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Not failing...

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Its painfully obvious how many projects start with the best intentions, but fall by the wayside at some point in production. These are not special cases, they are the majority of indie team projects and a good number of professional projects. There are pitfalls at every point of development, sometimes they can be avoided, but often they can't be seen beforehand. Fortunately there are a number of things that can be done before and during development to lessen (or even remove) the threats which cause projects to derail. With that in mind, I went in search of advice that might help me minimize the chances of project failure.

I'm right in the middle of writing my Design Documents, so I want any tips that might help me 'failure proof' those documents. The most valuable resource I found was Lone Wolf Killers, part one, and part two which are specifically written about what can go wrong during the development process, and includes a few good details on the design document, it's worth reading through these at any point in development for some great insight. Also, the following links cover an array of other problems your project might face.

Play Testing
Bug Tracking
Battling Bad Press
Feature creep
Legal issues:part one, part two, part three.

Even in the early stages of development, its important to understand what you might face in the future, and plan for it accordingly. The articles listed above are useful as individual guides, (if you find yourself in a tight situation) and as a general framework to guide your project from the start of production, gracefully through any hoops that might have normally caused problems..

I also want to mention the Post Mortem section, which is packed with honest examples of success and failure situations in mainstream game development.

What have I learned?: If I don't have every part of Axiom and its development process documented from the start, I'm increasing my chances of failure by a huge amount. It's also terribly important to have a down to earth, honest idea about what can be achieved. Building and managing a team is not like running a business, its about being part of a small community and earning the help of other team members, who in turn, must feel appreciated and be able to see that their valuable input is needed and used well!

Next time, The Design Documents: Part 1.

Feedback is always welcome.. How do you motivate yourself, and avoid failure? Thanks for reading!
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