Project #1: Post-mortem

For the project post-mortems I will start with a template of two questions (“What went well?” and “What was terrible?”) and at least three actions (“Start”, “Stop”, and “Continue”). That was easy – on to it!

What went well?

Guiding Principles – The 24-hour cap was just about perfect for this project and did a great job in keeping me from rat-holing on inevitably unimportant details. I was fully expecting to rev the Guiding Principles in the first few projects, but I think I’ll keep them as-is for now since I they worked very well for Project #1.

Construct 2 – Construct 2 was a great 2D simplified development environment. Since I wasn’t making a game there were a lot of things I didn’t dive into. But! For coming into the system mostly cold, I was able to get up a going and making something that didn’t totally suck in not very much time. Self-hi-fives.

Releasing – I learned a ton about how the Windows, Android, and iOS independent publishing works.

  • Windows kind-of cares about what you publish and that you’re not an techno a-hole. Also, they very much care about your application having a somewhat real privacy policy, even if your application doesn’t use anything on the device except for local storage and the screen. Some one (a person!) told me this a number of times as I was submitting package updates to publish.
  • Android does not give a shit what you publish.
  • iOS will let you do everything you need to publish from not-a-Mac, except upload the binary. You can MAKE the binary, TEST the binary, and PACKAGE the binary all on a PC. Oh, do you want to upload the binary? You’ll need to buy a Mac and download XCode because we hate kittens. I’ll be bitter about this until I borrow a friend’s Mac and upload the stupid thing. I realize I’m complaining in the “What went well” section, which means I realize this is mostly a personal issue.

Work/LifeWork Balance – A hole I have dug on more than one occasion is overcommitting myself resulting in my internal thread scheduler thrashing like an angry monkey on speed. In this case, since I have deliverables and a time frame and a freaking blog, it is easier to say “no” to other projects so far. Or even better, I put the potential project on the backlog for Hello Program and will prioritize it so that I am only actively working on one moonlight project at a time. This kids, is what I’ve been told is called “growing up.”

What was terrible?

Cross-platform Performance – Something between Construct 2’s HTML5 exporting to Windows Phone and Windows Phone 8 HTML5 rendering resulted in garbage performance. I’m not sure if this was something in Construct 2’s inefficiencies or in Windows Phone’s IE JavaScript engine. Since I have no intention on diving into either, I will leave it at that. It seems to work okay if you point your Windows Phone to the web version…sometimes. Sad face since I generally love everything about Windows Phone otherwise.

Art Assets for Publishing – Forty-five is the number of individual icons, logos, and splash screens I had to make to publish into each of the marketplaces. Forty-five! In the worst offense, I had to make icons that were 70×70, 71×71, and 72×72. It’s not like a super big deal but I definitely spent a solid our of the time spent in publishing resizing and adjusting and aligning all the stuff for these assets.

I can't even...I mean honestly.
I can’t even…I mean honestly.


Start Stop Continue

START using, because it is great. OneNote is also great, which is what I used for work tracking in the first project. The theory was to have as minimal as possible project management overhead, which worked out alright. But even for a single-person constrained project as this, I was wanting for some straight-up work item tracking, bug tracking, and a scrum or agile task board. I ask and technology shall provide.

STOP using Construct2. Don’t get me wrong, Construct 2 is great and I will sing all the praises for it. But! I am a software developer and there were a number of things I had do weird things for because the coding interface is basically super-good pseudo-code. I will return to my C/C++/C# roots for the next project.

CONTINUE using the time log. I originally started the time log just to make sure I didn’t go over the 24 hours. What ended up being more useful was looking back at how much time I’ve spent doing items such as design, planning, implementation, bugs, redesigns, what-have-you (I posted a near-final time log here). If the 24-hour constraint abstractly kept me on-task, the time log is a concrete implementation of the idea. Each day I could look back on how I was spending my time and quickly figure out if I felt comfortable continuing on something or if I needed to move on.

Ideas for project #2 are in the cupboard, now it’s just time to decide what’s for dinner.


Project #1: RELEASE

Who Goes First?

“Before starting any game, you need to answer the burning question: who goes first? Use this app to cut through the bickering, the bribery, and the brouhaha. It doesn’t care who is youngest, who shouts loudest, or who won last. Turn it on, touch the screen, and leave the hard decisions to us.”
Who Goes First?
Save yourself the trouble of deciding who goes first, and leave that determination to the experts.

(touch screen highly recommended)

Windows 8 Store

Google Play


Direct downloads (.ZIP files):
OSX (untested)
Linux 64-bit, Linux 32-bit (both untested)

(Thanks and appreciation to Matthew Moore for the mechanic design, wordsmithing the descriptions, and constant invaluable support.)

Project #1: Complete! Mostly!

Who Goes First is complete! On-time, all major features are in, I feel there’s a pretty good end-to-end story to at least publish to the website here. After showing it to the Principle Quality Analyst (i.e. wife), I should improve the info text explaining how to dumb thing works and some of the other texts before publishing it out to any marketplaces.

In the coming week I’ll run through a post-mortem on Project #1 before diving into Project #2. For now, and not that this is particularly interesting, but for posterity here is what the time log, task list, and future work lists ended up looking like:

Time Log

Who Goes First Time Log

Task Lists

Who Goes First Task List

Who Goes First Future Work


Project #1: Eighty-Twenty

The last 20% of a project takes 80% of the effort. In the case of project #1, I have completed 19 hours with 5 hours remaining leaving me at the last potential 20%. The effort necessary here is not technical or even availability driven, it simply hard to prioritize and just do. It is an 80% of a spiritual effort that must be conquered in order to get past what marathon runners call “The Wall.”

Twenty-four hours is hardly a marathon. Who Goes First has shown me that, no matter how small the project, the spiritual wall is there. It is the design.

Do we shelve the git repo and put it on proverbial shelf? NO! Do we start something new and come back to it…”later”. NO! We take our laptop to the motorcycle rally and after 400 miles a day of iron-butt riding we pile up back-support pillows on the hotel bed, open the IDE, and finish the damn thing by the end of the week. I write this here and now as a promise forged in electrons to myself and to belief in a world where sanity may prevail.


(7/28/2014) UPDATE: Success!

Project #1: Who Goes First? 12 Hour Update

The Who Goes First? project hit 12.5 hours a few days ago which means it is time for a status report! The primary mechanics and flow are all completed and I have even had a few chances to try it out on some board gaming friends of mine. They had some minor feedback but all-in-all it looks to be something that isn’t insulting to the world at large.

It might look a little strange on an upright monitor since it is designed to be flat on a table with people sitting all around it, but you get the gist. The two major items left are a start screen (at least abstractly speaking) and audio. After that, the whole thing feels aesthetic flat so I’ll move on to trying to add some depth with the background and possible the foreground’s visual assets.

Construct2, by the way, is great! I feel like I have only scratched the surface on how to properly work within the tool. I’m sure I’m not doing state management in a reasonable way, but I must doing it partially alright since I’m not hating life this far into using it.

Who Goes First Construct2 Screenshot

Lastly, I spent a little time exporting the project to HTML5, Window 8, and Windows Phone 8 without much trouble. The next stop will be Android, Amazon, and…iOS, which I only preface with ellipsis because there are a bazillion (okay, four) different ways to get a Construct2 project onto Apple products. Also, not having an Apple product makes evaluating them difficult.

Next update should (hopefully) be a release!