When do people start preparing for NaNoRenO?

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Yenn
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When do people start preparing for NaNoRenO?

#1 Post by Yenn » Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:27 am

Hello, as the title says I want to know when people start preparing for NaNoRenO? I thought there would be a recruitment thread and such up by now. I'm thinking about participating this year and would like to know when preparations start.
Thanks!

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Re: When do people start preparing for NaNoRenO?

#2 Post by Mammon » Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:50 am

I started back in January on the 9th, and there are others who already started recruitment threads as well. Nothing yet on the WiP: NaNoRenO section indeed, but that's for the projects when they're in progress. You can find NaNoRenO recruitment threads in the recruitment section.

More globally: A few (This time just the developers of Lads in distress and me,) start before February, most start early to mid February, and some start gathering a team around March. Plenty of groups may also have started and will be trying to finish their game before April while they never intended to make it a NaNoRenO in the beginning. Most recruitment threads will be popping up around now though.
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Re: When do people start preparing for NaNoRenO?

#3 Post by Dark Sentinel » Mon Feb 06, 2017 2:36 pm

Started the project plot and everything brainstorming for Nano 16 in late Jan/early Feb. Some fragments of text were written in late Feb and they made it into novel just 'cause I decided they were good / funny. Rest was handled during actual March.
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Re: When do people start preparing for NaNoRenO?

#4 Post by Alcor » Mon Feb 06, 2017 8:54 pm

I took part in NaNoReno 2016 and was part of two projects. If I remember correctly, the Lads in Distress team started recruiting in January (I may have joined in early February, but I'm not sure). We had a lot of discussions and made a ton of plans, schedules, and outlines before March, so I think we were well-prepared for March (mostly thanks to the team leader, Windchimes :'D). On the other hand, I was woefully unprepared for my solo project (misSHAPEn love!), and I didn't have anything more than a bare-bones concept (and a page of geometry puns) when March rolled around. Although I finished the project (a week late), it didn't end up nearly as good as I had hoped it'd be.

I have a much clearer plan for a solo project this year, though I may or may not be doing a collaboration game in addition to that.

Hope that helps!

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Re: When do people start preparing for NaNoRenO?

#5 Post by Kominara » Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:19 pm

The thread'll probably be up with a week or so. Some people start recruiting before that, but it's less common.

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Re: When do people start preparing for NaNoRenO?

#6 Post by Alcor » Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:21 pm

Kominara wrote:The thread'll probably be up with a week or so. Some people start recruiting before that, but it's less common.
Actually, I think Googaboga just put up a thread! viewtopic.php?f=59&t=42386

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Re: When do people start preparing for NaNoRenO?

#7 Post by aliciarune » Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:27 pm

ALCOR_etc wrote:I took part in NaNoReno 2016 and was part of two projects. If I remember correctly, the Lads in Distress team started recruiting in January (I may have joined in early February, but I'm not sure). We had a lot of discussions and made a ton of plans, schedules, and outlines before March, so I think we were well-prepared for March (mostly thanks to the team leader, Windchimes :'D). On the other hand, I was woefully unprepared for my solo project (misSHAPEn love!), and I didn't have anything more than a bare-bones concept (and a page of geometry puns) when March rolled around. Although I finished the project (a week late), it didn't end up nearly as good as I had hoped it'd be.

I have a much clearer plan for a solo project this year, though I may or may not be doing a collaboration game in addition to that.

Hope that helps!
May I ask what you and your team used to plan scheduling and outlining, things like that? May help me if I decide to do it. I'd just like to know cause NaNo is a bit difficult ;-;

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Re: When do people start preparing for NaNoRenO?

#8 Post by Alcor » Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:51 pm

aliciarune wrote:
ALCOR_etc wrote:...
May I ask what you and your team used to plan scheduling and outlining, things like that? May help me if I decide to do it. I'd just like to know cause NaNo is a bit difficult ;-;
Sure thing!

We had a shared folder on Google Drive, and in it were everything from outlines to concept art to marked calendars. I'm not sure what tools the writers used for making flowcharts, but there were quite a few of those in the Drive as well. Windchimes (our leader) asked everyone about their schedules in March and painstakingly marked everything, then helped everyone set reasonable deadlines so that everything would be completed on time. We also used Trello to keep track of what was completed and what needed to be completed. Although not all the deadlines were met and some unexpected events occurred (stuff happening in real life, mostly, and major personal events), it was very useful to just have a schedule so we could tell how "on-track" we were. We also used Skype to communicate on a daily basis, and I often found myself waking up to 3k+ unread messages in the morning (???).

I think it's just useful to have some sort of checklist and schedule figured out so you can stay motivated and on-track! Granted, Lads in Distress was a pretty ambitious project for a month-long game jam, and detailed planning probably isn't quite as necessary for a much smaller game like my solo game (though it still probably would've helped).

