I think the real trick with this game development/programming moonlighting that we're all doing is finding a way to consistently make a little bit of time for it, every or at least most days. We've all got a lot of other things going on that in some cases are more urgent, and in other cases are more important than making games and programming for fun.
I know for me, between work (which always takes more than 40 hours), running (I've got a half marathon I'm doing right in the middle of this competition), family responsibilities, sleep, and a reasonable amount of relaxation and entertainment, I've got my schedule pretty well booked without any additional programming.
The times when I'm successful, either at making games in these competitions or in writing books, or anything else serious in my spare time, I can attribute it to one thing: a little bit of work on it every day.
I know I've brought this up before, but I want to formalize it a little bit. So I'm going to make a little Mini-Challenge that runs as a part of the full competition.
(Having said that, you don't have to do this to do the full competition. And you don't have to do the actual competition to do this.)
The idea is simple.
Spend 30 minutes working on your game every day, for 30 days in the competition.
There are actually 31 in the competition, so you get a free day. (Don't use it too soon.)
I'm also going to give people the ability to earn flex days. If you spend 2+ hours in a single day, then you can earn an extra free day.
Some thoughts on flex days:
- Flex days must be earned in advance. (I'm debating this one in my head. Maybe retroactively is OK, but maybe there should be few days limit.)
- Even if you work 24 hours, I still think you should only earn one flex day. (This means no matter what, you'll have to do something on your game for at least 15 of the 31 days.)
- Yes, it's intentionally more time consuming to skip a day and earn a flex day than it is to just do something on both days. The purpose of this Mini-Challenge is to help me and others find a way to consistently make time for this kind of stuff.
"Work" on your game might be a little loosely defined, but…
- Programming counts.
- Playtesting your own game counts.
- Creating art, sound, etc. counts.
- Learning how to do something you need to know to make your game counts.
- Watching (off-topic) YouTube doesn't count.
- Looking at Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites doesn't count.
- Starting blankly at Visual Studio while daydreaming about how to rescue your Kerbals from the Mun doesn't count.
You know if you've been working. There's no point lying to anyone else about it.
I'd love to find a way to reward people for doing this. Honestly, I think if you've been inconsistent in previous competitions, but give this a try this time around, I think you'll find that a more complete game is a good reward.
I might dream up some other cool reward for this (let me know if you've got any ideas). But for now, the best I can do is give you another set of achievements to work on:
- Weak Streak. You complete 3 days of 30+ minutes of work on your game every day. (Earning and spending flex days is allowed.)
- Week Streak. You complete 7 days of 30+ minutes of work on your game every day. (Earning and spending flex days allowed.)
- 30 Minutes a Day Keeps the RB Away. You complete a 15-day streak of 30+ minutes of work on your game.
- 30/30. You conquer the 30/30 mini-challenge during the competition. (This could theoretically be claimed only 15 days in, if you worked 2+ hours every day and earned flex days.)
- Flexed. Earn a flex day by working 2+ hours one day.
- Flexiply. Earn (and optionally spend) 3+ flex days.
- Flextastic. Earn (and optionally spend) 5+ flex days.
- C-C-C-C-Combo Breaker! Your streak ends. Time to start a new one. (Getting this doesn't actually preclude you from completing the mini-challenge, because there's an extra day built in.)
- Face Your Darkest Fears. Making yourself focus for 30 minutes makes you tackle a task you weren't particularly excited about or struggling with, and you complete it or make some serious progress.