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Advice

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superpig

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Something I'd highly recommend in your software project, if you've got the time, is to mess around a bit.

It's a really good way to test the flexibility of what you've written, and it can sometimes expose bugs too. While working on a comicbook-related game some months ago, I had a few days of free time, so I kicked around some ideas for a 'graphic novel' renderer. While I produced some things that were kinda cool, I didn't end up creating anything that will make it into the game... however, I did find a few bugs in our other graphics routines in the process. This is a logical conclusion of the idea that the more you use code, the fewer bugs will be lurking in it - so if you make an effort to use the code more than otherwise (by doing things that are amusing/creative but not necessary) you will find and take out more bugs.

The same thing's happening again with the christmas theme for GDNet. It's almost done, in that I'm just clearing up some issues with the rounded borders on the frontpage and 1-pixel gaps in the dropdown menus... but while putting it together, I've run across a number of images that weren't correctly themeable, or pages that didn't have proper header structure. While those problems might have been noticed in the past, people would simply have worked around them because they would have been working to tighter deadlines...

So do try things out in-development even if you don't think they're going to go anywhere. The aforementioned comicbook-related game's central character got a little santa hat come last Christmas, and it was a little excercise for the artist behind it, as well as proving a little comic relief for everyone else. It won't ship, but it wasn't without value.
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Sort of - I was trying to emulate the style used in the comic book that the game was based on, so it was more about black and white with crosshatching/shading.

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