Why Some Games Take 21 Hours to Produce While Others Take 21 Months

I’ve been pondering this question, and it really amazes how much one can accomplish in just 21 hours. The box stacking mini game didn’t take much of my time, but I have poured unbelievable amount of hours to making of multiplayer game framework, mostly for Edoiki. Initially I planned that the Edoiki game would be produced in just few months, but then various events occured (such as lead programmer leaving the house, getting lots of new ideas, chancing the core network code and so on) which have delayed the project for over half a year already.

All the things haven’t necessarily been bad: even though completely re-coding the core network code did took time, there has been benefits as well. It’s now faster to try new things and the server-client architecture seems quite solid. Also, while the programmer left, it has given me chance to learn more coding. There are open issues in Edoiki development: at the moment I’m pondering publishing the game in Episodes. That way I might be able to cut down some features and actually get playing the game faster. This is one open issue, which will get answered soon. I want the game out. All these decisions will have an impact on the project progress.

It’s amazing how much you can accomplish in just few days. And even though a game would take 21 months to produce, it must be finished in small steps: doing 21 hours after 21 hours. If you keep taking baby steps one after another, eventually the game will be finished.

Worrying about how badly deadline was missed, or worrying about the “upcoming workload” is useless. It only gives you a bad feeling and doesn’t help progress. Instead, concentrate on what you can do and take those steps forward. One by one. That’s the only way to reach the place where you want to go: by taking action.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. @Alvaron & Vedran: Yep. I remember one friend of mine saying “How you eat an elephant? One small bite after another..”

    @Roman: Didn’t ever occur to me. So true!

    @Patrick: Wait until you can say “almost finished“…

  2. I thought my project would take three months, as most. We’re four months in, looking at another month or two.

    People coming and going on the project was a big factor, you gotta know who you’re dealing with.

  3. Just a side note: the difference between 21h and 21months project is same as between free game and commercial game :D

  4. When planning my projects, what I do is create global goals on project’s timeline. After that, I take every goal and divide it into smaller once, and then I apply this recursion, until I reach the level of “daily basis tasklist”.

    When you have your daily tasklist things become simpler. All you have to do is walk in small steps, day by day.

    Each day in the morning ask yourself a question : what am I working on today ? Not tomorrow, or the day after or next week.

    It is easier to manage smaller fragments than one big giant monster.

    all the best,

  5. You are spot on!

    Taking small steps helps getting the big picture done!

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