Tips for gamedevving from home?

organicpencilorganicpencil Posts: 20Member

I feel like my home work environment really, really sucks. But I'm having trouble finding inspiration for what to change. Anyone have tips to share / pics of their setup? Really interested in seeing the desk layouts of my fellow Godot users.

And some specifics:
-What is your ideal lighting setup?
-If living alone, what strategies have you adopted to stay sane and productive?
-Do you think adding another human to the house is worth the stress and lost freedoms that come with it?


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  • cyberealitycybereality Posts: 927Moderator

    I find my inspiration comes in waves. I can find about something new and read 3 books in 3 days, or program non-stop, and then sometimes I don't care. Not sure what it is, I think everyone is a little batty from being locked at home.

    It definitely helps to have small goals. Maybe something that can be completed in a day or in a weekend. That way you can work on it and feel some accomplishment. And it doesn't hurt to play other games for research or read books or movies in the genre.

    The most important thing, I think, is to just go with the flow. If you're not motivated on a particular day, don't push yourself too hard. I mean, do try to keep steady momentum but don't go crazy with it. Some breaks and reflection can help.

  • MegalomaniakMegalomaniak Posts: 2,654Admin

    Sometimes all it takes is a change. Change your daily routine or change your environment. Could always try rearranging your home office for an example.

  • TwistedTwiglegTwistedTwigleg Posts: 2,666Admin

    For me, inspiration is a fleeting thing. Most of the time, I work while not being terribly inspired, but instead stubbornly determined to finish the task anyway. I totally think that @cybereality's post is great and covers almost everything I would have to say on the matter. Especially going with the flow and not railing against a lack of motivation, I have found that can be the key. The only thing I might add is that I have found that motivation can sometimes come after starting to do a given task. For example, I have found there are times where I feel motivated to work on something after I have gotten myself going, as I have some inertia to keep working. It does not always work by any means, but sometimes it can help.

    I am not living alone, there are several of us where I live, so I cannot really say on that front. If living with others, it is important to actively work towards getting along, especially as you get kinda stir crazy from being cooped up inside together. Additionally, I have no idea if adding another person would help or not. There are ups and downs, and ultimately it really depends on the person (or people) and how well you get along.

    One thing I would suggest is to try and separate work-life from home-life, if possible. Having a home office is helpful, as then you can be in "work mode" when you are in the office, and "home mode" when you are not. If you do not have a home office, try doing something every morning when you start work that signals to yourself that you are in "work mode". For example, placing a mug on your desk (even if empty) can be a visual signal to yourself that you are in "work mode", and when you are done working, remove the mug. Since many are working from home, it is important to not blur the lines between home life and work too much, otherwise it can seem like you can never escape from work.
    Having a routine can also be helpful, as it can help you fall into a pattern that helps keep things consistent, but it can also lead to a felling of everything being the same. In this case, it can be extremely helpful to spruce things up and try something different, like what @Megalomaniak suggested. I have found that rearranging the room can be very helpful for easing the cramped, nothing-changes feeling.
    Ultimately, it is whatever works best for you, and I would suggest experimenting!

    I would show a picture of my desk, but it's really messy right now :lol:

  • BimbamBimbam Posts: 20Member
    edited June 3

    Not sure I'm entitled to comment on "home office" as I'm semi-stuck in a hotel in Japan (All that free time I decided it was time to finally start having a serious crack at game dev).

    Point 1:
    I liked being able to see sunset from my desk until I didn't. Screen glare is serious business so a small desk lamp behind my screen is preferred. Also if your borderline nocturnal (aren't we all?), definitely enable a 'night light' app (unless you actually need accurate color palette at a given time). I used to use f.lux but it's builtin to windows/linux these days depending on distro, takes the edge off the eye strain.

    Point 2:
    Re. Sanity, Exercise. I try to go for a 30km Cycle ride every other day to get an hour or more outside and clear the mind.
    Re. Productivity, I have found recently that adding breaks every 90min is hugely helpful (I have set an alarm and am adopting a Onepunch Man-esque workout regime, so smash out 10*Situps,Press-ups and Squats).
    It was all to easy to forget when alone to take breaks, as back in the office someone would've tapped me on the shoulder for a coffee or reminded me of alternative priorities. Not only does it let the brain rest rather than turn to fuzz, it also seems to lead to more fun/gains when you just put 'that one annoying issue' aside and force yourself temporarily onto something else. All in all I wish I'd done it far sooner as I'm more productive and (hopefully) getting fitter to boot.

    This all came after I took a serious rabbit hole dive chasing marginal performance gains for like a week straight (I'm on a Surface GO trying to make a 3D Long Dark-like (is that a thing? I'm making it a thing now) and I'm new to gamedev....so kinda bitoff more than I can chew lol). While at the end of that week I was quite pleased with my LOD/Chunking system that can keep my FPS above 24 on a 3km/3km map with 4000 Trees and half a mil foliage objects, it was ultimately only one goal achieved (mostly) in a week, which was somewhat disheartening. And tbh, not the right goal to aim for at the stage I am at, as I don't even have an inventory system yet!
    Switching to the 90min system I have achieved far more small goals and a few bigger ones in the same time which has felt like a far bigger step forward to actually getting to a playable game.

