Hello friends, fans and family! Hope you’re all well and that you’ve enjoyed christmas and new years with your loved ones 🙂

2020 is over and 2021 has just begun which means a symbolic fresh start. I usually set a couple of goals for the year on this day and I like to look back at them a year down the road to see how much (or little) progress I’ve made but also whether those goals still seem relevant. I though I would make this post to share some progress with you but also some random thoughts about goal setting etc.

Goals VS behaviours/habits

Before I start sharing progress I just want to briefly touch on the subject of goals. I learned somewhere years ago to set S.M.A.R.T goals which means goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time bound

Different “gurus” have different words for each letter but the principles are the same. An example of a smart goal could be:

I want to lose 20 pounds by the 1 of July 2021.

Is it specific? Yes. Is it measurable? Very much so. Achievable? Well, that depends I guess. Relevant? If it’s important to you and it’s highest on the list of priorities then yes. Time bound? Yes.

While there’s not necessarily anything wrong with this approach I’ve read a lot of books on Habits and they have a slightly different approach. Here are two really good books on the subject that I highly recommend:

What these books have in common is that they focus on the behaviours and habits needed to attain goals and not so much the goals themselves. There’s less focus on the end result and much more focus on what you need to do right now:

  • Eat half a plate of vegetables with every meal
  • Take a 15 minute walk each day

This is the way I think about everything I want to get done nowadays since it’s what works best for me. I only count/measure amount of days I go to the gym for example. I don’t have a goal. Why? Cause if you go to the gym and work hard you will get fit. All the other pieces will fall into place by themselves gradually. You don’t need to worry about perfection. You just need to do the work. It’s also much easier for the mind to just make sure to do one simple thing and keep track of it. With time all the goals will be attained.

This is my approach to ANY goal basically:

Goal? Make a game.

How? By putting in the work

But it’s so much work? Work on it as often as you can no matter how little you do. Commit to the mantra NO MORE ZERO DAYS

This is how I’ve worked on the game. I don’t have much time but I try to work on it each and every day no matter how little. One day I just fix a bug. Another day maybe I’m so lazy that I only google something I need to learn or implement and I just make a bookmark of the link. Still progress. Every day.

MORNINGS ARE THE SHIET

Learn to love mornings. The majority of people are sleeping in the morning which usually means: families are sleeping, gyms are empty, work hasn’t started. My life changed when I started to wake up early. No exaggeration. The first thing I do is work on my game. I do my absolute best to never leave it to the end of the day.

TIME KEEPING

I started with the habit of time keeping for shits and giggles so I can look back at my efforts and see how much time I spent on the game. I started with this in week 32 (August 3, 2020) and noted down every single minute spent consciously working on the game. I stopped this on December 18, 2020 when I decided to take a total break during the holidays and “break the chain”. The result of that period was:

  • 131 days in a row (with time measuring, I worked every day before that)
  • Fewest hours worked in a week: 10.00
  • Longest hours worked in a week: 16.00
  • Average hours worked per week: 12.35

Note: I also take care not to overdo it. I try to work no more that 14 hours average per week since more than that is not feasible with a day job and a family if I want to keep my health.

GAME PROGRESS

Finally, what you probably came here for :D. When 2020 started all I had was this:

At this point there was basically nothing besides what you see. No UI. No AI. No gameplay. Just a skeleton of something…

Start of 2021

Game at this point looks like this:

Here’s a long list of some of the stuff done during this year:

  • Changed size of the tiles from 32×32 to 24×24.
  • Added animations and polished the graphics.
  • Added a UI.
  • Added a dialogue system.
  • Added AI.
  • Added enemy intentions.
  • Added a “swing meter” mini-game.
  • Named the game “Guardians of Gridvale”
  • Bought gridvale.com and guardiansofgridvale.com
  • Made a bare bones website.
  • Made sure that the game builds and runs on well WebGL.
  • Became a steamworks partner so I can release the game on steam
  • Made sure that characters can level up and select skills.
  • Added mouse input
  • Added shortcut keys
  • Created an instagram account
  • Created a fb page
  • Created a page on itch.io
  • Bought tools for music making
  • Hired an illustrator to create this:
  • And “hired” a friend to create this:

This year I will be focusing on these things:

  • Tech-Demo for my newsletter subscribers
  • Public demo on itch.io
  • Create a kick ass trailer
  • Build content
  • Create the steam page
  • Keep growing the audience with posts on twitter, instagram, facebook, reddit etc

The game will not be finished this year either but I am aiming for having it fully playable at least. 2022 is meant for polishing. Keep a look out for the public demo or join the newsletter if you want to play it earlier!

Thanks a million for taking an interest “Guardians of Gridvale”. Til next time!

// Luis

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