J.K. Riki

Production vs. Progress

As my wife and I continue to work on our new full-time Indiedev venture, I am learning lessons on a daily basis. (Most of them revolve around patience when technology doesn’t do what I expect it to. Or rather, how little patience I currently have for such times.)

One interesting and unexpected lesson from this new job is discovering a pretty massive difference in views on productivity between Artist and Software Engineer.

In “my world” of art, what you produce is what determines how productive you are. Artists will do dozens or hundreds of thumbnail drawings before starting to create the final design, but those thumbnail drawings are only part of the process. The goal is the final design in it’s finished form. If you spend three days doing thumbnails, that might be necessary, but you still don’t have the final piece that showcases your production.

In game development, on the other hand, it seems that a huge amount of time can be spent on something that won’t end up working at all. At first I viewed this as wasted time. It seemed like nothing was getting done, because my mindset was firmly planted in decades of “Here is the finished art that shows I did work today.” Now I’m beginning to realize that time essentially fighting the software you’re trying to make is just how this works. Art can take a long time, but Game Development takes so, so much longer.

This adjustment has been hard for me. I’m fortunate because my driving force – working alongside my wife every day – keeps me wanting to continue. I can honestly say, though, that I would NOT do this if I was alone. I would pick something easier, with production-based results.

It’s certainly been an interesting ride, even after just one month!

PS. Here’s some art I did recently based on a suggestion from a fellow Twitter user.

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