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All posts for the month January, 2013

My game-in-a-week challenge was a great motivator to get something done in a short time. An extremely short time really, because in development time is always short no matter how much of it you have.

The ‘challenge’ approach (really just a re-branding of setting ambitious goals) worked well to keep me motivated despite the drain of my day job and other commitments, so I will stick with it. This time there will be a major difference. A week is enough time to make a simple prototype, but certainly not to make something complete or polished. My next challenge will be longer.

How much longer? This time I want it to be long enough to go through the full process and make something complete, including play-testing, polish and release. I’m giving myself a year.

Sounds pretty laid-back, right?
Think again!

There are plenty of reasons that game-in-a-year is a very tight schedule for me at the moment:

  • I’m only one hobbyist – I have full-time work that takes a lot of my time and energy. I can only really expect to get about 1-2 person-days worth of development done in a good week – the equivalent of about 10-20 development-weeks over the whole year.
  • I’m still learning the tools – I expect to find plenty of holes in my experience as I go through the full process of development up to release, and each of them will take extra time to get up to speed.
  • The play-testing and release process – I’m allocating 6 months to get through testing, bug-fixes and the release process. Why so long? I anticipate finding plenty of aspects I haven’t thought of or that are out of my control. I’ve heard plenty of stories of release delays so I’m allowing a large buffer to make sure I can release before the end of 2013, as well as to allow some leeway for making the release at an appropriate time. This halves my effective development time, bringing it down to the equivalent of 5-10 weeks. Not such a long time for a polished game, even a simple one.
  • I’m ambitious – you didn’t really think I’d just aim to do one thing in a whole year, did you? I’ll need something to do during the anticipated delays in the release process, and I intend to be well set-up for development in 2014, so I’m doing a lot of groundwork this year. I’ll be getting a second game (a networked multiplayer RTS) to beta standard before the year-end holidays (when I intend to recruit plenty of friends to do play-testing and get it balanced), as well as throwing together 5 prototypes in the second half of 2013 – these will form the basis of a pool from which I’ll choose future projects.

So that’s my new ridiculous challenge. Check back soon for details on the games – I’ll aim to keep a record of my progress fairly up-to-date here, add posts when interesting things happen, and let readers have some input into the direction things take.