So I’m working on my first serious attempt at a GameMaker project.
The thing with working personal projects is balancing how much you talk about your project with how much you work on your project. You can’t be all talk and no action, obviously, and you probably shouldn’t simply spring a new project on an unsuspecting world, either.
I’m not yet sure how to do this right. I don’t want to spend a bunch of time describing something that doesn’t exist yet, especially if I may change my mind about particulars a bunch of times before I decide to release it. On the other hand, not talking about it just drives me crazy. I’m into my project, and it’s interesting and exciting to me, and I just have to talk about it.
The other thing that’s hard about talking about working on personal projects is talking about it with a proper level of authority and confidence. I’m doing things that are new to me, for the first time in many cases. But most of what I’m doing is technically not all that difficult or sophisticated. As much as I want to be excited about figuring out something, I don’t want to make myself look dumb by blogging things that are the equivalent of what “Hey, guess what I just figured out? When you have a plus sign between two quantities, that means they’re added together!” would be to a math blog.
What I do like about this project so far:
- The fact that I’m doing something that I’ve wanted to do my whole life.
- The fact that I can do it.
- The fact that I am doing it.
- That the progress thus far has been fairly steady.
- My process: planning, building experimentally, testing, documenting. I feel like I’m going about this in just the right way.
In fact, I really like my process. Here’s what I do:
- Sit down and think about what I want to do. Brainstorming. Create a list, prioritize it. This becomes my backlog.
- Work an item on the list until it’s done to where I’m satisfied with it for now. This involves building and running it to test it, over and over. I try to conceive of my solution first, then build it, starting small and simple, and building off of what I just did. I’m more tentative with things I haven’t mastered yet, but that’s the natural way of things.
- Write up what I did in my version history. Update the backlog, to either remove the item from the list, or more likely, update it to reflect the next level of refinement that I want to get to with that item.
So far, so good. I have a ways to go yet before I have something that’s worthy of an alpha release. I might have it out in a few weeks, we’ll see. What I have right now is playable, but not interesting as I’ve yet to implement any enemy behavior. I expect that the enemy behavior will be very interesting to work on, and probably one of the trickier aspects of the game and thus may take me longer than what I’ve done so far.