How do you know when to stop tinkering?

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  • So, how do you all know when to stop for your game and just bite the bullet and release it already?

    Sure, we probably have an idea of what the fundamentals should be, but then I'll see cool ideas from different games and think, "Hmm, I should probably have that in my game, too." I have a simple HUD that shows the level and current score, but then I see a HUD which includes both of those and the hi-score. Now I think, great, I need to go through all my layouts and adjust level & score text sizes so I can add the hi-score. Even this last part isn't too bad as I can wrap that up in a Function for "LoadSettings" or something and take care of the resizing, etc.

    But ... as you make your games, are you continually struggling (like me) to just stop and push it out to the various platforms? I started with the idea of 25 levels (it's an easy game), but then thought I'd better add more since it's pretty short. Then I say, "Ooh, I should probably spruce the graphics up a bit" or "I should think about putting in a pause button or menu layout or level select layout, etc."

    I think I realize that some gameplay elements can be reserved for updates down the road when you have more time to devote to adding them in. At the same time, I tend to think my game is incomplete unless it has a certain number of these elements already baked in.

  • I read somewhere that you can never over polish any game you are making. I belive it blindy, but there is another aspect to it, if you are only making games for a living, the polishing part would actually be counter productive and from a set production time perspective, some sacrifices have to be made. It is my opinion, but I dont know jack **** about making games for living, because I am making games as a hobby (note the lack the certain medal on my avatar). But then again there is the excause: ,,I can update, if this does not fuction properly!,, I think that excause sounds legit, if I was making games for living.

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  • This is a good question as I've redone the user interface for one of my games 3 times now, so I'm just going to stop cold turkey, the problem is this forum is so good and full of so many talented people, ever time I show them something I'm working on I get a ton of great ideas that frankly are better than anything I could have come up with. I think I just need to start sicking with my story boards.

  • ... this forum is so good and full of so many talented people...

    Hey look, I did what most journalists do there . Actually I agree, thanks to all the creations and people on Scirra, my hobby kicked off. Tough I actually have shown this community very little, how far I have progressed and I think it is cause of the fact that this is a hobby, I dont feel like sharing much, until I have somthing that feels complete and polished(even if it is a hobby project). I belive most money earning game makers share a lot more previews (screenies, videos, demos) what they are making currently, in order to get the required feedback and make their product better.

  • For me the hardest part to decide in a game is the level of difficulty. But I can also get lost in the tinkering of the game. At one point you have to decide enough is enough

  • I think setting up realistic benchmarks for yourself is a good solution. Tinker until it starts to hamper a benchmark, then move on.

  • Plan your projects, set a timescale for your project, and learn to accept what works.

    After release, rely on feedback for further improvements.

    But dont change things after jut one comment about it.

    If you are unsure about the qaulity, you can always release something as a beta.

  • Just release the game. Your "polished" work is the updates. Every game works this way.

  • Here what I would personally do, might not work for you but should give some ideas at least.

    1) Be clear what your game is about to avoid "unnecessary" feedback.

    2) Release test builds often as possible.

    3) Make sure players understand meaning of "preview build/dev build", "alpha" and "beta" (maybe even "RC, Release candidate").

    Surveys are always nice idea after each testing, sometimes players have problems putting their feedback into words. Simple "rate feature" survey (example google drive forms) could bring more useful and interesting data compared to forum post "it was fun game".

    When feedback is not so much about adding/removing features anymore, announce feature freeze and focus on polishing remaining "weak parts", but always remain honest with yourself. If you dont agree that feature X should be like Person A suggested, discuss with your players and provide them alternatives on how to improve feature X the way you feel would work better.

    If you blindly follow every player suggestions you end up with "little bit of everything" and eventually game does not feel like its your own creation anymore, try to "stay true to your vision" while providing best possible experience for those who enjoy it.

    You always have content/bug fix updates to add new features and tweak things even if game is not in beta anymore, when players are able to stress test your game they have better understanding what could be improved to make whole package work better.

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