Effective mobile game development is something you can strive for. The development process shouldn’t be a struggle. The process should be rewarding and help you to grow! These proven techniques can help you become more effective in your work.
Researchers have backed up every one of these techniques. On top of that, they’re simple to put in place. Try them for yourself and let us know how you get on!
(Check out the TL;DR: at the end if you can’t read the full article!)
1. Have Diversions (Play Games)
You’re working hard. You’re always so focused when you work. You want to complete a task. Want to get more focused than ever?
Take a 5 minute break.
It seems counter-intuitive. The workaholics will hate this but sometimes you need to stop working. Then after a break you can reactivate your goals and improve your focus. It’s a simple technique and the research suggests that it offers great results.
The reason that this technique works is that the brain detects and responds to change. Give your brain a break; it’ll thank you for it.
Of course, when you look at video games it all makes sense. How much time did you spend fishing in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time? Did you go Chocobo racing in Final Fantasy VII? These mini-games offered a great diversion from the long storyline of the game. And then when you’d caught enough fish, it was time to get back to business.
Find something different that you can work on for 5 minutes. Get up and stretch your legs. Water your houseplants. Message a friend. It will make you more effective.
Maybe you should consider a mini-game as part of your next project. Give your players the chance to increase their focus and they’ll play longer!
TL;DR: It’s OK to have a distraction from your main task. These breaks will help you to refocus!
2. Understand Your Will
Are you watching your favorite TV show when you should be working? Do you spend too much time playing games instead of developing them? Is the thought of tackling the mundane too much to handle?
If these problems or other similar issues apply to you, then you need to increase your willpower.
At the end of the day, we prefer doing some tasks more than others. Getting your app released means working on all aspects of your app. When you increase your willpower, you can tackle all issues head on and get them out of the way.
For some of you this may sound impossible. Some people just feel like they don’t have that much willpower. The good news is, we can all improve our willpower and gain the ability to get things done.
Kelly McGonigal, PhD has done a lot of research into willpower and discovered it’s like a muscle. If we exercise it on a regular basis, we can also increase it.
A stronger will means you can tackle the tedious and avoid procrastination. Stop playing Clash of Clans or Fallout Shelter. Aim for effective mobile game development. You can do it if you have the willpower.
McGonigal lays out a simple technique for improving willpower in her research. A 5 minute daily meditation routine can help improve willpower. Don’t fidget or move for 5 minutes a day. By sitting still and refusing to acknowledge outside influences, you exercise willpower. She also lays out other exercises but this one is definitely effective.
Flex your willpower muscle and become ultra-effective!
TL;DR: Improve your willpower by meditating and you can complete your least favorite tasks!
3. Set Proper Goals
Mario is one of the most famous video game characters ever. Super Mario Bros became one of the most popular and enduring game series ever. But the original still remains the biggest seller.
The game was simple. Start a level, and get to the end without dying. There was only one way to advance, no tangents involved.
Setting proper goals can lead to effective mobile game development. I say proper for a reason though. Setting goals is a powerful tool for getting things done. But it can also lead to some detrimental results.
Researchers from Harvard Business School have discovered many flaws in goal setting. The worst are an increase in unnecessary risk-taking, unethical behavior and hyperfocus.
Take the infamous Ford Pinto. In the 1970’s, Ford set a goal of building a car for less than $2000 and weighing less than 2000 pounds. They overlooked safety testing and released the Pinto onto the market. But the gas tank was vulnerable to rear-end collisions. There were 53 deaths as a result.
The research team did acknowledge that there are times when goal setting is appropriate. “Goals are appropriate when you know exactly what behaviors you want, you aren’t concerned about secondary behaviors, and unethical behavior is not a big risk.”
Goals work best when they are realistic and attainable in a short period of time. It’s also important to know the definite outcome of achieving your goals. Avoid setting goals that take an unknown time to do.
If you loved Super Mario Bros, consider setting similar goals to Mario for yourself!
TL;DR: If you set goals, make sure you know exactly how to achieve them!
4. Get Better at Lists
In the game Skyrim, you travel through the land completing quests. The game arranges quests in a list that you can view at any time. As you travel through Skyrim, you meet new people and they add quests to your list.
Over time, your list can grow large. This means that you have more stuff to do, meaning you keep playing the game. Unlike the game, you want to have a small list. You want to cross things off your list. An ever-increasing to-do list means one thing. You’ll spend more time organizing and less time developing.
