Introduction

Here I set my SMART(ER) goals using past-tense. Recall that SMART(ER) stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound, Emotional attachment, and Reward.

Answer these questions pertaining to the goal:

  • what?
  • who?
  • when?
  • where?
  • why?
  • how?

Goals

Be a better artist

Set on 2020-12-07.

Component Description
Specific I became a better artist…
Measurable …when my players started complimenting my games’ artwork on social media.
Achievable I reached this point by doing a variety of online art courses, ranging from pixel art to colour theory.
Relevant / Realistic My games were more successful as a result of having better artwork and unique art styles.
Time-bound I achieved this milestone towards the end of 2021.
Emotional attachment Players see your game before they experience it, so having my art lauded felt like a great accomplishment.
Reward The income from my games increased, as well-timed screenshots and GIFs drove more wishlists.

Become more fluent with Shaders/GLSL

Set on 2020-11-15

Component Description
Specific I became more fluent with the shaders…
Measurable …when I discovered that I can sketch a special effect as fluently as I can illustrate a character in my head using pencil and paper.
Achievable I knew I crossed a major hurdle when one of my shaders that I put on shadertoy over a weekend got 20K views.
Relevant / Realistic Really getting fluent with shaders gave me a new superpower, as I could achieve awesome VFX across any game engine and platform.
Time-bound I reached this level by end-2022.
Emotional attachment Being a shader pro comes with a level of prestige, as its consider an arcane art, where most practitioners still copy/paste shaders off the web and hope for the best.
Reward The reward was in the mastery of shaders itself.

Become more fluent with a game engine

Set on 2020-10-25.

Component Description
Specific I became more fluent with a game engine…
Measurable …when I discovered that I don’t need to consult the docs anymore, and I had a good grasp of the advanced features.
Achievable This was possible by only using the same game engine for all game development, trying out all of the engine’s features during game jams, and being active on the game engine’s Discord.
Relevant / Realistic Focusing on one game engine turned out to be a good decision for me, due to my history with web development, and the studio’s focus on online titles.
Time-bound I reached this level by mid-2021.
Emotional attachment I felt great pleasure being able to fluently make games without getting stuck and having to resort to docs or Discord every other minute.
Reward The reward was the state of flow I achieved with every game development project.

Be a better designer

Set on 2020-10-25.

Component Description
Specific I became a better game designer…
Measurable …by releasing video games that people thought were super fun (stretch: that won a game jam; that was lauded for its design; that was featured favourably in a GMTK video)
Achievable I incorporated appropriate design considerations from my literature with every game I made, and entered at least one game jam per month to hone my skills. (stretch: I made a small game exercising a new design methodology every week, each time asking for feedback about the impact of the design decision from play testers.)
Relevant / Realistic Better design turned out to be very relevant, as my badly designed or bland games were shunned regardless of good graphics or interesting characters.
Time-bound Exercising and fine-tuning one aspect of a design methodology every week turned out to be achievable.
Emotional attachment When I didn’t become a better designer, making games became just another computer programming exercise.
Reward The reward was in the outcome itself: more people liked my games, which means I could afford to make games full-time.
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