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2 years ago by Arantor

This is something I've seen hinted at lately... at what point is a game truly finished in terms of development?

It's like with me, I published Aralander, and I still have several ideas I could implement, some I already had, some I've received here - but the thing is, I think the game's done as is, even without scoring, fuel or any of the more complex things that lunar lander variants can get.

For me, the goal was to implement a basic lunar lander - something I'd never seen done in Impact before - and to use canvas rotation and collision tiles as I'd never used them, and on those counts, I implemented it and I'm happy with the result. While I can add many more things, I'm actually satisfied with it being pared down to the minimal mechanics.

So what about everyone else? At what stage is your game done? Do you feel a burning need to keep tweaking it even after you satisfy everything you initially set out to do?

2 years ago by LaserBeam

Well here's the thing: It's never done because you will always get new ideas what you could add. So, in my opinion the game is done for a particular moment in time when you finished everything you wanted, look at it and like it!

Regarding to put something into a game that you came up or someone suggested during the production process, it really comes down to it if it makes sense, doesn't interrupt the game flaw, and adds to the game experience. For example, in my game I had money however there was no need for it. Of course I could have forced some events so it would have become useful but it just wouldn't have felt right; so I deleted it.

2 years ago by Arantor

That's the thing, I have a list of about 8 things that I could implement, all of which in some fashion make sense (maybe not all together, but any of the 8 items individually makes sense) - but I think I consider the game done because it is everything I set out to make it, and I don't feel a need to change it at this point. Not saying I won't add in the features that are missing, but right now it feels done and I can move on to other things instead.

Incidentally I know exactly what you mean about mechanics; several people suggested adding fuel but I'm pretty adamantly against it, it just feels forced even if it is a valid tension factor in a lunar lander game.

2 years ago by Graphikos

I think it just depends on the goal of the project. If you created it as a way to learn or try a concept and you succeeded at doing that then by all means... it's "done". There is no sense it putting more time into something unless you came to the realization that your learning project has so much more potential and you can graduate it to the next level.

If you created it as an actual game that you want to have a fan-base or you plan to actually charge for it then you are simply never done. You should always continue to listen to your fans and implement what you feel is best for the game. You are either growing or dying. People lose interest pretty quickly if something isn't being actively developed.

This is also where versions come in. Small, incremental changes are nice but if you have anything persistent about a game (high scores or what-have-you) this can lead to people being upset because suddenly the rules have changed. On the other hand large updates that do massive changes is often revolted against. People hate change... but hate things being stagnant at the same time. It's a fine line and a impossible battle because you simply can't please everyone.

Like any project its also smart to scope it out from the beginning to minimize the amount of "feature creeping". Granted you can't think of everything and stuff will have to change as you go but it's good to have a plan.

Do what you want but listen to feedback and be willing to backtrack. There's not much room for ego in development. ;)

2 years ago by alexandre

Paul Valery said "A poem is never finished, only abandoned." Same for all creative endeavors, of which games are but yet another form.

Adding a verse (feature) without upsetting the equilibrium (game feel) of the whole is hard. Same applies to removal. So, yes, if it feels okay, it's probably okay (and definitely esier) to leave as is and move on.

Writing this made me wonder if haiku generators could be a source of inspiration for games. So I went there, and got this one:

lucidly, lion
listens, grass reappears, fierce
hives ruffle, massive

Now I'm inspired. I'll try and create something inspired by that enigmatic text and post afterwards. Back in a while... :)

2 years ago by Arantor

Interesting thoughts... so by that definition a game can never be finished, even if it is everything its author wished and hoped for it to be?

2 years ago by alexandre

According to the author (Valery), it could never be everything that one wished and hoped for. There would always remain the itch for one more verse, act, plot point, stroke, or feature.

2 years ago by alexandre

In the meantime, this little haiku has driven me to the edge of a new project, one that will need:

- a game color palette that blends into another over time (day/night cycle)
- flocking movement (preys)
- line of sight testing (preys scanning for water spots and predators)
- fog of war (PC and preys can only see so far)
- A* pathfinding (maybe needed)
- state machine pattern (rest/move/flee or attack)

It's annoying that, before having even written one line of code, I'm already in up to my head. Need to simplify.

For this one, though, not sure where to begin with Impact:
- a game color palette that blends into another over time (day/night cycle)

Any hints appreciated.

2 years ago by Arantor

it could never be everything that one wished and hoped for. There would always remain the itch for one more verse, act, plot point, stroke, or feature.

Ah, this is where Valery and I disagree though perhaps it's just a matter of semantics.

If something is everything I hope and wish for, I have no more itches that require scratching at this time. That's not to say I won't come back to it in the future and find things I want to change - but right now I have no itches.

I can see the potential for more, I can think of features and changes I could make, but doing so would change it from it being everything I hoped it would be. There is of course the risk that I would break it, and the reward that I make it better - but I am content at this time not to take that risk - though I may well come back in 6 months and decide that I do have an itch...

- a game color palette that blends into another over time (day/night cycle)

I've been thinking about doing something indirectly similar but doing it is a pain because it's not like you're on an indexed system where you can just change the colour registers and update the palette.

There are three ways I can envisage altering the palette, with their own pros/cons.

1. Multiple images/image sets - of course that makes more download time and more resources that must be created and maintained.

2. Redrawing the image data in a canvas element - but the performance aspects make this potentially tricky. It IS doable, mind, as proves, but be sure to read the article linked in the footer about how it works, and that essentially all it's doing is the palette shifting by redrawing pixels manually.

3. Creating a mask image of some description to overlay on top of the images, e.g. an image composed of a darker alpha-transparent layer (think black at 20% opacity), which would be drawn over the player area to darken everything. It's rather limited, visually unimpressive but it can work for some situations.

2 years ago by alexandre

Thanks for your advice and the link (impressive examples of color cycling BTW; artwork is gorgeous too). I'll deal with this (or declare things good enough :) at some point.

2 years ago by Jerczu

Personally - You need to give yourself a "cut off" point otherwise you'll never finish it. Its not the best idea to put everything into one game.

2 years ago by Arantor

I think you've nailed what has been danced around... the cut off point is a point of closure when you're mentally at a 'I'm done here' point, where you don't feel that need to do any more at the present time and foreseeable future.

2 years ago by monkeyArms

good topic -

This is a lot easier of a question for people working on paid games - they've done market research, have a complete outline of the game before photoshop is opened or a line of code written, and a deadline. When the deadline arrives and (hopefully) the game meets the original specs, it's clearly done and time to monetize.

Much more difficult for hobbiest persons like myself - however I figure the game I'm working on is going to take about 4 or 5 years to make - if I can keep patience for that long then it will most certainly be "done".

2 years ago by Jerczu

@Arantor - I'm currently developing a mini game for AppStore And been coming up with ideas as I go and to be perfectly honest 2 week development turned into a month and I'm still working on it. I decided today that where the game is is a good cut off point. So I'm now in testing mode rather than adding new feats. I still want to add these features but I think it will be better to add them gradually to keep people interested and add value to it. I'm not expecting to earn much out of it because it's a mini game. But if I keep adding and adding to it I will never ever finish it.

2 years ago by fugufish

be brave and launch! make sure everything is running smoothly, and be prepare for the barrage of feedback from people while you continuously improve it

2 years ago by Jerczu

Yep 7-10 days I have couple of things to improve and to add and it's off to AppStore
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