Wednesday, 4 June 2008

The Psychology of Getting Things Done

Andrew Doull over at ASCII Dreams has a screamingly relevant (to me) post up entitled The Cost of Interruption describing the travails that Roguelike Developers are going through. I must admit part of the reason I've slowed down coding on Kharne over the last couple of weeks is the same as his:

"...With coding, if I have a longer period of time, I'm more productive. Not as in twice as productive, but probably ten times or more...The reason for this is the time required to rebuild the mental model of the program before I can generate new, productive code. This mental model doesn't have to be complete, but it does have to be correct, and I've inadvertently introduced logic bugs that have persisted for years, due to faulty assumptions about how a particular section of code works..."

"...So rather than plain procrastination, blogging and gaming has become activities where I feel productive in a short term without experiencing this mind numbing interruption cost - the interruption cost of a blog entry is just re-reading the entry I've written so far, which is a much lower barrier."

I've experienced this succinctly in the last couple of days. Monday evening I was able to get a great deal of code written for the Magic-Handling GUI Interface in a good solid 2-hour stretch of coding, yet last night, when I finally managed to get round to doing some coding after spending most of the evening do something else (equally mentally draining as coding), I found I had great difficulty in doing even the simplest of functions (I was trying to write the routines to calculate the mana cost and spellcasting success probability of spells). In the end, I gave up and went to bed.

Its not quite got to the stage that Andrew describes though:

"...It has got so bad recently that I've started dreading coding, in so far as the idea of doing something half-way and getting interrupted is a feeling I don't particularly want to experience."

It also doesn't help that my s.o. is suffering from a bad flu at the moment and is thus spending most of her time playing Age of Conan, and seeing her play it nibbles slightly at the edges of my own MMO-addiction.

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