When you’re developing something and it goes into the point where you need several different aspect of technical skills ie. AI, rendering technique, platform specifics etc. Surely it will affect you in some ways as you have to quickly learn those things, especially if it’s during the production time.
Recently I faced this situation myself for Zombie Hero project. Back in those days long time ago, one of example was that I was still using XNA to do things out ranging from showing and manipulating objects in 3D space, implementing deferred shading, playing around with shader programming. Those things are in the Microsoft side of things, and it’s on PC. The fact that Zombie Hero itself is primarily targeting on iOS platform first, you need to learn new.
Not only the programming language itself, but the technique and specific native stuff that you need to add them up on top of your game to make it supports what that platform can leverage and make benefits of. I spent quite several months trying to understand and only touch the water of the platform, and learned to make things with selected game framework (up until this point it should be called custom-made) right before starting off with the actual development. Sure, not all the things I grabbed and learned but only some that was necessary to start off with. It’s a good transition and pretty well seamless in its own sense.
But things take time.
Thus my point is that during the time of off-production season, it’s totally better to invest it to prepare for new things. Yes, it’s “learning”.
The first quote I ever thought of is “In time of peace, prepare for war”.
Why? As for indie game or indie team which normally consists of a small number of developers, or even just one who’s making it. You need to be able to make things in multiple domains with enough level of confidence.
Right now, top 2 most skills I really need to quickly add up are
- OpenGL ES 2.0+ Shader Programming
Although I feel familiar with HLSL, but you still need to learn the new syntax and embrace the nature of its new entity.
- Advanced AI
During the time of development, I felt the urge to cease the production to read and learn those things in order to gain more confident level before going back to continue the main one again. This leads me to think back in the days passed that it’s totally better to utilize the time and resource when you’re in peaceful time to prepare for war.
Yes, you have to be smart enough being able to identify things you might need in the future and not to be too comfortable with your own practiced domains. Jump off the zone, and prepare for new encounters.
For some reasons, I knew that I might need those skills during the time our team has changed the game idea. So it’s quite late. Now I feel the need to learn those things in the middle of the production; yes the middle of the war. This probably is a result from lacking of practices I stated out in the previous paragraph.
To avoid this kind of frictional circumstance … always learning, and jump off your comfort zone.
Always prepare for war.