    So yeh. Attack a problem for 90 mins. Take a break to consider if the current pathway is enjoyable/priority or not and either change task or attack again for 90 mins (live by that alarm!). Rinse and repeat ^^. Would recommend a Kanban board to keep track if your not already.

    Finally, the one thing I miss is my dang whiteboard. I've never liked touchscreens, it's not the same as being able to scribble ideas out on half a wall. I've got a notepad and pen on my desk which serves as a very poor imitation :(

    Pont 3:
    I haven't had a face to face conversation with another human who speaks my language for a month. Yes. It's worth it.
    Might be why I typed so much above lol

  • cyberealitycybereality Posts: 927Moderator

    Cool. I spent a month in Japan last year. Fun place.

  • AcetheSuperVillainAcetheSuperVillain Posts: 22Member

    Some of the classic tips for working at home (not necessarily on game development) is to keep a regular schedule, dress as though you were going to work, and keep your workspace uncluttered. Keeping a work schedule and getting dressed helps put your brain into "serious mode" and keeping your workspace uncluttered keeps your brain "calm". Clutter can make your brain frantic and distracted. I used to have pictures up for inspiration, but the clean empty wall serves me better.

    Be aware of when your most productive times of day are, and try to schedule your work times accordingly. For example, I feel most productive early in the morning and late at night, so I split my work day up rather than try to slog through the afternoon snooze. If you feel tired during the day, some people benefit from the "power nap", taking 20-30 minutes of sleep or just quiet rest and then bouncing back into work. This works because your body only needs 20-30 minutes of REM sleep and then switches to Deep sleep for the remainder of a 90-minute sleep cycle. Deep sleep is not as regenerative as REM sleep, scientists think it mainly exists to pad your sleeping time to keep you from bumping into things at night.

    I'm not able to do this now, because I live in a tiny space, but I used to have a desk in the basement where I had room to stand up and pace around when I was thinking. I think better when I'm moving, so it was good to be able to stand up and walk while I had a problem to unravel instead of staring at screen blare.

    Adding another human totally depends on the human. If it's a good human, yes, if it's a bad human, no. It depends on your personal social need, too. Some people need to be around crowds, some people need deeper connections, some people need to be alone. You need to assess yourself and address your own needs.

  • skepskep Posts: 9Member

    I'm a bit surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet... It sounds counter intuitive like it would be more of a distraction, but I find music sometimes helps me block out everything else and focus on the task at hand. It can also be a bit of a psychological boost - good music makes you happy, listening while working can make you subconsciously associate working (ie game dev) with enjoyment.

    No, I'm not into hippy yoga meditation hypnotism self help new age yadda yadda yadda.

  • MegalomaniakMegalomaniak Posts: 2,654Admin

    @skep said:
    I'm a bit surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet... It sounds counter intuitive like it would be more of a distraction, but I find music sometimes helps me block out everything else and focus on the task at hand.

    Yeah, I prefer to listen to more instrumental that is vocals lacking tracks. Indeed video game or film soundtracks for an example. Less distracting. If there's lyrics they tend to at times distract me.

  • cyberealitycybereality Posts: 927Moderator

    Yeah, I can only listen to certain music while I work. I like progressive electronic music. I'm into other genres too, but stuff like dubstep is too distracting, even without lyrics.

  • organicpencilorganicpencil Posts: 20Member

    Thanks for the awesome replies! Some really good stuff in this thread.

    Taking from everyone's advice, I have formulated a plan:

    1. Dedicate a room to gamedev
    Gonna throw my VR rig in there too, since it's the most convenient place. I'm fairly certain that being blinded by a VR headset will make it feel like a different environment.

    2. Non-VR gaming and movie-watching will stay in the bedroom during specified hours
    Got a steam link + spare monitor/keyboard/mouse. Hopefully that works out.

    3. Use the spare room for other projects
    Won't actively seek a tenant, but can quickly remove all things if the right person comes along.

    4. Actually eat food and exercise
    This is likely half my problem. Excuse: Got hit financially by the COVID and may have gone overboard rationing calories.


    Aaaand some thinking out loud which you don't have to read:

    The work room has decent natural lighting, but since my onsite job has me up super early in the morning, I shall try a bright upward-facing floor lamp to supply ambient light on my days off.

    While loneliness was a huge problem back when I was a miserable work-from-home IT/dev goblin, I've since switched to a crappy retail job, which strangely has made me a lot happier. I attribute this success to my fantastic boss/co-workers/customers. And it still pays a living wage, which is nice.

    As far as mental health goes, I no longer suffer from human contact deficiencies, but the summer spent living with other creative-types was the most productive time of my life, and it'd be AMAZING to have that again. Not to mention the few extra bucks from rental income...

    The music thing, oh my god. That helps soooo much. Also a friend started using incense to train his brain to associate smells with activities, helps him get into the mindset. May try it at some point...

    Feelin ya on the 20 minute nap. Some days I need it, other days I don't. Probably has something to do with food/exercise/sleep but I haven't been keeping track. Might start doing that soon.

    I shall try the whiteboard as well. Pretty sure I have one laying around. My favourite is doing laps in the sun with notebook in hand, but it kills out the grass and you're kinda limited by the weather...

    Frequent breaks - I'm feelin ya there. Back when I would actually do stuff, it was a 5 minute walk every 30-60 minutes. Same goes for having small goals and kanban boards, helped me a LOT.

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