Making Pie: documenting the making of an indie game Pt. 3

Apple Pie. Universe. Continuing series of articles. Obey my dog!

Continuing on the topic of group dynamics.

We are all good friends. We have that going for us. We are a nicely balanced party: Reinan is our wizard, powerful arcane programming and high intelligence. Cullen is our fighter, a paladin who mediates the group and uses his high spacial awareness and stamina for 3D programming all day long. I’m the thief, a bard who uses creativity as his sword, is a jack of all trades, and often disappears to do things unrelated to the primary quest like looting and drawing comics.

However, working in three separate locations can be hard for party cohesiveness. As they say, “never split the party.” It would be ideal if we could just live in one house. But that doesn’t currently work, logistically. We usually meet in person at least once a week, and we often use TeamSpeak to stay in touch. And much of what I do doesn’t require being in the presence of others. Right now I’m just trying to bang out a super rough but complete draft of the plot that Ku can then go over and burn (which is a bad idea considering it’s on Google’s servers, but who am I to judge.) Or edit, depending. The best way for me to get that done is just to lock myself in my room and write. Still, it would be nice to have Reinan and Ku in other rooms, in the house. Perhaps I should make some cardboard cutouts of them and hide them in my closet and cupboard.

We’ve talked about the idea of living in the same house. Everyone agreed it would be the best working situation, thought about ways to make it work, talked to other people involved and then gave up. It turns out it’s damned difficult to get three people living in the same place when they are each already entrenched somewhere. Perhaps when we are getting low on money we will end up secretly living in Reinan’s basement, subsisting on the rats and the garbage we can scavenge, but it’s hard to take that step before it’s necessary.

Now the whole point of this, aside from it would be really fun, is that we think it would make us more efficient and productive. For the same reason you have workout buddies: when there is someone else, waiting for you somewhere at a regularly scheduled time, it makes you much more likely to get up and go exercise especially on those days you are feeling worn down and uninspired.

And so I believe that will be my next topic, should I continue this series: Motivation. Not in terms of finding something you are excited about; we already feel that way about this project. But about getting stuff done. This is perhaps the greatest hurdle for someone starting out on their own project, working mostly from home, with no one above you to answer to. There is a temptation to avoid the unpleasant work, to lose steam when confronted with stuff you have to do that’s not fun. After the initial burst of excitement, before the too-late fear of a deadline, how do you keep going? That’s a big can of worms, so I’ll cover my story in regards to that next time.

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