The Plain Truths About Finishing Your Game Project

Anyone browsing different game development forums can spot quite quickly threads where people ask whether to finish their game or not. They ask if they should switch to “something simple and quick”, and finish that. Often it’s easy to say that the code is too messy, or that other team members aren’t committed to it.

If you are doing your game and are bit unsure about whether to finish your game or not, I can give you some insight on the matter. Before you decide to quit your game project, here’s some things to consider.

If this isn’t your first unfinished project, don’t count on finishing the next one either
I’ve started numerous projects in the past. Over and over, thinking that I shall finish the next one… but for some reason there was always “better ideas” or “too messy code” that got in the way. I’ve done that too many times in the past. If you think you will quit your current project and make another game, it won’t get any easier. If you cannot finish what you started, what makes you think that would change with the next project?

The project won’t change your attitude.

Don’t freeze your project even if it’s too big
Even if you are making the world’s next MMORPG hit, that doesn’t mean you should start a new smaller project. While it can sometimes make sense to make a simpler project, there’s no reason why you couldn’t simplify your current project.

Cut features if necessary. Use only 1 character instead of 217. If 3D feels too much, get rid of the 3rd dimension. If you cannot get all the art you wanted, decide to use boxes and cones (with nice textures). Simply get rid of 96% of your ideas, and finish the 4%. I guarantee to you that it will make 100% much more sense than starting a new project.

Switching to “really simple project” won’t happen
If you have a “too big” project and cannot cut the game features, rest assured that the next project will expand too. Perhaps it starts as something really simple, but if your current project is darn big – then I can assure you that your next “simple” project will become darn big too.

Finishing a project – even a small one – is much more satisfying that stepping away from a big, unfinished project and starting a new one.

10 thoughts on “The Plain Truths About Finishing Your Game Project

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  3. jc

    I think most people don’t finish their project because they didn’t know/realize that the main game mechanic take 20% of the dev time and the actual finishing/polishing/balancing is taking the other 80% of the dev time.

    So people quickly reach the stage of a playable demo and think it is almost done. When actually, it is just the beginning.

    JC

    Reply
  4. Sarper - the Indie Diary

    Even writing messy code gives you experience to learn how to write organized code…

    Finishing a project is very important for determination and self motivation, it’s not about learning how to code clean though…

    Reply
  5. Toaster

    It’s interesting to see a lot of people mentioning “messy code”. This should either not happen, or shouldn’t prevent you from finishing a project. Messy code won’t prevent you from finishing small, simple games. The code might end up messy but it won’t be so bad that you can’t finish the project, and finishing projects is crucial. If you can’t get yourself to work on a focused, small project that’s within your reach, then you have to work on your discipline. It also helps to learn about architecture design. The book Game Architecture and Design covers that and various other issues that game developers face.

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  6. Koen

    This all looks so familiar, especially the “messy code” excuse. I have started a few projects in the past, none of wich ever got completed, all because of silly reasons. I also tried some “really simple” games, but once I got to them, I started to get new ideas that I wanted to put in them and before I knew it, I was back in messy code hell. I recently started working on games again, and I have promised myself that I will finish every project I start, even if it means cutting out half of the features I wanted.

    Reply
  7. Sarper - the Indie Diary

    True, but don’t start with a MMORPG. Without any experience you will always lose motivation and self confidence and you will end up asking “How can I code a MMORPG” in the forums.

    3 years ago when I first started using Blitz3D, even controlling an animating character with mouse and keyboard was a huge work to me. Then step by step I learned Blitz3D, I made crappy games but I finished them. Every single demo I made got better and now I look back, I can code an animating character with input controls in 5 minutes…

    Think big but start with baby steps.

    Juuso:New colors are very tiring and hard to read, consider rolling back to the old colors bro.Take care.

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    For me I found the best truth is: go into a project *intending* to finish. With the intention to create a new game and sell it, if that intention is not there from the start I find I just end up experimenting…

    That square ad is indeed annoying. Right where the text should be.

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    I don’t like the new colors. It doesn’t look nice. Dark blue on black is illegible, don’t you see it! What a massive step back you just have done here…..

    Ads by google right at the beginning of your post!!! No thank you.

    I just came back fron Holiday, go on you blog to read the post I missed… Now I will pass for today… Might be back later…

    Reply

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