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The One Man MMO Project
The story of a lone developer's quest to build an online world :: MMO programming, design, and industry commentary
The Value of Vacation
By Robert Basler on 2011-08-21 23:02:09
Homepage: email:one at onemanmmo dot com

The summer is a challenge for a home-based entrepreneur. With my daughter home from school, I don't get the several-hours-long block of uninterrupted time I need to focus on development each day.

We did two trips this summer. Since I'm feeling the pressure to get my game out the door, I felt I needed to work through both of these "vacations". That didn't really work out.

So for the first trip I tried to work. An hour here, a couple hours there, but without long uninterrupted stretches, I just got frustrated trying to make progress. By the time I got my head where it needed to be, it was time to stop and do something with the family. In three weeks, I recorded just 33 hours of work. The longest single stretch was 4:36 with just me, the laptop, and the Space channel afternoon Star Trek marathon at home.

When we were getting ready to head out on the second trip, I was fully prepared to work the whole time - sure I could do a better job this time. The U.S. debt meltdown had just whacked a big chunk off my development budget. I was feeling the pressure to put my nose to the grindstone. I packed the networking gear and both laptops. Then a couple days before I was to leave, I read a blog post on the value of vacation for indie developers. It was a headsmack moment.

I needed a real vacation. Some time to step back, read a book, and be with my family. Maybe even think about what I'm trying to do and try to figure out what my priorities need to be.

So I had a vacation. I read. Ate brownies and oreos. Slept - a lot. Took my daughter blackberry picking. Barbequed everything. Painted a bedroom.

While I was no less busy than normal, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I wasn't thinking about the game. The weight had lifted. I did different things. And there is a huge value in that.

Heading back home, for the first time in a while, I'm feeling genuinely positive. I haven't decided if I'm going to make any changes, but my head is up and I'm considering the possibilities.

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