There’s two good cuts game producers can take to ship their games faster: cutting features and cutting the crap.
When I’m planning my own projects, I ask myself “how valuable this feature really is compared to the resources it takes to complete”. I have big list of ideas, but when it’s time to schedule and plan further, I gotta figure out what kind of impact these features really have.
To give you a bit ugly example, consider this. There was an idea for the zombie game that players could cut the zombie heads. Then there was another idea of having “FPS hands” in the game.
In the dead cutting example, I can do little bit of “market research” and figure out that it’s actually pretty fun feature in some other games. I can consider it to be okay for the project, and the estimated workload isn’t too big either. Then I look at the “FPS hands”: it’s certainly something most first person shooter games have, but perhaps I could survive by just showing the weapon – and not the hand.
Since I’m not hundred percent sure, I can rely on player feedback. I can go to forums and ask what players think. After all, these chaps are the ones who have the best ideas. I can make the decision based on brief market research, player feedback and workload estimations.
And if the deadline comes closer, I can realize that neither of these features affect the core gameplay – which has higher priority. This means head cutting feature might get cut.
And one must be prepared to do some cutting. Especially if you suffer from “feature creep” or “90% finished game” syndromes.
Cut the crap
This is my favorite thing to cut. I think wasting time should not be dealt lightly. Time is so precious, that how you spend it can have a huge impact on what you get done. In the list of 100 ways to be more productive I wrote down some ideas on how to get more done in less time, and cutting the crap certainly could be added to that list.
It’s bit strange that companies spend great deal of energy fighting over salaries, having report meetings and other “mandatory items” that could be dealt with much greater efficiency. That talk can be useful, but much of the talk is just useless crap that leads nowhere.
People like to have “business meeting so that they could talk a bit”, without having any kind of idea why they are in that meeting. Relationship building, brainstorming, seeking opportunities is fine – but there should be specific purpose for meetings.
Cutting the crap will help you boost your production.