Invisible progress syndrome

It’s time to take some time off and learn more about the tools that I’m using.  This can be quite time consuming,  so please bear with me as I might have several days of no visible progress.

It’s a sad reality,  but a reality nonetheless.  Sometimes progress is invisible,  so that means there’s no point in posting a new version of the game.

What kinds of invisible progress am I talking about?  Here’s a list:

  1. learning stuff
  2. rewriting code to make it better
  3. writing new code but it doesn’t work yet
  4. developing new graphics, sounds, etc. that aren’t integrated into the game yet.
  5. Doing some experimentation that fails somehow.

This isn’t a complete list,  but you get the idea.  Just because there’s no new version it doesn’t mean there’s no progress.  Still,  it goes against the spirit of this project to have very much of this.

As I look at the invisible progress list,  only items 3 and 4 stand out as just plain bad.  To avoid 3,  code should be written to do small incremental, testable steps.  To avoid 4 simply stuff the new assets into the game someplace just to look at them or hear them.

Learning, or research,  are often necessary,  but it’s preferable to not overdo it.  Finishing the project has to take higher priority.

Rewriting the code is often better than trying to fix it.  If the code has grown into a tangled mess it’s best to toss it  and start over.

Experimentation will fail sometimes.  If it doesn’t then you’re not doing it right.


About Franz Lanzinger

Franz Lanzinger is a classic video game developer with video game credits for Atari's coin-op Crystal Castles, Tengen Ms. Pacman, SNES Rampart, and the Gubble series. He has a degree in mathematics, wrote "Classic Game Design", a book about how to make classic video games, and is a professional pianist, accompanist and piano teacher.
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