Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Major Schedule Changed - Release Deferred

So I've had to make some decisions that weren't easy in the last few days. These weren't easy for me at all. I'll give you the decisions first, and then give the reasons behind them.


1.) I'm not releasing Reclaimate on this Monday. I'll be pushing back it's proper release for a month (or two). It will be ready when it's quality level meets or exceeds "the game is fun" metric.

2.) I will be keeping with a one month deliverable. That is to say, I will be releasing something every month. In this case it will be an updated version of the game you saw last Sunday.

3.) I will be doing a video blog on youtube, hosted by TGN. I'll try for a weekly blog, and we'll see how it goes from there.


Ok lets explain things. First I talked to as many of my advisors as possible. Should I release now, when a lot of the systems aren't even in to keep to schedule? Or should I delay and release when ready? I was leaning slightly towards the latter but I wanted the advice, and they recommended largely the same thing. Finish the game properly and make sure your level of quality is up to par. What you did is impressive but the people at the end will only see the game, not the circumstances.

One of the more valuable things I learned is how important regular milestones or deliverables are. The "necessity" of presenting something to someone helps cement effort in a timeline. So this is a must for me. Every month I have to release a demo or showing. (Or the game itself).

A friend of mine convinced me to try out a video blog. I don't want to take too much time away from the game, but if it proves useful to people, that will make me happy. I'll likely be starting with short blogs, once a week and we'll see how things go from there.

Mini Post Mortem

A bit of reflection time. For game post mortems you ask yourself.

What did I do right/well?
What did I do wrong/poorly?

Surprisingly the "what did I do right" is just as important if not MORE important than the, what did I do wrong. It's just that people tend to remember the bad stuff more easily than the good stuff. (Watch the news sometime...)

  • What I did right is have a one month deliverable (as stated above).
  • Also having a group of advisors to talk to and coordinate with roughly on a monthly basis was not only good it was important.
  • Project management, that is outlining goals, risks, and issues I feel I've dealt with very well.
All these things I plan to continue, and perhaps even refine. Now what can I learn lessons from?

  • Cut early. - I bit off more than I could chew for an initial project. That should be obvious. My initial feeling that the very baseline of the game should be done (and fun) by the 1/4th to 1/3rd mark was correct. Although, I need to investigate this more. As there is a point when you have to continue on. Such as the point I've reached right now.
  • Art takes me a LONG time. - I knew this before, but it seems like I have to continually be reminded of it. It took me the entire week to do the less than impressive characters you see currently. I will improve, I will get faster, but wow, I really helps to have art.
  • Code organization and tools - My code has been had to be rewritten numerous times. I can forgive myself for this, I'm still learning AS3 and when I learn of a better method I'll use it. I still have to do a code review on what I have though. Also I need proper tools like a tile based editor. So expect that to be coming.
I'll talk about the new schedule in the next few days. I've already dragged this post on long enough.

One last word of warning. I may delay the game from being posted by a few days. I want to ensure my artist gets paid before I put out more of his work.

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