The best time for a young game developer is the summer vacation. What could be possibly better than a summer vacation? The young game developer has all the free time to think about a game idea, develop this idea into a prototype and progress in his development skills and publish the games he make. But what happens after those three months of complete freedom? Being young game developers, we all know what comes after these three months : School. Whether it was elementary , intermediate or high school , most of our time will be spent on the school year starting with going to school and finishing up homework and studying for exams. Of course, we must not neglect school and focus on game development, rather we must maintain balance in time devoted into schooling and game development. After all, education is all what matters. School days does not only take time but it also takes efforts and energy, and also decrease your excitement about game development.
Here are some few tips about how to develop game during school days :
Due to the small portion of time left for you during the day to make games, try making small games. Small games can be finished in less time keeping you satisfied about the result you have reached which leads to finishing the game at the end. On the other hand, if you are thinking about a medium to big size game it will requires a lot of time and devotion. If you couldn't have enough time you will not be able to finish the game because of the lack of excitement because of the really slow progress. Unless you insist on making a medium sized game then you should only make one game in the school year, this will help you to finish the game because all the time that is used to develop games you know it will be devoted on that particular game which will help you to finish it at the end of the school year if possible.
Always start your homework before you start developing games. This strategy both improve your school performance , and increase your excitement about developing your game. Think of it as a reward system. If you finish your homework you will be able to have to develop your game which give you motivation to finish your homework to start developing your game. If you start developing your game then started your homework, you will be not motivated because you know that you will not going to get anything after you finish and that you have already done what you want. Plus you will driven by time and realize that you have small amount of time to finish your homework before going straight to bed.
You at the end, must know how to divide your time. you must be able to manage your time in such you can finish your school work , extracurricular activities , daily chores and game development. For example if you don't have a busy schedule set 3 hours for game development a day and if you do have a busy schedule, keep the maximum amount time spent on the computer between half to one hour a day.
Weekends can make a great time to develop games and sometimes even holidays. You can then in the two days devote around 2-5 hours per day which can be a great boost for the project. Also during the weekdays make a small notepad with checklist of what do you want to finish in the weekend. This way it helps you see what you have to achieve during the week.
Always keep in thought that you are still young and you do game development as a hobby, so don't stress yourself out if you couldn't have that much of time to develop your game. Once you grow up you will have to persuade your dreams. The most important thing is to keep going!
Naji Kadri - Lightbulb Games Studio Founder