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Re: When do people start preparing for NaNoRenO?

#9 Post by aliciarune » Mon Feb 06, 2017 10:14 pm

ALCOR_etc wrote:
aliciarune wrote:
ALCOR_etc wrote:...
May I ask what you and your team used to plan scheduling and outlining, things like that? May help me if I decide to do it. I'd just like to know cause NaNo is a bit difficult ;-;
Sure thing!

We had a shared folder on Google Drive, and in it were everything from outlines to concept art to marked calendars. I'm not sure what tools the writers used for making flowcharts, but there were quite a few of those in the Drive as well. Windchimes (our leader) asked everyone about their schedules in March and painstakingly marked everything, then helped everyone set reasonable deadlines so that everything would be completed on time. We also used Trello to keep track of what was completed and what needed to be completed. Although not all the deadlines were met and some unexpected events occurred (stuff happening in real life, mostly, and major personal events), it was very useful to just have a schedule so we could tell how "on-track" we were. We also used Skype to communicate on a daily basis, and I often found myself waking up to 3k+ unread messages in the morning (???).

I think it's just useful to have some sort of checklist and schedule figured out so you can stay motivated and on-track! Granted, Lads in Distress was a pretty ambitious project for a month-long game jam, and detailed planning probably isn't quite as necessary for a much smaller game like my solo game (though it still probably would've helped).
Thank you for letting me know. This is very helpful =). Windchimes must've been a good leader. It's hard to lead a game project sadly. But it's good you guys had fun and finished the game. I'm going to try what you suggested as well cause I'd like to complete a game. Thanks again :D

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Re: When do people start preparing for NaNoRenO?

#10 Post by Windchimes » Mon Feb 06, 2017 10:40 pm

Leader of Lads in Distress team here! o/ My spidery senses were tingling... It felt like someone was talking about me, and I guess I was right, Alcor <3

As Mammon said, we started recruiting basically Jan 1 this year lol. This year, as well as last, we basically began brainstorming in Dec once we decided we'd join NaNo so that we'd have a concrete story idea before recruiting. We waited until January to recruit because it's less embarrassing. :"D January is basically for settling the team, because some positions are difficult to fill (cough BG artist). We then use February to basically discuss the story and settle detailed outlines for the story. Around late Feb last year, I began to make schedules and work plans for March. Will probably do so again this year.

Alcor basically covered the basics of what we did last year in LiD, but just to add onto what she said + slight corrections:
  • We used draw.io last year for Lads in Distress to plan the route outlines, but this year we've become too lazy and are just using Google Docs.
  • I made a month calendar for March in a GDoc and basically started marking deadlines for each person on it in different colors after discussing with each member to see what deadlines would be reasonable for them, then asked each person to also mark on the calendar days that they would not be online due to irl responsibilities.
  • We originally used HacknPlan (Trello came later, after NaNo), but then I realized nobody remembers to go update it lol. So then mid-March, I started a doc in the GDrive with a table, one row for each person, with columns saying like "Current Task" and "Finished" and asking members to update it whenever they finish one asset and move on to the next task. It's probably not ideal, though, so this year I likely won't be using that -- probably will use a Gantt chart in Google Spreadsheets instead.
But yeah, like what Alcor said, generally this much organization stuff probably isn't necessary for smaller NaNo projects. Still, hope this is of help to someone. (I originally was going to do a post-mortem on LiD after NaNo, but never got around to it haha)

Also @aliciarune, I'm not really a good leader, just OCD about organization and planning. :"D
Last edited by Windchimes on Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When do people start preparing for NaNoRenO?

#11 Post by Alcor » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:09 pm

aliciarune wrote: Thank you for letting me know. This is very helpful =). Windchimes must've been a good leader. It's hard to lead a game project sadly. But it's good you guys had fun and finished the game. I'm going to try what you suggested as well cause I'd like to complete a game. Thanks again :D
Glad to be of help! Good luck to you :D
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Thanks for clarifying everything, and for correcting all my errors haha and seriously you were great okay

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Re: When do people start preparing for NaNoRenO?

#12 Post by mugenjohncel » Tue Feb 07, 2017 2:41 am

Yenn wrote:I want to know when people start preparing for NaNoRenO?
Officially, people start on the first of March... ideally, planning should start on the first of January... in reality, some people here (wink-wink) already have half finished games for several years now and use NaNoRenO as an excuse to finish it (again... wink-wink)... :mrgreen:

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Re: When do people start preparing for NaNoRenO?

