I spent some time today linking to all the other entries on my blog’s sidebar. And as I was going through, looking over progress reports and assorted trials of the other contestants, I spotted something noteworthy. I thought about the trend I was seeing a bit, and decided it was worth blogging about the conclusions I drew.
This contest has 34,800 possible points that can be awarded. Of those points, 5,200 are awarded for the weekly blog at a rate of up to 100 per week. And another 4,800 are awarded for the monthly GarageGames blog, up to a max of 400 a month. That’s almost a third of the point total for the contest.
It hits me: this contest isn’t so much about the final result as it is about accountability to the process.
Someone could churn out a AAA quality game, and if they have not done the continuous accountability work, they will still lose!
In the “real world” out there of pro games, pro launches, real sales, real deadlines, etc., you have milestones to meet. Deadlines to hit. Communication and updates to post. You have constant accountability to someone, whether it’s a boss, your clients, your customers, or whomever. As indie developers, do we sometimes forget to set ourselves up as accountable to ourselves and our work, while we try to achieve our goals? Do we actually resist any sort of accountability? I think the current trend in the contest makes it clear that often, many of us do.
If this contest does anything, it will help to build good work habits and good accountability habits in the contestants. Because no one is going to win – or even come close – without having held themselves accountable to the steady stream of deadlines those blog reports represent.
Currently, there are 35 active entries (a couple others have withdrawn already). Of those, about 18 have actively done weekly blogs (I included those that signed up recently in this group). Another five have done some spotty blogging, losing points for it. The other TWELVE entrants have not posted a single blog report since their entry announcement, losing 400 points from their final score already. And that’s not counting the GarageGames blogs for April – I don’t have to count to know that not even half the entries have done GG blogs for last month.
This is an interesting point that I’m not sure has hit home to everyone, yet. This contest is about completing a game, yes. And it’s a big marathon run to the finish line of having your game done eleven months from now. But it’s also about accountability, and a steady stream of mini deadlines over the course of that year. The best game simply CANNOT WIN if they’ve skipped those other steps along the way. It’s a good heads up for all of us.