#devtober day 3: Polished up the elite affix system. Fixed a bunch of bugs and added art. It's looking pretty good! Still unbalanced, but I think I'll leave it as-is for now. pic.twitter.com/7GFJA4o8S0— Edward Lu (@Chaosed0) October 4, 2019
This past October, I participated in Devtober. You can take a look at their website for more information, but to summarize: it’s a game development challenge where you work on your game every day for one month, then write up a postmortem about what you learned.
Devtober also happened to coincide with me going full-time indie! I’ve been self-employed since Sept. 16th. Devtober actually didn’t change much how I work on games - I’ve been trying to work a little bit every day for a while - but going full-time certainly did.
Because of that, Devtober ended up being a bit of a different experience for me than for others. That’s not to say it was a disappointment, though! Below are some of the highlights and problems I faced during the month.
What I accomplished
#devtober day 18 - Added in teleportation beacons! You can probably build these late game, but they'll start out scattered around the island, and will take you to mysterious places... pic.twitter.com/8A8oiOthMQ— Edward Lu (@Chaosed0) October 19, 2019
Unlike a lot of other participants, I didn’t have a project in mind to complete during Devtober. I was already working with Nick Amlag at the time on Obelus, the project depicted at the top of the post, and we figured we’d simply keep working on it.
However, that very quickly changed on October 4th, when Ludum Dare happened. Nick and I decided to participate on a whim and ended up creating Alchemicraft, which garnered a lot of positivity from various friends and random people on the internet. We decided to pause work on Obelus and see how far we could take Alchemicraft.
That also means we had a bit of a hodgepodge month, with progress on both a more mature game and a very young one, so it’s harder to write about. However, it was also a great opportunity to experiment and grow as a developer.
So how’d Devtober go, overall? I had a couple of goals that I wanted to meet:
- Post progress on Twitter every day, no exceptions, to get more acquainted with social media.
- Lay a foundation so I don’t go insane working in my room alone every day.
What went right
- I met my goal of posting every day!
- I learned a lot about what kind of media and text got people to engage with my tweets. In-depth explanations have their place, but simple jokes and clear gameplay do best.
- I learned that making media takes a while, and takes effort. Because clarity is paramount, it takes a couple of tries to make a video understandable at-a-glance, but the time ends up being worth the engagement.
- I’ve got a bunch of cool posts that I can show people when they ask me what I’ve been up to.
What could have gone better
- A few of my tweets did fairly well, but none of my tweets reached widespread engagement. I don’t count this as a loss because the month was all about learning, but it would have been nice to see some success.
Not going insane
What went right
- I took a day off each week. Devtober states that you should try to work on your game a little every day, but I deliberately flaunted this suggestion. I consider this a success - I can often get sucked into my projects!
- I attended way more social & networking events than I did previously, when I was working a full-time job, even though they can be exhausting for me.
- I worked out regularly, which I’ve found helps my work output.
What could have gone better
- Sometimes I’d be at my desk at home for nearly ten straight hours or more. This ended up being kind of draining, and I can tell that this is causing physical issues.
- The above is exacerbated by my work and my hobbies (making & playing video games) being at the same place. I feel that I should try picking up some other hobbies that don’t take place at a desk.
- I definitely felt a bit isolated in my room all day. Near the end of the month, I took a part-time desk at a coworking space, which ended up helping. We’ll see how it progresses in the months to come.
#devtober day 31 - Implemented boars which are super protective of their young. Can be inconvenient, but can also be taken advantage of...— Edward Lu (@Chaosed0) November 1, 2019
That'll do it for devtober! Expect the postmortem for my first full-time #indiedev month soon. pic.twitter.com/Czk7pl61uW
Despite not fitting the exact developer archetype it was targeting, Devtober was a great opportunity for personal growth! Thanks to the entire Devtober crew for organizing the event.