Making lists can be a great tool to inspire effective mobile game development, if you do it right. A bad list could see you wasting time on an area of your app that isn’t a high priority. If you want to make good lists, you should follow a few simple steps.
Split your bigger tasks into smaller ones. This makes them more manageable. This will also help you to better track your progress.
You should also rank your list. Work on what’s important. The small stuff can wait.
When you’ve finished writing your list, cut it down to the three most important tasks. Long lists seem daunting and never-ending. You can finish a short list quicker and give yourself more chances to rank tasks.
The reason lists work could be due to the Zeignarik effect. This is the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts about a goal that was once pursued but left incomplete.
It’s why you keep playing Skyrim. Your brain isn’t happy with unfinished business. The Zeignarik effect makes you think about completing any unfinished quests. Even when you aren’t playing!
Write short effective lists and rank your tasks. You’ll get things done and focus on the most important things first. The Zeignarik effect will make sure of it.
TL;DR: Write short lists of three tasks and rank them by importance!
5. Work in Blocks
Have you ever played a video game, loved every second of it and then gotten stuck at a boss? How can this happen? You were having so much fun. And sometimes the more you tried to beat that final boss, the further you seemed from doing it!
Then you take a break. You go and do something else for a while. You play a different game or work on your own game. And then when you play that boss again, you beat them. You can enjoy the game again!
It could be that the first time you played the boss; you had come to the end of one of your ultradian cycles.
This process has been well documented since the early nineties. In a famous study, K. Anders Ericsson conducted a survey of brilliant young violinists. The one thing they all had in common was that they practiced in 90 minute blocks. Then they took regular breaks of at least 30 minutes before beginning to practice again.
Work in 90-120 minute blocks. Then take a 10-20 minute break. This encourages effective mobile game development. It works because you sync your work to your ultradian rhythm. Ultradian rhythm is a physiological phenomenon that affects our focus. That’s why it’s important to unplug your brain every so often and give it some rest. You actually improve your focus for the day by doing so.
When things are going great, taking a break seems crazy! But you should aim to be working at a high level for the entire day. Take regular breaks in accordance to your ultradian rhythm. This will ensure you work at an optimal level.
Work this technique into your development process and see the results for yourself. Schedule tasks in 90-120 minute blocks and see if you become more productive.
TL;DR: Try taking regular breaks after longer periods of activity to work at a high level. Your brain will thank you!
6. Perfect your Flow
If you’ve played Tetris, you’ll understand the importance of getting in the zone. The classic arcade game is easy to begin with. But the challenge soon increases. If you want to beat your last high score then you might need to find your flow.
Effective mobile game development requires a lot of attention. Writing perfect code means a lot of concentration. Developing flow encourages this. It also makes you happier to spend time working.
The idea of flow is actually a well-documented phenomenon. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi was the first to coin the term ‘flow’. He describes flow as occurring when someone finds the balance between control and arousal.
In a game of Tetris, you start off having control. You can manipulate and place the blocks with ease. As the difficulty increases you move towards a state of arousal. Between these two is flow. If you can’t keep up with the falling blocks you’ll most likely find yourself in a state of anxiety. You’ll finish your game sooner rather than later.
You can find your flow when developing by finding the right challenges. Don’t spend your time doing something too hard or too easy. Getting in the zone will provide you with a happy experience. This may also correlate with increased performance.
Over time, as your ability grows you’ll need to seek out harder challenges. Developing in a flow state also leads to mastery of certain techniques. Not only will you be happier and thus more effective, you’ll also become more able.
Don’t just use your flow to get better at Tetris. Challenge yourself and watch as your game development improves as well.
TL;DR: Working on appropriately challenging tasks will get you in the zone!
Effective Mobile Game Development
- It’s OK to have a distraction from your main task. These breaks will help you to refocus!
- Improve your willpower by meditating and you can complete your least favorite tasks!
- If you set goals, make sure you know exactly how to achieve them!
- Write short lists of three tasks and rank them by importance!
- Try taking regular breaks after longer periods of activity to work at a high level. Your brain will thank you!
- Working on appropriately challenging tasks will get you in the zone!
Effective mobile game development means working smarter, not harder. Whether on your own or in a team, these techniques will help improve your workflow. Get your game out into the world sooner than you expected!
If you use these techniques, please let us know how you get on in the comments section. If you know someone that would like this article, share it! You can like it on Facebook or Tweet it using the buttons on the left!
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