sceners with a full-time job (especially programmers), how do you do it?

category: general [glöplog]
as is no secret, me and some others are trying to put together an nvision entry. and at least for me it's very hard to, after a day or week of work find the time and/or right mood to sit down and get productive. i'm a tad unsure why that is, but it's frustrating as part of you wants to be productive and another part keeps postponing stuff.

so, those in a likewise position but who *do* crank out stuff -- how exactly is your mindset or how do you make it happen? i'm interested to hear.
added on the 2008-08-11 17:46:08 by superplek superplek
maybe optimus wants to tell us how he managed to finish his euskal entry after all!
added on the 2008-08-11 17:47:50 by skrebbel skrebbel
yeah that's not what i'm after :)
added on the 2008-08-11 17:51:06 by superplek superplek
I have full time job as a Director, and I have a family. The only way I get to do stuff is an hour here or there. So I do some effect or other. If its tiny it gets released as a 1k, if its bigger it goes into the 4k pile and when I have enough I can release. The drawbacks are obvious. No design, no real goals, just compressed effects. But thats life, I can grab time here or there so its all I can really do. I really do want to do something bigger but not being a programmer by trade, things take me a lot of time so its just too daunting to begin...by the time I finish anything it'll be out of date. Its not ideal but hey, I still enjoy it.
added on the 2008-08-11 17:53:11 by auld auld
That's why god made vacations! And you can also tell your employer that it's research...
added on the 2008-08-11 17:53:36 by gencha gencha
It took me a year of professional programming and nowadays I don't do it anymore. I *am* working on something, but..
added on the 2008-08-11 17:54:59 by Preacher Preacher
wasnt it hitler who came up with the citizen's right to have an amount of days off each year? :) (seriously..)

i've planned my vacation right *after* nvision (real stupid). but even when i have the time off there's loads of things to do around the house and so on (and the actual act of relaxation, which is kind of important too).
added on the 2008-08-11 17:55:39 by superplek superplek
Well, it´s a long time since I was involved in a demo, and I´m only doing the music, so you can scrap my comment if you want to ;)

Usually what we do to actually finish our 4ks (since this is what we mainly produce the last 2-3 years) we often meet during an entire weekend - the important part here is, that have too be only the people that are actually producing stuff - as soon as some other people are involved it usually ends up with booze and guitarhero ;)

Of course not all people in a demo group live that close so they can meet up, but we have had the best results when meeting up, only a few productive people, working over a weekend, and usually you tend to finish up the work the next week, or explore the ideas that spwned during the weekend.

Also, since I´m programming all day, it´s a relief/freedom for me to get home a do music - I´ve tried to code some demostuff several times, but only managed to do a tunnel and a rotating cube... why? - because I coded all day, and don´t really want to in the evening again

anyway - just my 2 cents...
added on the 2008-08-11 17:58:43 by Puryx Puryx
niels, i've no honest idea, but i guess the key is to focus on those parts that you don't get in gamedev, for example the ability to do all your own creativity, design choices, ets. so don't focus on the super-duper demosys or the awesome shader mixer toolchain, but focus on the effects, or the scenes. i'd go for content fast, make like half a minute of *something*, and only then try to make it better, prettier, whatever. this way, you get instant positive feedback (hey, i made this and it looks cool). or something.

bottom line, look for the intermediate steps that motivate you, and plan accordingly.

for me, i often break down to slacking off when the time between the idea to getting something decent on screen is too long. only very recently i have discovered that i have to settle with getting only a sloppy downgraded version of my idea on screen at first, and only then work on getting it to be what i actually wanted it to be. this way, i decrease the step size.
added on the 2008-08-11 18:00:01 by skrebbel skrebbel
because I coded all day, and don´t really want to in the evening again

thats exactly how i feel. but it's contradictory to my wish to create a demo (and i actually have lots of code ready and lying around, there's just so much more work needed to actually put something nice together).
added on the 2008-08-11 18:00:17 by superplek superplek
(and i actually have lots of code ready and lying around, there's just so much more work needed to actually put something nice together)

