Set Yourself Up

The last chapter progress update I gave was finishing chapter 3 out of a total of 9. (Back in April) As of today I've finished scripting the cut scenes for chapter 8. There's been lots of work going into other parts of the game, but I'm feeling really good about completing the story sections so far. I wanted to take a moment and talk about my physical setup at home and my organization process for tasks. 

I dump EVERYTHING into a Google spreadsheet so I can access and work on it from home or take notes my phone if I'm out and about. I'll make separate tabs for different aspects of the project and I usually find it easy to organize what I have there. One tab is for the over all goal and high points of the game, another is for making a list of everything specific I need to build, and I check it off and add a date as it's completed. I make the tasks as small as possible so that when I sit down to work I know exactly what I want to work on. Plus, it's easier to stay motivated when checking off 3 or 4 things sometimes in a single day. Tasks are broken down into art or coding types, so if I just don't feel like programming on a certain night I can easily grab some art tasks to bust out.

This might not work for everyone, but I like this Excel-type format because I feel like I can do everything in it. I have a one tab that calculates rewards received based on various factors from hacking/battles with formulas, a tab for tracking any money I've spend on the project for a website, email addresses and contact lists, several tabs for character dialogue sorted by chapter, and a tab for writing pseudo-code on the go, etc.


I would also argue that huge piece of organizing a project is keeping a work space clear and distractions at a minimum. With a duel monitor setup it's easy to fall into the trap of throwing Netflix or Hearthstone onto the side screen and trying to program on the main one. Nights where I've done this, I might as well of just sat in the living room and watched TV because it would have been the same. I was significantly more likely to make mistakes in lines of code, wasting yet more time later to fix them. With the exception of a stern-looking Ganondorf Amiibo for motivation, I've removed all decorations and nick knacks from my desk, treating my space like a professional work station. Noise-canceling headphones and programming playlists exist for a reason, and if I could, I'd list them in the game's credits as executive producers.