My Development Mantra: 3 Things a Day

Working on the same project every day is tough challenge. Finding the time to get in to the proper mindset of working on the project can vary from day to day – some days, I’m primed and ready to start banging out code; other times, I’ll get caught up testing a build and before I know it, it’s time to head out the door to work and I’ve nothing to show for my time, save for a few notes of stuff that looked out of place.

I’m not sure when I first came up with the concept, but my daily mantra for a long while has been “3 Things A Day”. In other words, 3 changes or improvements to the game, whatever they may be, to help move the project forward. It might be a bug fix, a text edit, or even something promotional related, like writing this blog post. That may sound like a fairly paltry or perhaps even unsubstantial number — but over the course time, it really does add up. 365 x 3 is 1095 improvements alone! Times 3 years now we’ve been working on the project, and that would be over 3,300 edits / improvements / updates / changes.

Of course, some days are better than others. I love getting into a code sprint where I have a run where I knock out 6-8 things in a single sitting. Sometimes, it’s hard to quantify exactly what it is: today, for example, I spent my morning watching videos of Ultimate VFX, a Unity Store collection of visual effects, with the goal of finding something that would we could try for Shaman’s Revive Ally command. I finally found one that I liked, so I would call it my first successful “addition” for the day. After that, I found that I had to update Unity in order to get the effects to work – so that was my second success. Third, I got the effect loading, and was able to export it as a prefab for furthe rtesting. Fourth, I started recreating the scene from the game, brought in the effect, and started tweaking the effect to fit the game. Then I ran out of time, came home, and started writing this post: my fifth thing of the day.

By that account, apparently I’m bucking the trend today! It’s not immediately obvious, but I’m in a better place for tomorrow, to further realize how this effect will work, and if its successful, I’ll bring it into the actual game build, and then ultimately tweak it from there as further possible items for my 3 Things A Day mantra.

In a perfect world, it would be innumerable updates per day. But that’s just unrealistic, plain and simple. For now, I’m sticking with a tangible number that I can strive towards. 3, oh 3, it’s the magic number.

All that to say, it’s a great feeling to have things keep moving forward. Progress is never readily apparent, but as time moves on, becomes all the more obvious.