Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Sneak Peek Into Rampant Games’ Super-Secret Development Methodology

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 8, 2013

Without a producer or manager, here at Rampant Games, we (and by ‘we’ I generally mean ‘me’, unless I manage to wrangle some time out of contractors for far less than they are worth) have to work extra hard to stay on-task, on-schedule (HAH!), and productive on projects that are really just too frickin’ huge for a tiny studio to ever be developing, particularly as a part-time venture.

But now I’m going to show you a slice of the incredible development process responsible for our incredible success* in the indie games field. Here’s a peek into a couple of four-hour days of Frayed Knights 2 development:

— DAY 1 —

Hour 0:00 – Okay, I am TOTALLY going to get Feature A done. Time to get cracking!

Hour 0:15 – Okay, email is done. Now I am TOTALLY going to get Feature A done. Time to get cracking!

Hour 0:30 – Okay, my wife needed to chat for a few minutes. But now I’m TOTALLY going to get Feature … uh, which feature was that again? Lemme check my list. Oh, yeah! Feature A! TOTALLY going to get that done. Right now. Time to get cracking!

Hour 0:45 – Uh, okay. How am I supposed to test Feature A once I get it implemented, ‘cuz I don’t have feature B done, where I can actually do something with it.

Hour 1:00 – Got some code done on Feature A, but until I get B done, I can’t really do anything with it. I guess I need to shift gears and do B instead.

Hour 1:15 – Uh, you know, B is a pretty big project. I can do a simplified, scaled-down version of it with just Feature C, though. That’ll give me enough functionality to test Feature A when it’s done being implemented.

Hour 1:45 – Feature C is pretty dependent upon unfinished code over in this other spot.  Lemme do this – Feature D – which will give me a solid foundation to finish up C.

Hour 2:30 – Feature D is working. Now time to test it! Oh, but let me first celebrate my victory with a five-minute Twitter break.

Hour 2:55 – Oops! Why am I still surfing the Net? That was supposed to be a five-minute break! Why am I on TVTropes.org?  Dang it! Back to work, me!!!! Now, what was I doing again? Oh, I was working on Feature A, wasn’t I? Okay, let’s get to it!

Hour 3:00 – Oh. Right…

Hour 3:15 – This is still not working right. Feature D, you are not that hard? Why are you bugging up on me?

Hour 3:25 – Oh, the incomplete Feature C was causing the weird behavior. Disabling that made Feature D work. YAY! Oh, wait, mostly…

Hour 3:45 – I’ve spent the last 10 minutes silver-plating Feature D. This is really just supposed to be there to support Feature C, after all. Back to C.

Hour 4:00 – Feature C is still not done. I know I was only supposed to do this for four hours, and I’ve gotta get a blog post done for tomorrow, but… fifteen more minutes!

Hour 4:15 – Okay, I guess Feature C is kinda-sorta working. Good enough, I guess. Dang, I’m tired. And I have to write that blog post.

— DAY 2 —

Hour 0:00 – Okay, I am TOTALLY going to get Feature A done. Time to get cracking!

…. ETC.

So there. Now you have taken a peek into the mind of this game developer, and glimpsed the method to his madness, and the secret that makes him such a success* in the indie game world! Now go do thou likewise. Or, uh, not!


(* Success if not measured in purely monetary returns. ‘Cuz, really, that might get a little depressing…)

Filed Under: Production - Comments: 7 Comments to Read

  • Albert1 said,

    You should spice up a little your development methodology: start enumerating your features in octal base, instead of the hexadecimal base you’re currently using – it’ll be a breath of fresh air… 🙂

  • Darius said,

    My word, that sounds exactly like a typical night of development for me too. Well, minus the blog posting stuff. So I guess that means I’m on the road to success, right? 😉

  • OttoMoBiehl said,


    I think the Internet is both a blessing and a curse for those who would try to get anything done. Just five minutes turns into, “what, it’s eight o’clock already?”

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    I figure most programmers would find this schedule incredibly familiar.

    And yeah. The Internet makes it so a question I’d used to spend 45 minutes researching take only 2 or 3. But then I find something else and get distracted for the rest of the time. So the Internet is a net gain only when I am feeling good & disciplined.

  • Modran said,

    Aaah, that good old blackhole that is tvtropes… I loavthe it so much.

  • alanm said,

    That sounds like pretty normal ‘hobby’ development, but what amazes me is that you manage to get four hours in on a work day. Between the day job, commute, family, house, sleep, etc I’m lucky if I get four hours in a week to spend on coding features…

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    I pretty much go from around 9 PM to around 2 AM. That includes an hour for blog-writing.

    Now, I’m not always successful at getting 4 hours in of development each day. When work starts getting nuts and I don’t get home until 7, 8, or 9 anyway (which was much of the last six months), then I often get little or nothing done. But I including weekends, on a normal week (rare lately), I typically get 20-24 hours of game development work done per week.