Sunday, June 20, 2010

What Quality Level?

If you are a game developer then you know this question... Or do you?

'The question is 'what quality level should i make this game' It can also be followed by extra questions like 'What can I afford' or 'how much time do i wanna spend on this game'.

I do believe though on Xblig that most of the developers do not actually ever ask this question of themselves or their game. I think they just work on a game with some basic ideas of what they want to put together and when they get bored of it they just put it out there for peer review. now i won't judge all of my fellow devs, as that would be wrong. In fact i know quite a lot of them trying hard every day they work on their game to answer the quality level question. the question has gotten a lot more difficult to answer lately with the power that 1 dollar games appear to have. so many good games have come out at this price point that i really think this is not the first evaluating criteria for answering the question. So what is ?

Well I think the first one is of Design, or more importantly labelled as vision. Some devs do not appear to have much of a vision for their game apart from taking one of the sample apps and making something that was their own. Or a way for them to learn Xna. I believe the quality of thos eproducts tends to speak for itself, though i know several games done in this way that have a nice feel and quality. Back to Design, just how much design work are devs actually doing before writing code? Any.. Some.. or Most? I would love to know the answer, but only so i can se how they all turned out compared to how they went about the design. Of course i also feel that people who design on the fly tend to stray a long way from their time and feature budgets.. but that is another topic for another post.

Another criteria for what quality level should your game be has to do with how you view yourself, or your company. What is acceptible to put out under your name? This is a tough one has has so many factors put in it. Take one of the devs i respect Kris Steele He started Abduction Action and the main game he appeared to have made rather quickly (so his blog and comments seem to read). then he found ways to up his quality level o what is a fairly simple game. Even simple games can speak quality to players who demo them. He added quality because he felt like it should be there. I love this kind of thing, i feel it is about pride and confidence in your product. If you don't have these then qhy the heck are ya publishing your code?

Tere is always more that can be added to up the quality of a game. This makes it very difficult to know when to stop. A lot of Xblig games do not have SFX when the selctors or menu highlights are moved around. this is a pet peave of mine as it is so easy to do, but so many games don't do it? Why.. I am not sure. One theory i have is that these devs do not know that this is something that adds quality to a game. And with so many brand spanking noob devs in the Xblig marketplace there will be a lot that do not notice these kind of things... yet! I say yet, because i have a lot of confidence that these things will be changed. These simplistic yet noticable items will slowly be commonplace (tbh, they are already).

Has anyone else noticed the amazing amount of quality games that have come out this year? The number is much higher than last year and this gets me very excited as i buy more and more Xblig games. I wish the world would take more note and see what Xblig games are doing and how far they have come. And for shocking basement prices too!

I never got to cover all the things i want to talk about for quality, Maybe my next post talking about this subject will label a bunch more, and compare good with bad decisions.

If anyone readin this has any comments on how they decide the quality of their games, please post away. I would love some feedback.

For Sorcery games Xblig games the decision of quality is one of pride. I have a list of things that i have to do on my games, but i also have a list of things i do not care about. I value the opinion of my peers in playtest and review and try my hardest to accomodate what i am told isn't good enough in their eyes. currently this is the best way to view the quality of your game for Xblig. Sales will not do that for you and are not very related to the quality of a game at the moment. I wish that was different of course. I have reports from my fellow peers that make me very happy. They tell me they think the game is a worthy addition to the Xblig catalogue, and that makes me profoundly happy. Some devs however, couldn't care less and just want to get it out... Is this the quality level you want to be known for ?

Thanks for reading


  1. It's a really good point and I'm definitely on your side with it. Now I want to make millions by making games on XBLIG, just like everyone else, but there's a line that I'll never cross because it's not something I want to be known for. We released Nomis: Legacy Islands with quite a few little quirks and I hated that I let it go through even though people mentioned them during review. I just wanted to get it out but a hit to the overall quality didn't strike home with me at the moment. We got the update out a few weeks later and that was the version that should've been released. Lesson learned!

  2. Hi matey,
    The amazing thing your referenced there is something i never did in my blog post. Every game a dev puts out is an experimient in what is good bad or worthy. It is nice that we can have second or third or more chances to adjust our views on this subject.

    Thanks for the excellent reply.
    Da Voodoochief

  3. With my first game Nasty, I was more concentrated on hitting objectives... 100 levels, x numbers of enemies and bosses, co-op play, etc. The job was more mechanical. When it was finished, I release the game. I attribute this mostly to being my first game and not knowing any better.

    With Abduction Action!, the game was at a point where it was feature complete (all levels / enemies / graphics / features done, all bugs removed). I could easily have released right then and there. But taking a hard look at the game, there were many areas I saw that could use improvement.

    I took two months to polish the existing game. Updated graphics, tweaked gameplay, etc. The game grew by leaps and bounds. It really amazed me how much better the game was in just a short amount of time despite the fact that I wasn't adding any new features, just refining existing ones.

    It wasn't easy to put off releasing for that long but the extra time spent on improving the quality of the game really paid off. I do take a lot of pride in what I create (I hope others do as well) and I can say without a doubt I'm proud of this game.

  4. Thanks for the comment Kris,
    And i would like to add 'Boy can one tell what ya did there!'. Your second game really shines through compared to your first, and in no way is that really a bad thing. You learn't and then Chose to be better than last time. Taking a serious look at what you had when you were 'finished' was an excellent thing to do. I really wish al devs would/could do that.

    Of course i loved Abduction Action, and bought it immediately i saw the quality level. Something i do when looking at Xblig games, i buy the ones that feel like quality, like the dev cared about my experience.

    Da Voodoochief