Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

 
Advanced search

1055944 Posts in 42883 Topics- by 34820 Members - Latest Member: BottledBacon

October 22, 2014, 07:22:28 AM
TIGSource ForumsDeveloperCreative (Moderator: John Sandoval)Workflow Problems (the urge to keep revamping your half-baked game)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Workflow Problems (the urge to keep revamping your half-baked game)  (Read 1743 times)
chrome-fox
Level 0
**



View Profile
« on: December 14, 2012, 04:45:36 PM »

Hi folks, I've been having problems in my game development workflow, each time I worked on a game for more than a certain period of time (2-3 months), I always got the urge to revamp the design and the gameplay of the game. Each time I test/play the game, I keep having the feeling that the game is not good enough as is, I know that it can be improved better if I just change some stuffs and improve the design here and there.

Problem is, after I did and work on the revamp for several periods, the same thing happened again, the revamp is not good enough as is, it can be improved better if I just change some stuffs and design here and there, for example, if the original idea was to make a bullet hell (danmaku) shmup, after awhile I got tired of it, and decided to change it into a shmup with a lot of emphasize on customization, but after awhile I also got tired of it, and decided to make it a story centric shmup with plots, story chapters and character interaction, the process goes on and turned into a cycle with a possible revamp happening again after several periods.

After doing all those revamps, I often look back at the first version of the game (before the revamp) and realized that nothing was wrong with the first version, I just got tired of working on it for too long, and decided I want a new feel for the game, which started the cycle. For me, the problem occurs if I work on the same game for more than 2-3 months, and because of that, if I don't finish the game before that, the game won't be completed at all, it will keep on moving inside the revamp cycle for who knows how long.

So, I wonder, does any of you out there actually have this kind of problem during development?
If so, how do you approach the problem? what's your solution? how do you control this kind of revamping urge?

Hope you guys can share your thoughts on the problem, thanks in advance Beer!
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 11:01:21 PM by chrome-fox » Logged
Udderdude
Level 10
*****



View Profile WWW
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2012, 07:22:54 PM »

I'm not sure if there's really any advice that's useful.  It's really a matter of willpower to stick with a design.  You should only tell if it's not working out if after you have a decent prototype and some content, it still isn't very fun or interesting to play.
Logged

inverse42
Level 0
*


View Profile WWW
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2012, 09:14:14 PM »

So, I'm just wondering, does any of you out there actually have this kind of problem during development?
If so, how do you approach the problem? what's your solution? how do you control this kind of revamping urge?

I think this sort of thing is pretty common.  A few things that might help:

1.  Set deadlines and milestones out to the end of the project.  Specific targets on specific dates.  Meet them.
2.  Focus on getting the project DONE.  Write your good ideas down and save them for the next version.
3.  Let other people play your game along the way.  Don't second-guess yourself, let other people tell you what's working and what's not.
Logged

chrome-fox
Level 0
**



View Profile
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2012, 10:17:38 PM »

Decides to edit the first post to make it a little shorter.

I'm not sure if there's really any advice that's useful.  It's really a matter of willpower to stick with a design.  You should only tell if it's not working out if after you have a decent prototype and some content, it still isn't very fun or interesting to play.

If along the development, you realized that your preference changes, and the change affects how you see the game that you are working on, and to be honest, you don't find the game you're working on as interesting or fun anymore because of that change, what would you do?

I think this sort of thing is pretty common.  A few things that might help:

1.  Set deadlines and milestones out to the end of the project.  Specific targets on specific dates.  Meet them.
2.  Focus on getting the project DONE.  Write your good ideas down and save them for the next version.
3.  Let other people play your game along the way.  Don't second-guess yourself, let other people tell you what's working and what's not.

I'll be sure to remember all that, however, I'm a little unsettled about that 2nd point, the one which focus on getting the project DONE.

If due to the changes, you can't think of the game as enjoyable/interesting/fun anymore (development and gameplay wise), how can you make the correct decisions in finishing the project? by following the GDD? then does that mean we shouldnt revise the GDD at all after we started the implementation/production phase?

Thanks for the replies guys Beer!
Logged
Muz
Level 10
*****



View Profile Email
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2012, 10:43:29 PM »

Create a design. Try to finalize it and stick to original specs. Adding more stuff doesn't usually make the game better, because they might not even go well with what you've designed.

Finish whatever version you have now.

