Here are some tips you should know before you start the game.
My Tips (Designer/Producer):
- Games essentially involve doing the same thing over and over again, that whole “30 seconds of fun” thing might be cutting it a bit short. I’d say it’s 60 seconds of fun, but that’s all a game is. A game is doing something fun over and over again. I didn’t realise this at the start. I had really big picture ideas when I should’ve been focused on the moment-to-moment fun.
- As mentioned before, find the one thing your game is about and focus on that. Don’t make 3 games in one. At least if you want to finish it in a decade!
- This rule has never been proved wrong – everything takes twice as long as you think it will. So if you think your game will take 3 years to make. It will take 6. If you think a feature will take a month, it will take 2.
Mariana’s Tips (Artist)
- Animations aren’t worth the effort – unless you find yourself loving the process, buy them off the asset store, or avoid them.
- Perfection is the enemy of progress – get it done, get all your tasks done, THEN worry about making stuff look greater. You won’t have time (and you’re not getting paid!) to spend a week on a single model, use your time wisely. Atomic Society has over 100 (?) 3d models alone, plus UI, artwork, etc.
- Choose what you want to be responsible for – if you’re in charge of art, fight to get your point across to the designer/programmers. If you’re not in charge of e.g. design, let the designer have the last word.
Nick’s Tips (Lead Coder)
- The importance of company and communication. Even if your co-workers won’t have a clue what you’re talking about it’s still required to vent. To externalise the frustration of that bug that just will not squish, the feature taking taking longer than it should.
- Don’t adopt new technologies. Use long well trusted documented APIs. There is always a time cost vs performance/convenience gain.
- The importance of being idle. I’ve never wanted to work on something so much in my life and I did this to the point of physical and mental exhaustion. Burn out. I remember the 28 hour shift that did it.
Adam’s Tips (Assistant Coder)
- Find yourself a good team. I CANNOT emphasize this enough. I probably started a dozen and a half different game ideas, tried learning probably 8-10 different engines. only to drop them after a few weeks. There’s no better motivator than working with others and holding each other accountable, getting excited about new features, and sharing in the progress you’ve made. Game dev requires so many different skills, its hard to be proficient enough at all of them that you can work through the frustrations alone. I tried learning blender, I’m a terrible artist and couldn’t figure it out. I bought a game design book, which I did find fascinating, but ideas are only ideas unless you have the skills or team to bring that idea to life. Find what you enjoy most (art, design, programming, etc) and work to improve your skills in that area. Burn out is real, especially if you are working a full time job and doing game development on the side. Make sure you give your brain time to shut off every so often, sometimes that’s when the best ideas come about or when you figure out how to solve that impossible bug.