Planning 2020

Posted On: 2020-01-06

By Mark

With the new year comes new goals and plans. Last year, I separated reflections and planning into two different blog posts, but this year I thought I should condense that a bit into a single post, focused on a single shared theme between the two.

Looking Back

Although quite a bit was accomplished (and even more cut) in the past year, the items that are presently most relevant are those that directly impact the long-term project I am working on. Of these, the first is the completion of the Magic Training Prototype. That prototype was largely successful with its goals*: it validated that the combat system worked and identified that the overlap of combat and narrative created engaging player experiences. Since then I've migrated/rebuilt most of those systems into a long-term project, so that I will be able to build something much larger upon that foundation. Alongside that I was able to address several key issues that emerged from the prototype, including simplifying dependency upgrades, fixing source control hierarchy, and implementing remappable inputs.

Looking Forward

The long-term project is still not yet out of pre-production. Importantly, it is still missing several foundational elements - some of which are bug-fixes for unresolved issues and others of which are features that will dramatically speed up content development. As such, this single milestone - complete pre-production - is the long-term goal for this year. Regarding what exactly that entails: it is the point at which the focus changes from being primarily on supporting systems (engine, save structure, etc.) to being primarily on content (level design, dialogue, enemy types, etc.) While there may still be a need for ongoing maintenance to the systems beyond that point (performance tuning, for example) the bulk of my work from that point forward should be associated with things the player can actually experience.

Regarding short-term goals, that is currently somewhat in flux. While I can enumerate some of the remaining systems (ie. scene transition, dynamic menus, etc.) attempting to do so at this time would inevitably be incomplete. Fundamentally, this is the result of my current project management approach being tailored to resolving immediate needs rather than long-term planning*. As such, my immediate short-term goal is to adjust my planning approach to support longer time windows, which should hopefully pave the way for organizing short-term goals into a road leading to the long-term one.


Hopefully this window into my plans for 2020 has been an interesting one. As you can see, it marks a need to change away from my normal minimalistic planning style to something that supports a deadline that is up-to (but hopefully less than) a year away. Though I make this change with some trepidation*, I will do my utmost to make sure that the expanded time scale of my plan helps the project.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll continue to read along with me this year, to see where this change takes the project.