persistence Posts

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Developers

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Developers

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with some amazing developers over the past couple of years. I got to watch in the shadows when I consulted with game companies, I got to work side by side with them when I developed web platforms, and I got to observe them when they worked for me. Being a developer myself, I’m always looking for the opportunity to learn something from someone, so I’ve paid keen attention to the things the guys I admired said and did.

Being a developer is one of those things you can never really be perfect at. There’s always more to learn and there’s always a next step. So as I was looking through my notes recently to review them as I do often, I found a list of things I had written down during that period of my life that could help me improve. After reading through them, I realized this list of commonalities goes way beyond just me, and I decided to share them. Here are what I call the 7 habits of highly effective developers.

 

Game Development: What To Do When You Have No Idea What To Do

Game Development: What To Do When You Have No Idea What To Do

I was staring at my computer screen like a senile old man stares into space. I was clearly looking at something, yet my focus was not present. I was lost in my head, thoughts and ideas racing past me like a cat that just saw a cucumber.

I had no idea what to do.

I was in the middle of this massive project. So many pieces, so many things to do…yet I had no idea where to begin. It started out great. I just jumped in and worked on the fun parts. But all the fun parts were done, and now I was dealing with the aftermath of getting slapped in the face with the big fat fist of reality. My project was bigger than my head could handle at this point, and it was driving me psycho. My brain felt like it was ruining my life, like a deranged vault dweller with a Fatman.

This had to stop.

60 Tips to Stay Motivated and Finish Your Indie Game

60 Tips to Stay Motivated and Finish Your Indie Game

When I started programming WAYYYY back in 2005, making stuff was awesome. But more often than not, I found myself starting on projects and abandoning them when something else that was cooler popped into my head. When I eventually moved on to bigger more ambitious projects, I would find myself abandoning them deep into the build process, never wanting to look at them again. People would ask me what I did, and I would tell them I was a game developer. Then they would ask to see some of my games.

For a long time I felt like a failure, and it really bummed me out. I started to look around and ask for help on the internet, to see if any poor soul had the same issues I had. As it turns out, the vast majority of indie developers struggle with these very things. Finishing a game seems to be one of the single hardest things for an independent developer to do. The fact that such a deeply personal feeling was so common and universal blew me away. I know what that shit is like, it sucks. It made me feel horrible to work on all these things I was passionate about and never be able to complete them.

But one day not too long ago, I broke through and actually finished my first game. It took me 10 years, but I did it. Here are some things I’ve learned on that long, hard journey to stay motivated and finish my game.

 

Why Being Broke And Having No Budget Is Great For Making Video Games

Why Being Broke And Having No Budget Is Great For Making Video Games

I remember it like it was yesterday. My bank account notified me that my balance was at $0.15 the same day that I had gotten an email about my largest client pulling my biggest project. In an instant, the  majority of my income went down the drain. Good times.

Now had I let that stop me and make me quit working on things I loved, I never would have learned a few extremely valuable lessons.

I’m not gonna lie, that winter was ruff. It was right around the holidays, and I was visiting friends and family at the time. But I got through it, and I kept working on my projects. And the things I learned that winter will be with me for the rest of my life. And lucky me, I get to share them now with you. Here are the 3 things I learned about why being broke is surprisingly awesome for making games.