I don't need to tell anyone that 2020 has been an absolutely bonkers year.

It hit everyone square in the face with a rock-filled snowball that just keeps on going, bouncing from target to target while simultaneously freezing and consuming the victim's tears after screaming a guttural 'CONSUME' before bouncing off to break another nose.

But hey, at least we started our game studio!

No but really, thank goodness we did. Making games has continued to be a source of happiness and stress reliever (most of the time) throughout this year.

We started this year off being hella productive and consistently producing content for our games and other media but as the year started to ramp up, unfortunately our motivation ramped down.

Extra Time = Extra Productivity - right?

Our productivity took a big hit due to the shift to 100% work from home. It is interesting though, in a lot of ways we all now had much more time to spend at home and with our families.
Our commutes were cut to zero, saving hours each day for some of us.
We had more flexibility in our work hours.
On paper we had all this extra time to spend on our projects.

So why wasn't that actually happening?

One of the things we talked about as a team was that despite having all this extra time, almost all of us did not have the motivation.
For various reasons, the stresses in each of our lives shifted dramatically and we all needed some time to adjust.

Some of the things our team talked about were:

  • More time spent at your desk during the day leads to being overloaded on computer time during your free hours.
  • More time spent with the family than before can be mentally draining as you learn how to work and live in the same place.
    • This adjustment happens with every new team and work place, and it takes time to get acquainted with a new environment - so naturally we should expect this to happen in this situation too.
  • More time spent at home means more chores. For me this meant more home-cooked meals which is fantastic, but with 2 adults and 2 kids we can fill up the dishwasher in about a day so we are doing crazy amounts of dishes.
  • Just the general emotional drain from everything going on in the world and not getting to leave the house.

We are each feeling some or all of these types of issues, and I for one count myself fortunate as hell that this is all I have to worry about right now.

Gettin' back to it

After living these lives for several months we all settled in a bit and were able to open up the mental capacity for our creative lives once more.

We all have good days and bad days, and its easy to look around and see all of the bad happening and internalize it. Some days it is nearly impossible not to.

But we have to fight back against those bad days and find the good.

If I am able to accomplish just one thing with my games, it would be to help make more of the good things in life.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaanyyyyyyyways, now that it is nearly August and it has been several months since I posted an update I figured one was due.

All members of ALLCAPSNOSPACES and our families are doing well and staying safe, and finding more and more time to focus on development. During the last Dev Diary we were wrapping up changes to the Spacedude alpha release, but when Covid hit it shifted all of our priorities and scattered motivation to the wind.

After a month or two of re-adjustment and not having the time or motivation to work on any games, I had a random spark of inspiration from a conversation at work one day and decided to act on it that evening after the kids went down for bed.
So I had a sporadic 3 hour game jam that evening and threw together a small character sprite, some enemies and basic gameplay for what would become our game:

Cyber Cheetah
cheetah-animations

Rollin' with the flow

One of the main goals of my mini game jam was to have something playable that I could share with people, so the game itself was very bare-bones and luckily I already had a website that I could easily publish a demo of my game to.
So I put up a demo page on allcapsnospaces.com and sent it to some friends.

It looked like hell but was fun for a few minutes while it still held the novelty factor of "hey my friend made this!" but ultimately needed a lot of work before it would appeal more broadly.

So now our team faced a decision: what are we going to work on next?
We had just finished up an iteration of Spacedude and it was in a good spot, but we still had loads of stuff planned for it.
This new Cheetah game was unplanned, but we all seem to have some interest in continuing to work on it and there are lots of opportunities for us to learn.
But we also have other projects and things to focus on as well.

So... what do?

We decided that since we aren't being paid for our work just yet and all of this is built out of free-time and passion that we shouldn't burn ourselves out grinding on something we aren't motivated on.

So we chose to keep working on Cheetah since that is where our motivation was.

Keep on truckin'

After a few months of development we arrived at an MVP version of Cyber Cheetah we were happy enough with and decided to leave it at that for now.
We learned a LOT about development, some new tricks, some old habits that weren't the best, and most of all we had more iterations working together as a team.
I plan on detailing our lessons learned from making Cyber Cheetah in another post, but it was a great experience making it.

One thing our team at ALLCAPSNOSPACES aims to do is keep pushing out love to our games in the form of updates over time. Each of our games has taught us something and been a part of our journey and we would like to keep it that way for as long as we are able to.

We have lots of fun things planned for all of our existing games and even bigger and better things yet to come, and we are thrilled to share all of it with you as it comes.

Our current project is something new that we are currently calling: Wizard Woods and we look forward to sharing more about it as time goes on.

Thats all for this update folks, thanks for reading.
Until next time - Take care and wash your hands.

With love,
Taius