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Randy's Changelog v0.9

Changelog v0.9
Happy Easter Sunday!
This week has been quite a biggie, so let’s hop right to it.
I’ve begun work on my new and improved, scope reduced project named MW. (I won’t spoil the name for ya ;)
I was working on a prototype for this game a while back and the basic premise was chop trees -> collect wood -> design base -> build base.
old prototype
old prototype
But that scope was a little too high and I lost motivation. So this time around, I’ve chopped it off at the knees and now it’s just a game about chopping trees and collecting wood.
Let’s face it, this isn’t going to be the most absolutely enthralling game out there, but that’s not what I’m aiming for.
My goals with this game are simple:
  • to actually ship a game to Steam
  • to create a chill, polished, almost meditative experience that you can relax into after a long days work
Yet despite the simplicity of this project, I’m still going to do everything within my power to make this tree chopping simulator an enjoyable game.
So how do I do that?
Well, the movements on the micro level need to feel really great and punchy - Axe swinging, tree felling, wood carrying, and wood storage.
To accomplish that, it really comes down to game polish. But that’s something I’m going to heavily avoid for now since I want to get the core mechanics finished first and not get stuck on some micro adjustments.
At the other end of the spectrum, there’s the macro level. You’ve gotta have a purpose behind chopping trees in the first place. What is the player building towards, what’s the goal?
Well, it’ll be made clear that the character is collecting wood in order to be able to construct a log house. Which also doubles as a nice lead-in to the future base-building game.
The collection progress will be tracked via a counter. Collect X amount of logs and then the credits roll, game is finished.
Alright! So that’s practically the entire game design fleshed out from beginning to end, time to get to work on this.
I find that starting a new project is always the hardest part. It’s like every inch of my body is questioning “Do we really want to spend an entire month working on this project?”
After some serious deliberation, my answer to that being: fuck yea.
Let’s get crackin.
Monday - I cloned my old Unity project and removed base building
job well done, let’s call it a day!
Tuesday - I wrote two lines of code
phew, that was hard work
Wednesday - Added in log piles that you could add and remove wood from. You can also create a new pile by smashing logs together.
okayyy, now we're getting somewhere
okayyy, now we're getting somewhere
Thursday - I found a fully rigged and animated 2D character asset on the Unity store for nine fucking dollars, which I integrated into the game with animations.
I’m still absolutely baffled at how amazing this is. It’s literally saved me weeks worth of work that I would have rushed through and done a shitty job of anyway.
ayo this is starting to come together
ayo this is starting to come together
Friday - I yeeted the log piles and instead made a physics-based collection depo that you can add to by playing log basketball.
This is a lot more fun, and it’ll be better for the game design to have a central collection depo than scattered piles.
There’s a clear compounding effect here as each day passes. Monday I barely got anything done, but by Friday I was absolutely flying. It took me a while to ramp up into things, but I certainly got there in the end.
This can be summarised beautifully by a brief convo I had with my Dad on Tuesday.
“How’d your day go?” he said.
“Yeaaaah, better than yesterday.” I replied.
“Better than yesterday, but not as good as tomorrow.”
sounds about right.
I built up some great momentum throughout this week, but how is that going to hold up against the weekend?
I love spending Saturdays doing something I like to call Systems Saturday.
I take a good hard look at my life and workflows, and try to figure out where my current bottleneck lies. What’s the one thing that if could fix, would improve my life?
This week’s bottleneck was my lack of sleep.
I got a little carried away Thursday night by reading The Art of Computer Programming and watching this lecture series on category theory. Before I knew it, it was midnight and I woke up the next morning running on 7 hours sleep, feeling noticeably worse than the day prior (when I got 9 hours).
To try fix this, I whipped up an evening routine to help me wind down each day better. One that still allows for me to go down these weird programming rabbit holes, just within more reasonable times hehe.
After doing a bit of bottle neck widening, I turned my attention to my personal knowledge management systems.
I did a massive overhaul on my entire task management system and moved it all into Obsidian (my note taking app/digital garden).
Until now, my tasks used to exist in a separate app called Tick Tick. But now they’re united with my notes in one big contextually happy unity :)
Saturdays have quickly become my favourite day of the week. I just absolutely love tinkering with my PKM systems and trying to optimise my workflows.
It’s a lot of fun trying to try figure out how I can best help my fully autonomous day-to-day self run like a well oiled machine.
Sundays are just as fun. They’re a day of rest and reflection.
I kick em off by doing my weekly review, which is a checklist that I run through each week to ground myself and declutter.
woah now that's meta
woah now that's meta
These changelogs have become an integral part of that workflow. They help me wrap up what I’ve experienced in the last week into a neat little package.
It lets me take a look at what went right and reflect on what went wrong.
Speaking of, as much as I love my weekends, I’ve got a slight issue with them at the moment.
Going back to game dev and the momentum I was building from earlier, it’s kinda just grinded to a halt as I run my weekend routines.
I’ll be starting the cycle all over again tomorrow on Monday. (granted, with a little more general momentum since I’ve already started the project)
To improve this, instead of calling init(); on my regular routines straight away next weekend, I’ll instead boot open Unity and sneak a cheeky lil bit of game dev in before hand.
Just 60 minutes or so.
That way I can maintain (and even continue building) that momentum throughout the weekend, so that when Monday rolls around and the starting pistol goes off, I’ve already hit the ground running.
Another thing that lead to last Monday being so low-energy for me, was probably the fact that I like to be caffeinated on my weekends.
Monday is just one big hangover from my cracked up Saturday and Sunday highs.
So I’m wondering what it would be like to get rid of that and quit caffeine altogether? Instead of my weekends being these extremely intense peaks and valleys, what if they’re just a quiet, gentle concentration.
By extension, that state of mind would continue to build in one long steady momentum building snowball.
I’m gonna test that out over the next month and see what happens. I’ll get back to you on that one.
Here’s what I’m pouring my entire existence into this week though - by the end of it, I will have completed the entire breadth of the experience for MW. It will be playable beginning to end, and ready for Polish Rando™ to come in and beautify the shit outta it with some art, game juice, sound effects, and music.
I’m looking forward to it. It’s time to wrap this bad boy up though. My fingers have typed 12561 characters this morning and I’m startin to get a lil hangry.
I’m off to go make today better than yesterday, but worse than tomorrow.
I’ll cya next Sunday.
- randy
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Randy @bigrando420

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