EverEnding DevBlog 162: Annual

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Well, another year passed, as they tend to do. And, as is common, I’m taking this as an opportunity to step back a bit and appraise where I’m at, both with this project and more generally. What have I achieved over the last year? This is one of the handy things about keeping these logs, is that I can go back and check.

January: I completely overhauled the game’s entity system to use a template system. This was actually a pretty big deal, a substantial enough change that I actually had started to forget it was even a change, that the system didn’t always work this way. I also made a new entity editor to handle this new kind of entity.

February: I created an entity draw command queuing system, support for registration points in animations, and fixed up some collision issues.

March: More collision, big improvements to the level tile editor, banged out a simple lighting system, updated resolution, created the first test enemy and wrote out design specs for the other enemies in the game.

April: Created some test tile sets, improved detail editor, finalized collision.

May: Roughed out basic mask enemy type and pathfinding algorithm.

June: Created some prototype animations for mask enemy type, created a central story document, developed basic mask enemy type behaviors.

July: Created prototype animations for mask enemy type, added spikes terrain type and player stun prototype animation

August: Anonymous template system, attack entity creation, attack interaction

September: Ranged attacks, mask enemy type behavior and animation improvements

October: Mask stone-throwing projectiles and animation, overhauled entity condition-checking system for more sophisticated animation cues, Dawn character design

November: Spear-throwing mask behavior, animation, and projectile

December: Started work on AnxEdit

Comparing this to my 2014 year-end retrospective is kind of interesting. I definitely had some slow months and some productive months in both cases, and I don’t really see any broad trends as to which were which – it seems to be largely circumstantial which months I get a lot done in, rather than strongly influenced by the seasons. In 2014 I had a big dead zone in June and May, in 2015 November really dragged. Though, going back and looking at the daily logs for that ‘dead zone’, it seems like I was still doing some small but important things, though I did have a lot of days where I was too tired to do much.

Anyway, it’s reassuring to look back and see that I wasn’t doing nothing all that time, that I merely wasn’t doing enough. I don’t think I’ll ever do enough to satisfy myself, so in that respect it’s fine, but I’m becoming increasingly concerned over whether I’m doing enough to ever finish the game. Well, maybe not increasingly concerned, but consistently concerned to greater or lesser degree over the last year or so.

So here’s what I’m thinking now, and this is just something that’s entered my mind over the last hour or two so given the test of time it may turn out to be stupid. I’ve had bad luck working to any other standard besides “do some amount of work on this project every day”, right? And that’s basically the standard I’ve applied to myself over the last several years. It’s yielded consistent results, but rather slow ones – at least, for each individual project. The benefit is that, since I’ve been working on multiple projects concurrently, my total creative output for the year is actually pretty okay. I have my progress on EverEnding, plus the Problem Machine blog posts, plus the album of music I’ve written (which I can hopefully release later this month), plus whateverall image commissions I’ve done to pay rent. Not so bad for a year’s work (though, of course, then again it could be better).

The first idea that occurred to me is: Maybe I should be working on another game in parallel with EverEnding? Trying to put EverEnding on hiatus for another project has generally turned out disastrously for me, but if I scope a game for a month or three of work and do that work simultaneously with working on EverEnding, I can get a small discrete project created without abandoning the thing I’ve been working on for the past few years.

So that’s interesting, and an idea worth considering. But just recently, I’ve had another, weirder idea: What if I worked on EverEnding in parallel with EverEnding?

Take this AnxEdit tool. It’s part of the EverEnding project, broadly speaking, but it’s also its own thing which may or may not see use on other projects. What if I were to try to get something done every day on AnxEdit and try to get something done every day on EverEnding? Or what if, once AnxEdit is done, I choose two chunks of EverEnding, say level construction and effects programming, and try to get a bit of work done on each of them every day? In this way, I can apply to myself to one project in the same way I’ve applied myself to multiple projects – imperfectly but with consistent effort.

Of course, for that to work well I’d kind of have to drop one of my existing projects, and I’m not quite sure I’m ready to do that. Definitely something to think about, though.

Anyway, progress is being made on AnxEdit. All of the controls are blocked in roughly, though they still aren’t, you know, implemented. It’s shaping up pretty quickly though.

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