In between my main projects I enjoy participating in game jams, 48 hour game making competitions that test my abilities at creating a finished(ish) product, be it solo or with a few friends. The main jams I participate in are Ludum Dare and Global Game Jam, around 4 each year, any more would be pushing it, but I may do. I tend to stick with the tools that I’ve used the most as I have the fastest work flow with them, and time is of the essence in a jam! For 2d game development I use Game Maker Studio, MS Paint/Pyxel Edit and Tux Guitar for music (however I may learn some new, more powerful software in the future) and for 3d games I use Unreal Engine 4, which is a great prototyping tool.
As Ludum Dare is rated and ranked I find it fun crunching my results and seeing if I improved or whether the game had a good reception, I’m definitely getting better at making games because of this, but that’s obvious regardless of data to back it up, practise does make you better.