Tips and Tricks: Sporadic Hobby Time

in Tips and Tricks

While not all of you out there are, I imagine that a significant portion of our fans are adults. And even those that aren’t? Generally teens in high school with homework, extra-curriculars, and that exam on Thursday that you forgot to study for.

You heard me Jimmy, hit the books!

You heard me Jimmy, hit the books!

The truth is, very few of us make a living making games, so all of us have some responsibilities to handle outside of doing it.

And what does that mean? Sometimes you have time to work on your game, sometimes you don’t. And this is a tricky situation to be in! Stop and go on a project can really really drag it out longer than it needs to. (I know this first hand… as some of our friends on the forum full well know.)

So here are 3 tips to help you out when you are jumping back and forth on your project.

Tip 1: Plan time to work on your game!

The thing is, when you have a lot of responsibilities, or just other hobbies, it’s very easy to put a game project on the backburner for a long time. Instead of just saying “I’m going to do X later”, actually schedule time specifically for working on your project. Even just 3-4 hours a week is something, and because you schedule for it, you can fit other responsibilities around it. If you don’t schedule time for it, trust me, your schedule will have a way of filling itself up.

Just remember, scheduling game dev time instead of sleep is NOT HEALTHY!

Just remember, scheduling game dev time instead of sleep is NOT HEALTHY!

Tip 2: Set goals and a timeline!

Yeah, you won’t always meet the goals you set, but making a timeline, giving yourself deadlines, if you take them seriously, will force you to try to prioritize making time for the project. Sure it won’t come in over your actual responsibilities, but if you tell yourself “I’m going to finish that sprite this week”, you’ll think twice before starting another episode of that show you’ve been watching until 6am in the morning cause you lost control of your life and… wait no, I’m talking about myself there. (… Noooooo, it’s not 6am right now while I write this… It’s 5:55am. There’s a difference)

Tip 3: WRITE NOTES!

This is a big one. Because let’s face it. Even if you are taking your self-imposed deadlines seriously. Even if you are working on your project every spare moment you have. The truth is sometimes your non-hobby life will take over and you won’t touch your project for a week. Two weeks. Maybe even a month.

And all those cool ideas you hadn’t had time to implement yet. You will barely remember what they even were. So always, always jot down notes while you are making your game. Jot down notes when you are just thinking about your game. Always make sure you have something to go back to that tells you what your plan was!

Now if only I had actually organized these notes...

Now if only I had actually organized these notes…

Making a game, finding time to make a game, while balancing the rest of your life is a daunting proposition. One that I’m terrible at, but really hoping to improve. What advice do you have for people trying to organize their life to finish a game?

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