I wish this would be this simple – as usually we need to cut corners to get the game finished (I have this feeling every day when I’m thinking about adding features or doing something that is meant to increase the quality). Basically there’s a production triangle which has three corners: time, money and quality. We can measure what type of project was in terms of quality, time and money.
Here are some examples:
- Adding quality (for example: making better gameplay) might mean that game production requires more time (and could mean need for more money).
- Adding time means that we have more time to increase quality, but it also might require more money (for salaries or similar).
- Adding money could mean that we can increase quality (as some developers could use better tools or use more time to make something). Adding money can reduce or increase the overall time of the project depending how money is spent. If money is spent to hire 2 artists instead of 1 then the overall time can be reduced, but if money is spent simply to let programmer finish some feature properly, then the overall time might increase.
After the project is completed we can see if some of the corners “leaked” (like perhaps time was spent more than initially thought, or perhaps quality level was not what we wanted or maybe we spent less money than budgeted). While it’s sometimes very hard, I like to focus on quality over time and money as the rule of thumb. Sometimes it’s darn hard, but that’s my suggestion. I think it’s okay to take shortcuts and get rid of useless features, but the overall quality is number one corner in my books. If the game is not a quality game – then it won’t be worth publishing.