be motivated to work on your dreams, use a bit of discipline and Just. Start. Working.
Seventeen Uncles is Jonathan Cheetham, in his "spare time" working on a point n click adventure game titled Seventeen Uncles: A Pug's Life, curently crowdfunding via kickstarter http://kck.st/1LwHhko