#13 Post by Mammon » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:16 am

ALCOR_etc wrote:We had a shared folder on Google Drive, and in it were everything from outlines to concept art to marked calendars. I'm not sure what tools the writers used for making flowcharts, but there were quite a few of those in the Drive as well. Windchimes (our leader) asked everyone about their schedules in March and painstakingly marked everything, then helped everyone set reasonable deadlines so that everything would be completed on time. We also used Trello to keep track of what was completed and what needed to be completed. Although not all the deadlines were met and some unexpected events occurred (stuff happening in real life, mostly, and major personal events), it was very useful to just have a schedule so we could tell how "on-track" we were. We also used Skype to communicate on a daily basis, and I often found myself waking up to 3k+ unread messages in the morning (???).
Windchimes wrote:This year, as well as last, we basically began brainstorming in Dec once we decided we'd join NaNo so that we'd have a concrete story idea before recruiting. We waited until January to recruit because it's less embarrassing. :"D January is basically for settling the team, because some positions are difficult to fill (cough BG artist). We then use February to basically discuss the story and settle detailed outlines for the story. Around late Feb last year, I began to make schedules and work plans for March. Will probably do so again this year.
Alcor basically covered the basics of what we did last year in LiD, but just to add onto what she said + slight corrections:
  • We used draw.io last year for Lads in Distress to plan the route outlines, but this year we've become too lazy and are just using Google Docs.
  • I made a month calendar for March in a GDoc and basically started marking deadlines for each person on it in different colors after discussing with each member to see what deadlines would be reasonable for them, then asked each person to also mark on the calendar days that they would not be online due to irl responsibilities.
  • We originally used HacknPlan (Trello came later, after NaNo), but then I realized nobody remembers to go update it lol. So then mid-March, I started a doc in the GDrive with a table, one row for each person, with columns saying like "Current Task" and "Finished" and asking members to update it whenever they finish one asset and move on to the next task. It's probably not ideal, though, so this year I likely won't be using that -- probably will use a Gantt chart in Google Spreadsheets instead.
Oh, these are good tips! I'm going to fit them into my own planning. Question: I plan to start the discussions and planning with my team on the 20th and start the project on the 3th, giving us about 11 days of pre-planning. Would that do, or is that waaaay to short?
mugenjohncel wrote:Officially, people start on the first of March... ideally, planning should start on the first of January... in reality, some people here (wink-wink) already have half finished games for several years now and use NaNoRenO as an excuse to finish it (again... wink-wink)... :mrgreen:
Jup, I myself technically already started in Juli when I started writing a small story and found it finished two days later. I kept it at that until now, said 'We'll start at 03-03 rather than 01-03' and started making a thread for it last month. From the one hand NaNoRenO isn't meant to take several times as much time planning and preparing than the 1month it's supposed to take to make, but lots of people are taking more time regardless.
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Re: When do people start preparing for NaNoRenO?

#14 Post by Windchimes » Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:19 am

@Mammon:
Oh, glad my weird OCD plans could help someone :"D
Since your script is already done, I feel like you require less planning so I don't see why 11 days wont work. Most of our planning is because we wait until the team is finalized before working on the full story outline/plot details and then wait for approval or suggestions from everyone, then decide on the exact list of assets to be done by each person and schedule them. Since your script is done, you've already skipped the longest planning stages (finalizing story outline and assets list), so imo 11 days would be fine, but I'm not an expert so don't take my word for it :"D Good luck btw!!
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Re: When do people start preparing for NaNoRenO?

#15 Post by Mammon » Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:47 am

Windchimes wrote:@Mammon:
Oh, glad my weird OCD plans could help someone :"D
Since your script is already done, I feel like you require less planning so I don't see why 11 days wont work. Most of our planning is because we wait until the team is finalized before working on the full story outline/plot details and then wait for approval or suggestions from everyone, then decide on the exact list of assets to be done by each person and schedule them. Since your script is done, you've already skipped the longest planning stages (finalizing story outline and assets list), so imo 11 days would be fine, but I'm not an expert so don't take my word for it :"D Good luck btw!!
From what I could tell from ALCOR_etc.'s opinion, your team did very much appreciate your OCD though. :wink: As long as I manage half your achievement and my teammates don't end up hating the slave driver with the deadline whip but we do finish the project, I'll be satisfied with my accomplishments as a manager.

I'm most hesitant about making the same mistake as during my first recruitment attempts: Looking too much at what I myself thought would be the most preferable system. I ended up writing a wall of text with complicated business-like terms and everything lined out and mentioned too strictly, only for things to get less rather than more clear.
If I compare myself to my peer students, my planning is even more deviant from the norm. I'm terrible with deadlines and never reach them, even the biggest projects and assignments are finished days if not weeks in advance to make sure I don't end up having to squeeze it all in a last-minute effort. But I already know that while I should make sure to keep some buffer area for exceeding deadlines, I shouldn't expect the average person to get the final results days before this deadline. That'll probably be the biggest personal issue from many to judge; who's doing things properly and who's slacking behind their schedule, but without commanding them too much.

Good luck with your project too!!
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