Deadlines (Mainly The Self-Imposed Kind)

TheGentlemanLoser

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Hey do you find that deadlines help you get things done in a timely fashion? Whether you're set a deadline when doing work for hire or working with/for someone, or setting yourself a deadline to progress at your own project. Have you succeeded at setting yourself deadlines and if so, how?

I was working like a demon beast for the 8 days that retro game jam ran for but I've accomplished much less in the three weeks since it ended than I did in those 8 days in spite of having just as much (too much, honestly) free time and so that got me wondering why and if I can work more efficiently when crunching to meet a deadline...

I did not make this a pol and left it a "Discussion"l because I'm more interested in the nuance and detail of people's answers than yes/no/joke option results.
 

Animebryan

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It depends on the development team (or individual) & their work ethic. If a team or individual has the tendency to put off things & only work on them when they 'feel like it' (especially if they distracted by other things, hobbies, social life, etc., then a deadline will help them develop the discipline necessary to keep at it, otherwise nothing gets done or it'll take literal years to finish. However, not everyone has the discipline to work with deadlines & if they don't have the capacity to do things like that, then deadlines only add to their stress levels & makes them burnout or take a hiatus.

I've heard more than my fair share of stories of commercial games that got rushed toward the end & came out half-assed because of deadlines, which makes that concept also detrimental under the wrong circumstances. In other words, if they have the capacity to work fast & diligently, then deadlines can help, but if they are prone to burnout and/or stress, then it's better to go at their own pace in order to do it right.

Besides, being forced to work on something when you're not feeling it will only cause them to produce poor quality results, as opposed to waiting until you're in the mood & the energy & creative juices are flowing in order to produce something worth while.
 

15098D

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I usually only make RPGs as passion projects so I can't really speak to this as well as the professionals can but I find that if I really want to get something done adding a personal deadline does help
 

RachelTheSeeker

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If a team or individual has the tendency to put off things & only work on them when they 'feel like it' (especially if they distracted by other things, hobbies, social life, etc., then a deadline will help them develop the discipline necessary to keep at it, otherwise nothing gets done or it'll take literal years to finish.
Heck, a deadline could even force devs to decide what really matters and what doesn't. Ideas to cut and workarounds for them are something that don't usually happen with hobby games.

For instance! When I made A Child Called Ash, there were a few ideas I had to scrap -- a trans-male lion-person that Raziya (then Ashur) grew up with, for instance. It also forced me to streamline the dungeon a bit, which was added to include gameplay. Due to there only being like five battles in-game too, a "kebab" that was could to heal you out of battle goes unused, since I decided all fights fully heal Raziya. Which is still in her inventory for the dungeon crawl, despite being useless. Oops!

I've heard more than my fair share of stories of commercial games that got rushed toward the end & came out half-assed because of deadlines, which makes that concept also detrimental under the wrong circumstances. In other words, if they have the capacity to work fast & diligently, then deadlines can help, but if they are prone to burnout and/or stress, then it's better to go at their own pace in order to do it right.

Besides, being forced to work on something when you're not feeling it will only cause them to produce poor quality results, as opposed to waiting until you're in the mood & the energy & creative juices are flowing in order to produce something worth while.
However, very much this. I am grateful as all get out for the jams ("events") on RPG Maker Network, as they also provide prompts. But I'd dropped out of the ones I had joined this year due to hitting writers' block (devs' block?) on what I wanted to make, prompts and all. Heck, I lost a month of dev time for ACCA (which had two months to finish the game) due to a lack of wellness.

Well. Dropped out, except for this cool floppy-disc-themed one that's coming up soon. A buddy of mine came up with the idea, and I liked the concept.

Still. For me personally, deadlines are this weird paradox. I can't make games in my spare time which stresses me out, but a jam's prompts and deadline alike are the main way I actually finish games. And to actually talk about self-imposed ones, like the thread title states? Ehhhh... like I said, I am not good at those. I have too many hobbies and try as I might, game dev is one I struggle with. Without the focus of an outside prompt and the accountability of someone else's deadline, I can never seem to get things done! ^^;
 

Testtubebaby

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Personally, I feel that deadlines are more effective when it is set as a group collectively and agreed upon rather than imposed onto someone by some overseeing force. Keeping in contact and always having the project in the foreground are some very effective strategies in order to keep this sort of deadline established.

Alternatively, the way game jam sets up goals for people could make tackling a proposed project all the more enticing. Having a prompt that attracts several like minded people to drive towards a common goal has been historically successful.

Mind you, many teams feel the need to be led, and if there isn't a project manager who's up to the task in either of these groups, the groups can easily fall apart, leaving the prompts and ideas to be forgotten (and undone).

A good project manager can perpetuate excitement for a project and encourage involvement, which is something that I feel all projects of this nature need in order to survive. Some people can do this on their own through self-motivation, but people like that are far and few in between.

To summarize, I think that deadlines, when used correctly, can definitely help move a project along, but it's not something that should simply be dropped on people with expectations attached.
 

Featherbrain

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I prefer habitual effort over deadlines. Once it becomes a habit to do X amount of work at Y time of day for Z amount of time, progression becomes automatic. Deadlines can force the same behavior but can also lead to burnout or inferior products, at least in my experience.
 

Milennin

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I don't set deadlines, but if I know I'm going to have time to work on my game, I'll "force" myself to do at least a little bit of work on it. Even if I do just a single event on a day, that's still progress to me. I'm not in any rush to finish my games, since I primarily make them for just myself, and enjoying my time working on each part is more important than sticking to a self-imposed deadline. With game making, it's the journey that counts just as much as the destination.
 

Lornsteyn

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Nah, it done when its done.
Deadlines only rush thing and chances are high that its buggy or content goes out of the window, at least in the big companys this is often the case.
So personally I dont give me an ultimatum, I want to finish things in my (Sloth)speed.
Actually a deadline is in my case very counterproductive, not only in regards of maker.
I dont now how to state it, I view them as kinda "oppression" and become extra lazy then, because Im very defiant.
 

Finnuval

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For me deadlines dont work at all. They have the Opposite effect really as i tend to only do what needs to be done when there is a deadline opposed to my natural workflow which is doing nothing for a while then go at An insane pace , rinse and repeat.

Ofcourse when working in teams deadlines Become a near must unless there is a good Trust and knowledge of each individuals workflow. I tend to have loose deadlines and goals when in a team as a result but it doesn't always work xD

In the end it depends a lot on the individual and the team and Any teamleader should take this into account and deal with that on an individual basis to get to a team consented workflow.

Afterall one size does not fit all xD
 

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