Did You Forget the Map?

Or how to efficiently plan your route when you have a project to tackle.

Why are there so many developers who start their engines even before they have any idea on where they are heading, or any idea on how they could get there.

Is failing to plan planning to fail?

There’s an saying “Failing to plan is planning to fail”, and I think there’s some truth in this statement.

In my humble opinion, the most important aspect in game production is pretty simple: to produce games (and bit of profits while doing that). There are some developers who spend years planning their next generation MMORPG game, just to realize that all they have is one heck of a long design document.

Writing design documents can be fun, no problem with that, but planning too much can be a problem as it might never get your project anywhere.

On the other hand, there are some developers who are so concentrated on their superb idea that they simply start doing it without almost any planning. These are the people who end up asking their development partner “don’t tell me your forgot the map”. They forgot to spend little time on planning.

Balance is necessary. Planning too much gets you nowhere, and planning (or preparing) nothing gets you to some place where you probably wouldn’t want to go.

Map tells you the distance

When you get an idea about a game (or feature for a game) it makes sense to draw the plan. After you get the feature ideas and sketch out a brief plan, you can see how much work it would require to get it done.

When asked about deadlines, some studios tend to say “when it’s done”, but the problem with that approach is that unless you have unlimited funding, it might mean that you never get things done. By having a plan, you get a better idea on how far you need to go and how long it takes to get there.

When you start planning and “don’t forget the map”, you’ll start to see whether your project makes sense in the first place. You’ll see dead ends and can decide the route.

Don’t forget the map.

Juuso Hietalahti