Productivity & Environment

I’ve done a lot of writing over the past couple of days; 3500 odd words as part of some work I was doing for Siobhan, 1500 for a WPShout article that’s scheduled for tomorrow and another couple of hundred outlining my plans to overhaul local election campaigning (don’t worry, though – I won’t bore you with the detail!).

I know that I write at a rate of around 900 words per hour, and for every hour of writing, there’s another twenty minutes researching. That all very quickly adds up, and for me at least it’s natural to look at ways to increase one’s productivity. Even if I can become 10 or 20% more efficient, it makes a huge difference. Mentally I find it hard to write more than twice a day; I split into ‘morning’ and ‘afternoon’ schedule mode even though with the two-and-a-half or so hours I need per bit of writing, there’s time for three bits to be written.

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Capitalism And Games That Are Hard

Last week I said this time around I’d write about the process of writing for Smashing Mag, which I still intend to do, but as you’re not my mother and can’t tell me what to do this week I’m going to write about something completely different! Hooray!

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had the immense pleasure of playing a couple of two lovely indie games on my shiny new phone, specifically Super Hexagon, which you can see above, and Cubes vs. Spheres. I picked both of these up for about £1 each (Super Hexagon was on sale for a short time) and I’ve enjoyed playing them since.

I like Super Hexagon especially because despite it’s crippling simplicity, it’s fucking impossible. And I like that. I like that a lot. The first time I played the game I think I lasted around three seconds before dying. The second time I played the game I think I lasted around four seconds before dying. The game has no mercy and makes no apologies for it, but that’s what makes it so great.

I’d really, really like to see more cute little indie games that I can play on the train; the Android and iOS marketplaces offer great ways to get games out to a huge number of people  relatively cheaply and easily and so one would think that’s entirely possible, yet…

…there’s a reason app stores tend to be dominated by big name studios; the studios are very good at producing very successful games because they know how to make a game successful. Indie developers? You can make the best game in the world, but if nobody knows about it, you’re stuffed. I’m assuming here that because I haven’t heard of the best game in the world, my theory stands firm.

My point remains, though. Large game studios need to guarantee a return on investment when they set out to make games. They have shareholders, investors and employees to look after. The guy who comes home and makes games after working at the office? He can afford to take risks because it’s not the end of the world if nobody plays his game.

I’d just like to hope that I do get to play your game, man who comes home after working at the office and makes games! I like your games.

Things That Just Work

We made it through January with one post a week! Hi-five, [Reader2]! I’m slightly concerned I’m writing these blog posts more because I said I would rather than because I have something to say, and it’s clear quality is suffering as a result, but I shall soldier on regardless.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’m now the proud owner of a shiny new Nexus 4. Despite the very odd decision to make a phone people are going to inevitably frequently drop out of glass, I’ve so far been very happy with it.

The main reason I’ve thus far been happy with my shiny new bit of kit is that it just works. I’ve got everything set up the way I want it, and when I want it to do something, it does it without thinking too hard about it.

With apps like Tasker I’ve even streamlined and automated some of the more annoying problems that come with owning a smartphone; at night when I’m at home, it dims the screen and sticks the device in portrait when I’m using the browser, Twitter or Bacon Reader.

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