Focus on Finishing

It’s been a while since my last post, and also a while since I’ve completed anything useful on Gateway. Oh sure, I’ve had some time here and there to actually sit down, open up the project file, and write some code or build some environments. The real problem, I realized this morning as I got out of the shower, was that I hadn’t been making good use of my time. And here’s why.

I haven’t had as much time lately to devote to my game – this meant that instead of spending time actually producing work, I was internally building up new worlds, weapons, and graphical effects, all in my head. Whenever I found an hour or so to sit down with my favourite pet project, I’d want to try them out. I wouldn’t have time to finish anything, so the next time I sat down on my computer I would work on another feature. With nothing really completed, this just resulted in a bunch of nonessential, half-finished weapons, environments, or effects that didn’t do anything to further my progress on the game itself. Some of them were even detrimental to the project because they required changes to the existing engine.

So, as I stepped through my sliding shower doors this morning, it struck me: I really need to focus on the more important parts of the game. Hadn’t I given myself this advice several times already in the past?

This was a really good kick in the pants that I needed. (There’s probably a joke in there somewhere.) In the several hours that I’ve had this weekend, I’ve listened to the wiser part of myself and decided not to implement any new features or try any new experiments with graphical effects. Don’t get me wrong; all of those things are great fun and always a valuable learning experience. But by focusing my efforts this weekend on completing features that were absolutely critical to the game, I accomplished a lot. In the space of several hours, I had done the following tasks:

  • Removed the old, crappy explosion effect and created a much better one with my custom-built particle editor (I’ll post about that sometime)
  • Addressed some major frame rate smoothness issues and screen tearing problems (this one had been eating away at me for a while now)
  • Starting correcting the appearance of the first-person player shield effect (another problem that desperately needed fixing)
  • Corrected some minor issues that occurred with the ordnance system

And, there’s still a few hours left in the weekend as I write this! Who knows what else I’ll accomplish today?