It’s week 5 everyone! You’re probably panicking at this point because who knows where those other weeks went. Or there’s been an elusive bug that’s happening somewhere, somewhere haunting your entire weekends. This is normal game dev life. It’s not because you’re terrible or you’re not meant to be making games. Game developers everyday have wasted hours because of a forgotten semi-colon or misspelled variable.
So it’s one of the last weeks and you might feel like not very much of your game is done. That is also okay! The next step is to make some decisions: simplify, cut features, and/or polish up what you have. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is this feature, enemy, or game choice not absolutely vital to my game?
- Can my idea even simpler?
- Can I keep my game to one level, area, or endless mode
- Is this win or lose condition too complex? Can I make it easier to win or lose?
- Can I somehow adopt this bug as part of my game?
- Is anything replaceable with place holder art or sound?
- Am I obsessing over this one thing that’s not really important or a piece of polish?
If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, then you know what to do! Cut, simplify, or pivot so that you can move onto polishing your game.
Polish is what makes your game look and feel nice! This not only applies to art and sound but the unseen things too (such as gameplay tweaks)! It’s what ties together the player’s experience. That could be fixing the gravity in a platformer. Or adding some extra effect to give bullets that extra oomph. Here’s what some game developers define polish as:
“Polish, to me, is the last 10 to 20 percent of effort where everything in the game is now working and you take the time to focus on the little details that have a big impact on the overall quality of the game,”
— Rod Fergusson, executive producer @ Epic Games
“For me, polish has always been fixing multiple small issues and adding tiny features that really smooth off the edges of gameplay, Also I say ‘small’ as I consider polish getting a system from 90 percent to 100 percent. But really, that last 10 percent takes just as long as the first 90. Polish is no small task; it is just about small unseen things”
— Dan Rubalcalba, programmer @ Obsidian
Different disciplines spend different amounts of time polishing depending on the feature. For a designer, polishing means can we make the game more fun. For an artist, polishing means can it look better. For an engineer, polishing means is it optimized.”
— Patrick Dwye, lead designer @ Robomodo
Further reading on polish
- Art of Game Polish
- How to Polish Your Game
- 5 Simple Techniques to Add Polish to Your Game
- 5 Simple Game Polish Tips
- 5 Important Ways to Add Polish to Your Game
Next week, we’ll be focusing on playtesting! In order to have the best playtesting experience possible your game should be mostly complete. What is playtesting? Playtesting is when you invite a bunch of unbiased people to play your game. You will observe them (without explaining anything) and take notes on what they do, struggle with, or comment on. Then you take these comments into consideration and use them to better your game. Playtesting is an important step because not everyone plays a game the same way you do or see the same things you do.
Work on your game! Finish the core gameplay and move onto doing a little bit of polish
Come out to the meetups to work on your game. Feel free to bring a friend. It doesn’t matter what stage or week your game is in whether it’s in the idea phase or you’re just starting to explore a tool. Just stop by, talk to us, and soak in the productive atmosphere!
Where: RPM Startup Centre (420 rue Guy)
When: Sunday, Feb. 2nd from 2-5pm