Hi guys, its Vince
Many of us have projects we work a few hours a week working on. But often, we lose interest in a project and leave it or shutting it down. If it’s your case the question you must ask yourself is: How can I stay motivated and complete a part-time project?
I am currently developing a game with 3 friends, we call ourselves Tiebreaker Studio. The game is called Shape Invaders, it’s been in development for more than 2 years. Hopefully we will be able to finish it in the next few months. That said, I had developed a few tricks to keep me motivated through all this time and I’d like to share 5 of them with you.
Tip #1. Surround yourself with a good team
Before starting a project, you must be sure to have good teammates. Your friends are not necessarily good teammates. You must know each of them enough to be sure they will put as much effort as you during the various stages of the project. Teammates must have good communication skills and a good understanding of others expectations. As in a couple, the communication is very important in a team. A good team will be able to discuss problems and find solutions quickly. You should also setup some tools to help maintain good communication. In our case, our team has a Wiki, a bug base and we often use TeamSpeak to talk together remotely.
Tip #2. Keep a good pace (good frequency)
It is important to have good routine. You should book a few times during the week to work on your project. What is important is to work each week. You must be consistent and continue to invest efforts again and again until the project is completed. Personally, I often worked the weeknight and Sunday evening. I work when the children are asleep and when my wife listens to her TV series. In this way, I make sure to work a certain number of hours each week without losing quality time with my family.
Tip #3. Be well organized
In the team, it takes a person who is monitoring the project. It takes someone who plays the producer role. However, I do not think this is a full-time job. Using tools such as Jira from Atlassian or Trac from Edgewall Software, it becomes easier to empower every team member to keep their tasks up to date. Thus, monitoring is easier to perform for the person who is the producer. When every tasks are clear and the project planning is well organized, the team can clearly see the progress of the project and remains motivated.
Tip #4. Set goals every week
It is important to give you short-term goals to complete each week. Personally, it keeps me motivated because I set goals that I am capable of achieving. This way, it’s easy for me to see what I’ve done. Be careful, it’s better to attain a smaller goal than to miss normal one. So think small when setting your goal.
Tip #5. Meet from time to time to maintain a good team spirit
Remote working is great when doing a part-time project. It allows each team member to work when they want. However, it is important to stay in touch with all team members. I suggest planning meetings at regular intervals. These meetings allow the project to progress but they serve primarily to solidify the team. Meetings that are fun and productive forge a strong team spirit.
So I hope these tips will be helpful!
Here is a list of the tools we use at Tiebreaker Studio:
- TeamSpeak (http://www.teamspeak.com)
- Confluence (http://www.atlassian.com/software/confluence)
- Jira (http://www.atlassian.com/software/jira/overview)
Hi Guys it’s me Vince
It’s been several months since we started developing Shape Invaders and we love the experience so far. We make a good team and complement each others. Our team is made of two programmers, an artist and a designer. In this article, I will talk about benefits of being a small indie game developer.
1st Benefit: Freedom
Being an independent developer is freedom. Being independent is being free to put what you want in your game, to choose the technology you want for your game and to change any aspect of your game without having to hold 2-3 meetings to make sure everybody agrees. Being independent means being truly effective. We have no time to waste on trivialities. In a team like ours, when someone has an idea, we talk about it briefly, look at the good and the bad and make a decision. It’s fast, simple, and effective. Being independent is also having the freedom to decide how many features we want in our games and decide when to release them.
2nd Benefit: Pleasure, passion
Being an independent developer is also about making games for fun. For my part, I would be much less happy if I was making games alone and the game would look a lot crappier too. I love knowing that I am surrounded with talented people with whom I get along great. Also, I know that my friends put as much effort as me in the realization of our games. This helps keep my motivation high. Happiness also comes with passion. We all have a passion for video games. As a programmer, I love to give life to the resources that Rich produces. I love it when the game comes alive and players can finally enjoy it. It’s a feeling that makes me go crazy! What also makes me happy is to know for whom I’m doing this. Sure, I work for myself but for my friends too. I love knowing that what I do, I do it for them and their families. This is a project that impacts the lives of several people I love and that really matters to me. In a large company, you make the game, get your salary and that’s it.
3rd Benefit: Close relation with fans
Being indie is also making games for players, for fans. It seems a little silly to write that, but it’s true. We do not develop a game for a publisher or a license, we develop it for the players. In a way, being independent and small humanizes us a bit more compared to industry giants. We write more often on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to get in touch with our fans. We are much less “corporate”. We also listen more carefully to feedback from players and it is very important in the development of a game. That way, we can improve a game faster and even add features that we might have never thought of.
4th Benefit: Learning new skills
When you create a game and build a small studio, the things to do are numerous as they are varied and even with our experience sometime there are some tasks we’ve never done before and have to learn, and that’s great! Being an independent game developer allows us to develop new skills and improves our resourcefulness, which in the end make us better at what we do.
As you can see, being small and independent has many advantages but it also has some drawbacks that we will share in another article. So stay tuned as more Tiebreaker goodness are coming your way in the coming weeks!
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