Create a new design, as a sequel. Add those new features. That way, you've already got a lot of content planned for a sequel, which players of your finished game can look forward too.
Logged
Erobotan
Guest
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2012, 11:16:42 PM »

I suggest keep doing what you currently doing, but limit your project to two projects max. So you do project one, get bored, switch to project two, get bored again, go back to project one instead of creating a new one.
Logged
ஒழுக்கின்மை
Level 10
*****


Also known as रिंकू.

RinkuHero
View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2012, 11:33:13 PM »

what i'd suggest is to make *each* of those designs into a different "game mode"

it can have selectable on the title screen:

normal shmup mode
custom mode
story mode

finish them one at a time. simplest / easiest first
Logged

inverse42
Level 0
*


View Profile WWW
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2012, 01:44:14 AM »

I'll be sure to remember all that, however, I'm a little unsettled about that 2nd point, the one which focus on getting the project DONE.

You can set aside time to tweak the design, just make sure it's part of the plan, not something that causes you to tear down the whole schedule and start again.  This is typically what a prototype/alpha/beta/final cycle is about.

Don't underestimate the value of having a fully functional game in place that you can tweak, regardless of quality.  A lot of game quality comes from polish at the end, not up-front design.

The beginning of a project is always a lot easier than the end.  That just seems to be a fact of game development.  If you're burning out before the end, you can try smaller projects.

I think right now you need to change your perception of success from, "I made a really great game," to, "I made any game at all."  The success of getting a smaller project done could give you momentum and confidence to get a larger one done.

I know it can be tough keeping the energy and enthusiasm up.  That's where setting deadlines for yourself helps.

I hope that helps - don't take anything I say TOO seriously, make it work for you.  Smiley
Logged

chrome-fox
Level 0
**



View Profile
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2012, 02:52:49 PM »

I've tried the "switching between projects" approach before, most of the times it does work if I was working on 2 very different projects, however I find it hard to apply that approach to 2 version of the same game, because when I revamped a project, my mind realizes that they're not really different projects, they're the same project most of the times, though with different emphasize given to the gameplay and stuffs, and thus switching work between both of them and not mixing the details between one version and the other seems like a rather difficult thing to do.

So far, after reading the replies, the best approach I think might work for myself (at the moment) is to cut the design, purify the original concept from all the revamps and the stuffs I've added, and separate all those revamps and move them each into their own independent unrelated projects, maybe as a sequel or maybe as another game that have a similar gameplay but made from scratch, but I should work and complete the original version first using whatever concept it was using at the time of its creation.

For future projects, I'll be sure to set a simple but defailed description in the beginning about what kind of game the project should be, it might help controlling and limiting what tweaks I can and cannot do to the game later during its implementation phase, to remind me what's the focus of the gameplay mechanism, what kind of pace will the game have, what kind of atmosphere and visual approach, etc.

Therefore, if I tried to add an unrelated story approach to a project whose concept is supposed to be a danmaku game with intense pace, I would realize that the reason I want to add story was not because the current idea sucks, but because I'm just tired with the danmaku concept at the moment. It would be easier that way to filter whether the revamping urge should be added as a tweak to the current game, or should be directed as a new project.

The last one seems to be consistency to stick with the development of a game even though it feels more like a burden as its moving towards the end of its development. I guess deadlines and milestones might really do help here just like what you guys said. Because to be honest, it's kinda hard to accept that the creative and fun idea you got in the beginning somehow turned into this kind of tiresome chore, one that you don't enjoy working on anymore because your preference already move on to a different state.

In the beginning it was fun, but somehow it feels more just like work at the moment. Maybe I just have to soldier on my way through this part, finishing and reaching the milestones I have set for the project in the beginning, polish the existing assets, and not think too much on the design when it reaches this phase of development.

Thanks for the advices guys Beer!
« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 03:07:08 PM by chrome-fox » Logged
inverse42
Level 0
*


View Profile WWW
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2012, 12:44:50 AM »

So far, after reading the replies, the best approach I think might work for myself (at the moment) is to cut the design, purify the original concept from all the revamps and the stuffs I've added, and separate all those revamps and move them each into their own independent unrelated projects, maybe as a sequel or maybe as another game that have a similar gameplay but made from scratch, but I should work and complete the original version first using whatever concept it was using at the time of its creation.

