I set out on my little adventure, 5 months ago. The first month was nothing but brushing up on art skills, drawing, painting and getting familiar with various software items. Photoshop, Zbrush, Unity and modeling a lot using Maya. The second month was mainly working with the first prototype I did in Unity and expanding on that. Looking for interesting things to be spawned from the woodwork.
To start with, I was very optimistic about my time and how long some of these things would take. And the biggest mistake about those is that I was trying to box everything into these very short sprints that would tell me that within a certain time the game would be ready. Just storm forth and stick to what you have, but as I put more hours into it, a lot of the previous ideas became unattractive and I really did not want to work on something I have just half a faith in.
Some of the things I studied during the first month actually gave me quite a few interesting ideas and viewpoints that make a lot of sense. When working on large paintings or projects, it can be hurtful to focus on just one aspect of it, and when you start to struggle with a detail, you move onto something else until the detail you were struggling with seems manageable, or this mental stutter is gone away. Artists move around the painting/drawing a lot so that they get a better view of the whole and don’t paint themselves into a corner. The same practice is a good one to have, when working on any project on your own.
Move around and try to fuel your enthusiasm by any means necessary. There is not a straight line from start to finish, and just as master painters use layers of guidelines to assist with the final look of things. The rough sketch that lies underneath will not reflect accurately what will be placed on top of it.
I don’t have timed targets anymore, I have feature and visual targets to reach. I have rough estimates of how long this might take, but those don’t seem to be very accurate and they put restrictions on my freedom and make me feel like I am working for someone besides myself. And while I am paying my own way, that is not going to be a factor in what I am doing.
I can be accurate about time measurements when I am repeating something and have an accurate view of how long it will take based on a previous run. But with items, where I am still mastering things and getting comfortable with them, times get stretched. And as I have learned something new and mastered something else, a previous assumption might be made inaccurate, which can cause shifts in other estimates.
I will not make any promises about time, until I am confident I can keep to it.
Until then, I am working on keeping the project interesting and making sure that what I end up with will be something I can put my name on.
Not cutting corners, and not slowing down.