do you have an idea? a concept of sorts? a direction to go into?
added on the 2008-08-11 18:01:40 by skrebbel skrebbel
skrebbel: yup, you describe a generally proven method in development. i admit i do tend to focus on irrelevant demosystem changes a lot and i don't know why because i know better.
added on the 2008-08-11 18:02:08 by superplek superplek
so plan. set minuscule goals.
added on the 2008-08-11 18:02:36 by skrebbel skrebbel
no, i dont. and i never had, that usually came as soon as i put together some initial visuals and music. which is what has to happen asap now. effects arent the problem.
added on the 2008-08-11 18:03:01 by superplek superplek
That´s where the meet-up comes into the picture - the enthusiasm tends to rise a bit when you´re 2-3 productive guys (without alcohol) sitting together - the "real" motivation (that feeling of "yeah, now we´re getting somewhere!") is a very important factor for me too
added on the 2008-08-11 18:03:03 by Puryx Puryx
the way i do it is, i have an hour commute each way on the train to work every day. and a laptop. thats where most of the work gets done. actually its quite nice, i get a seat with a table and no distractions, no internet etc.
i often work on demos at lunchtime while at work, as well, and often a few hours at weekends, but i almost never work on stuff during the evening at home unless it's really urgent - gotta have a break sometime, and i dont get home until pretty late in the evening (normally out of the house from 7am to 8pm).
if its really urgent i take a day or two off (usually only before bp or asm or something).

ive said it before, but i think it's a mindset. every day on the train i code. an hour each way and then lunch time, thats 3 hours a day of democoding - it adds up when you do it every day. the point is, it's a choice - sleep, read the newspaper or play on the psp on the train, or sit and work. not always an easy choice (sleep is always tempting), but a choice. :) do it every day and you get used to it.
added on the 2008-08-11 18:03:22 by smash smash
then again, i'm talking crap of course cause i finish my stuff way too little. however quisten convinced me to finish stuff at solskogen (just by making me realise how stupid it is not to do so) so i'm gonna before i start on something new!
added on the 2008-08-11 18:03:46 by skrebbel skrebbel
yeah, my commute isn't fit for doing active work during it.
added on the 2008-08-11 18:04:22 by superplek superplek
That´s where the meet-up comes into the picture - the enthusiasm tends to rise a bit when you´re 2-3 productive guys (without alcohol) sitting together - the "real" motivation (that feeling of "yeah, now we´re getting somewhere!") is a very important factor for me too

but you have to be well prepared. me and shifter tried that for bp '08 but not that much came out of our hands. but maybe a more well prepared attempt will yield more result. i do think that weekend idea works yeah.
added on the 2008-08-11 18:05:48 by superplek superplek
if you want to get things done, you get things done :)
added on the 2008-08-11 18:05:54 by Gargaj Gargaj
in general i'm just quite afraid of not finishing in time and looking like an ass for having a demokit and not delivering :)
added on the 2008-08-11 18:06:37 by superplek superplek
which you will, if you don't finish!
added on the 2008-08-11 18:07:38 by skrebbel skrebbel
thanks for reminding me :)
added on the 2008-08-11 18:08:49 by superplek superplek
puryx: yea, we had something like that during a few assemblies making demos. its a great and motivating feeling, although the deadline panic sets in after a while. :)

what skrebbel says about setting miniscule goals is right. i work in one-hour chunks or so, and i'll say to myself "now we'll get this small thing done" and just sit and do it. if you feel yourself drifting off, reading the internet, fiddling with minor system code etc - youve lost focus and the time is being wasted.

im a fan of that method of reserving a certain amount of time for something every day and just going and doing it for that time, then turning it off. do something for 1-2 hours a day every day for weeks/months, and it's worth more than working solid for a whole night or a weekend or having a week off to code. the small chunks of time are easier to focus in, over longer periods it's easy to waste a large percentage of it.

if your commute isnt suitable for democoding, how about e.g. going to a coffee shop every day for an hour after work or at lunch time with the laptop and sit and code there? get out of the work/home environments with a lot of distractions.
added on the 2008-08-11 18:09:35 by smash smash
i'm a programmer (3d stuff) and i work usually 9 - 10 hrs a day, and hey, we all know this big black hole in the evening ;)

actually i'm only doing 2 or 3 demos a year and try to maintain the engine, but it's not always easy to find some time (esp. when you have other stuff like sports, girlfriend, etc)

normally i'm getting more and more productive towards the deadline, but usually this is only the case a few days before the party.

during the pre-party planning (like 3 to 4 weeks before) we (raven and myself) gather during 2 weekends for 1 or 1.5 days, doing the design stuff and tuning some effects. all the other stuff is then done at home. i plan to have at least 2 or 3 hours a day for coding, but normally i end up trying to squeeze everything in there during the last few days or (almost all demos during the last 3 years) only at the party place... the last demo from breakpoint for example was a 95% party production.

i'd like to spend more time on doing something very big, but there's always this shitty real-life tradeoff we all have to deal with.

i have now only 4 days left till buenzli and i have just started last thursday on an entry for either buenzli or nvision. my personal bullshit-problem is that i promised my girlfriend to go on a strict-non-computer vacation right after buenzli.

let's see if it will work out.... :)
added on the 2008-08-11 18:12:21 by pro pro