When prototyping a game, you generally try a lot of experiments.  Then, as you move into full development, you choose the ones that are working and cut the ones that aren't.  It sounds like you're at a stage where you need to narrow the focus and choose the best parts from the work you've done so far.  It sounds like you have a plan here, good luck!
Logged

baconman
Level 10
*****


Design Guru


View Profile Email
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2012, 02:33:29 AM »

That actually sounds like a pretty fortunate problem you have. I mean, if you break each result away from the framework, you've basically created 3 games in 9 months; only thing you're missing is the "closing" part; how to close a game/story. There's no reason that your framework for your Danmaku can't or shouldn't be applied to a more arcadey customization (game #2), or that it can't convey a plot (game #3).

Eventually, all of these are elements you're gonna want to bring to a cohesive whole anyways. Harmonix didn't just pump out Rock Band overnight, it started with Frequency/Amplitude (musical target-matching, the latter with netplay). Then they worked with Konami on Karaoke Revolution, the singing element, and the one that added characters to their engine. After that, they worked with RedOctane and Neversoft/Activision to produce the first couple Guitar Hero games.

Once it came time for Rock Band, the only thing they needed to produce - which the did - was the drum controller!

It only FEELS like there's an ADD in your workflow because you bounce your focus between different aspects of your vision; but ultimately that's a HEALTHY thing to do! It's the only way your "complete" project will surface. One element at a time, which is far better than many developers struggling with what aspect to begin with (because apart from assets and core design, it really doesn't matter what order you go in - Guitar Hero could've come before Karaoke Revolution and that wouldn't have changed anything - nor would starting with the drum controller).
Logged

chrome-fox
Level 0
**



View Profile
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2012, 06:51:11 PM »

First time I've heard of someone mentioning it as a fortunate problem Tongue

I guess in a way you can say it that way, it's 3 unfinished games in 9 months, the finishing/completion phase seems to take the most out of my effort (up to the point where I got tired of it and prefers an escape by starting a new concept/project/approach/idea/revamp)

Not sure why, but starting a new game/idea from scratch somehow feels a lot easier (and fun) than completing an existing one as a product. It might be that I just need some more mental training and discipline on how to continue and finish my game after the project had went past its fun/interesting part for me.

BTW, the danmaku -> customization -> story game is actually just an analogy, I've been having this problem with various projects of various genres so far, almost all of them are personal projects where I have total freedom on what I can do with the game.

The problem rarely appear if I'm working as the grunt in a team (where my responsibility is simply to translate the project leader/designer's idea into code), it only happens when I'm allowed to be creative and have enough room to channel that creativity.
Logged
Udderdude
Level 10
*****



View Profile WWW
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2012, 07:22:09 AM »

I guess in a way you can say it that way, it's 3 unfinished games in 9 months, the finishing/completion phase seems to take the most out of my effort (up to the point where I got tired of it and prefers an escape by starting a new concept/project/approach/idea/revamp)

That's how it is with most games, unless you're doing something super simple.  You can't escape from it, attempting to do so is futile :p

Not sure why, but starting a new game/idea from scratch somehow feels a lot easier (and fun) than completing an existing one as a product. It might be that I just need some more mental training and discipline on how to continue and finish my game after the project had went past its fun/interesting part for me.

It definitely feels good to start on a new project. You're exploring a new set of rules with new potential to do cool stuff with and play around with it.  A new set of toys, so to speak.  But eventually you get tired of those toys, and want to move on to new ones, even if you haven't finished doing everything with it yet (Analogy kind of falls apart here, sorry!).

Definitely requires some discipline and determination to stick with one idea to it's completion, even if you're sick of it at some point.  Trust me, I've been there.  But I got myself to finish it anyway.

Something I find helps is to come up with new ideas for game elements and add them to the game, thus giving you some more of that "New toy feel". Something new to put in the game and play around with.  But beware; this isn't a fix-all solution.  Adding too much, or adding something that doesn't really fit the game just because you need something new to play with, can be just as bad.
Logged

chrome-fox
Level 0
**



View Profile
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2012, 04:07:32 PM »

I guess in a way you can say it that way, it's 3 unfinished games in 9 months, the finishing/completion phase seems to take the most out of my effort (up to the point where I got tired of it and prefers an escape by starting a new concept/project/approach/idea/revamp)

That's how it is with most games, unless you're doing something super simple.  You can't escape from it, attempting to do so is futile :p

That's one of the things I've learned after I registered in this forum (just registered recently). I have always thought that my personal game projects should always be made with a fun and high spirited feeling all the time, and then when it's not fun anymore, it means that it's time to finally move on and forget the project, if the project is already finished by the time the fun is gone, then it's good, I succeed, if it's not, then I failed making a product, I must try to finish the next one faster, finish it while the fun is still there.

