Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wasting Time on Game Changes

Time of development can quite easily be considered Money. That is you are being paid for the development in hand. Indie devs can believe that this rule does not apply to them as they are busy creating their vision and are not being paid for doing this development anyway. However this is not strictly true even for Indie devs. Simply because time is still money, or potential earnings.

Consider that if each game took you 6 months to complete you would have 2 titles in a year, earning whatever they earn. But if you did their development in only 4 months, then you would have three titles, Three chances at catching Lightning in a bottle! If it is due to change of something that already works great, it is costing you.

I am sure you are wondering why this is important and if in fact this is relevant to anything. Well it is, simply becasue a lot of changes to gameplay only add a very small percentage of increased exposure, or increased profitability. So you could add 4 new powerups for you platform game to the 6 you already had, then you would have a nice round 10 powerups, yeah, that sounds most excellent (yeah, even to my ears :). The real question is, did you really need to add them. These bits of coding tend to be the most fun to write, but can also eat up a lot of time if done well. Implementing and timing effects can take a considerable amount of time to get nice. So did you need those extra powerups? They were not in the original design, so most likely NO, but they do add a bit of pizzaz. That is called feature creep and is not the point of this Blog post, though it is related, as it can be a real waste of time/money.

So back to creating your game and doing game changes for the sake of making things line up, or seem right, or balance in an OCD way better. As with the 6 powerups becoming 10 to make it a nice round decimal number. Changes in game can be very costly and could easily put back any title (AAA titles also suffer from this). It tends to be worse when more people are involved in the dev process.
  1. Can ya change the way the hair looks
  2. Can the hair bounce programmatically
  3. Instead of counting up the numbers and making them Glow, can they flash and count down?
  4. Can the countdown cross fade and not be separate?
  5. Although that moving effect looks ace and took ya a week, can you make it stationary?
All these are examples of what I have seen and dealt with myself. There was nothing wrong with what was there, and in some cases it was better before the change. But somone wanted it changed for the sake of change.

Late in a project all changes should be considered for the enhancement potential to the game alongside their cost in time and money.

Da Voodoochief

No comments:

Post a Comment