5 Stupid Game Development Mistakes I’ve Made (Do Not Try These At Home, Serious Problems Might Occur)

Game development has given me possibilities to do tons of mistakes. Here’s some of the most stupid mistakes I’ve done during these years. Like they say in tv ads: do not try these at home.

Mistake #5 – Getting a development team
Around 2001 I was working on this “MMO” game which started from the idea of “having this dark island where guy moves with a cool torch in his hand”. That’s not a bad start for a MMO, but the worse idea was me getting this “development team to work on profit basis”.

Okay, I eventually found a good friends (this part of the MMO was not a mistake, Tim) but other than that it was a huge mess. I remember taking aboard some people who didn’t have a clue on things. One guy was saying he was a “texture ‘expert'”. Which meant he shot (or “loaned”) some photos of some ancient museum swords. That’s like pretty nice, but spending 2 months to some helmet images that will never get in the game was not such a smart move.

I was thinking that “the more people get in, the better the result will be”.

Now I realize that “the more people got in, the bigger the trouble I was facing”

Okay, maybe some “we’ll share the profits later / do this thing for free” team can prove me wrong, but I thought it was heckofa mess. Fun mess though.

Mistake #4 – Not getting a development team
The other alternative (after realizing how big mess it is to have tons of people around) was to try do everything related to my big idea on my own. This was perhaps a slightly smarter move than getting a huge group (at least for people like me) but then it became obvious that I need more time & donuts to get the ball moving.

Alone, with not enuf skills (modeling, programming, designing, mapping, sounds, music… you name it) it sort of became obvious that this path won’t work.

Well, good news is that from this mistake I learnt that outsourcing and purchasing 3rd party stuff can be a solution. And also the smaller the project scope, the bigger chances for solo survival there is.

Mistake #3 – Choosing a bloody long company name
The reason why I always direct people to gameproducer.net is instead to my company site (polycountproductions.com) that my company name is so bloody long that I just find it easier to use a shorter name. This means my company stuff is “somewhere in the back in the papers” and I haven’t even updated the site for long.

Not such a bad mistake, but still annoys me after 5 years and I keep thinking “I should change the company name”.

Mistake #2 – Starting about 17 projects simultaneously
I’ve improved my skills on this area, and nowadays I have only 1 game project going on simultaneously. I still get new ideas for games and simply write them down or discuss them a bit with my friends, and then write them down. Earlier (long, very long time ago), I might have got several game ideas and plans going on. I still have several side projects and things going on/fading away here and there (it’s just so fun to start new things), but I’m getting better at focusing on one main thing and getting that finished before new stuff.

Mistake #1 – Not making enough mistakes
During the last 5 years in this company gaming thing I’ve been doing more mistakes than ever in my life. I’ve probably learned more than ever in my life. Mistakes are good. Gotta keep doing more of them.

Somebody has said “if you aren’t failing ever, then you are not fighting in the right league” (or something like that, I might have made a mistake here).

Me likes that attitude.

See also 10 worst game production mistakes (article written 3 years ago).

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Hmm, perhaps I’ll ask you guys to share your most embarrassing mistakes :)

  2. It’s bit strange that I first accidentally announced this blog post in twitter with a broken link… sigh. Thanks david for notifying me :)

  3. I can agree with all of those. Although #3 for us was slightly different, we used a fake word which made it hard for people to remember. For some reason whenever I told people DtD Soft dot com it always came back ddt’s soft dot com.

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