However, after I lurked around and read some of the interesting bits of indie gamedev experience, I realized that this was not the case, you can't always finish the completion stage with all the fun still intact, sometime you just have to soldier on to pass the battlefield even when the fun is gone, that's something new for me.

Something I find helps is to come up with new ideas for game elements and add them to the game, thus giving you some more of that "New toy feel". Something new to put in the game and play around with.  But beware; this isn't a fix-all solution.  Adding too much, or adding something that doesn't really fit the game just because you need something new to play with, can be just as bad.

Yeah, that's the approach I keep using to help my determination in finishing the games, and I think that is also the source from where all those revamping urges comes from, when all the new toys somehow looked better and more fun than the ones I'm currently playing with Tongue
Logged
Udderdude
Level 10
*****



View Profile WWW
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2012, 04:51:20 PM »

Yeah, that's the approach I keep using to help my determination in finishing the games, and I think that is also the source from where all those revamping urges comes from, when all the new toys somehow looked better and more fun than the ones I'm currently playing with Tongue

Revamping and adding a few new game elements are completely different things.  One requires huge changes, the other doesn't.
Logged

chrome-fox
Level 0
**



View Profile
« Reply #15 on: December 25, 2012, 03:24:52 PM »

Revamping and adding a few new game elements are completely different things.  One requires huge changes, the other doesn't.

What kind of game element are we talking here?

The small changes I'm referring to and have done so far are something like changing the feel and shape of my UI, adding new character/item/ship/sprite designs, changing the shape of the textbox/text bubble, changing the exploration menu from text based (choosing from a dropdown menu) to map based (sprites on a map that can be tapped/clicked).

I don't know how it is with other people, but even changing small details like that can fuel my urge to revamp the game, the last one that occured was when I changed the atmosphere of my background hue from bluish to greenish, the game originally have a slow and more strategic pace and gameplay, but the background change makes the game feels and looks different enough for me that I got the urge to change the gameplay to give it more freedom of control/input.

The game changes from a "point and click and see the result after that" game to a "swipe all you want and see the results in realtime" game, it didn't start as a big addition, but it did change into that over time, because after I changed the control/input system, I realized that it didn't fit with the rest of the elements, and instead of storing it as a new idea, I decided to change the whole game to fit the new control (that feature is a lot more interesting to me than the whole game combined at the time, given the lack of disciple to complete whatever I already have in my hand if it's not fun anymore, the revamp is due to happen, even if it started as a harmless addition/change)
Logged
Udderdude
Level 10
*****



View Profile WWW
« Reply #16 on: December 25, 2012, 03:54:26 PM »

By new game element I mean like a new object you can add to the game world (through levels, enemy drops, etc.) that has a different set of rules from the other stuff in the game.

It sounds like your problem is much deeper if changing the sky color makes you want to completely change the game around, though. D:
Logged

chrome-fox
Level 0
**



View Profile
« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2012, 04:17:09 PM »

By new game element I mean like a new object you can add to the game world (through levels, enemy drops, etc.) that has a different set of rules from the other stuff in the game.

It sounds like your problem is much deeper if changing the sky color makes you want to completely change the game around, though. D:

Yeah, I know how facepalming and silly that might sound

It's a problem I got to reconcile with myself in some ways somehow, I'll try the "need moar discipline" path for now, that's one approach I haven't tried so far Cool

(BTW, just realized that TIG doesn't have a facepalm smiley)
Logged
Udderdude
Level 10
*****



View Profile WWW
« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2012, 07:30:04 PM »

It's a problem I got to reconcile with myself in some ways somehow, I'll try the "need moar discipline" path for now, that's one approach I haven't tried so far Cool

(BTW, just realized that TIG doesn't have a facepalm smiley)

Yeah, you should really only change course if you feel the core game mechanics aren't working out at all.  I've had to do this only once out of all the games I worked on, though.

Eventually, after some experience, you'll start to get a feel for if a game idea is going to work or not before you've even begun.  It helps to envision exactly what the player is going to be doing while playing in the later levels.

And TIGs does have a facepalm! Facepalm
Logged

chrome-fox
Level 0
**



View Profile
« Reply #19 on: December 25, 2012, 08:16:19 PM »

And TIGs does have a facepalm! Facepalm

Oops, my bad Facepalm Tongue
Logged
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Theme orange-lt created by panic