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gamechampionx

Question about error-proofing games

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I have created a game recently called Drunken Brawl at this site, and I've made a lot of quick changes to it in the few days between when it was first "completed" and now. The game is somewhat simple, and is text-based, and I'm wondering how long it usually takes to perfect such a game, including fixing bugs and balancing in-game features.

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this is a topic that i think about quite a lot when im coding.
what ive decided is this:
in order for any game to be bug/glitch free you MUST have a very solid start point.
this means that as soon as you start coding your game, you should have thought about as many possible options and uses for variables and classes as you can. i have experienced first hand just in the last few days what a much cleaner foundation can do for a game:
my first game took me a good half a year to make because i rushed in and did things without much thought. after a while i HAD to redo some of the main code (eg. putting it in classes and revamping at the same time) because it was so dirty that i couldnt modify any of it without affecting or having to change something else. this wasted a lot of time when i was making it and like i said ive just realised the MAJOR advantages of creating something solid and well thought out from the begining:
half a week ago i started re-making that first game of mine in an attempt to produce a game that is bug-less and is much more playable than the original. after half a week i have all the gameplay control code completely implemented (advanced on the original as well) - by the way this is a puzzle game - and my main class (for the playing field(s)) is much more solid than the original with NO bugs as of yet and all possible uses that may be required are either implemented or can be done so WITHOUT anything happening to the rest of the code. when i first made the game it had so many bugs that i spent half my time working on fixing them instead of progressing with the game - one of the major reasons it isnt that big or great.

sorry to tell you my life story (not quite [wink]) but i want to stress what ive realised so that others may benefit.
ill leave you with this:
PLAN!! Don't think that a game will be made from thought alone. Write your thoughts down, write pseudo code down for functions that you can't get to work, draw diagrams of situations that you can't get working. IT ALL HELPS!!! Lastly, accommodate for any expansions that the game may require. Classes are fantastic for this purpose if for nothing else (although there is more). All of this will save you TIME and it will help eliminate repetitive BUGS, I guarantee it!

[edit]Quick fixes are the best way to add bugs into a game. if you must fix or add something, think about it and implement it properly and in a general manner which uses/supports the rest of the code so that if you need it more than once, its there no problem.[/edit]

hope you find this useful and an answer to your question [smile]. im glad i could write it.

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Obscure, this has a lot to do with business in fact.

the_moo, thanks a lot for your reply. My game does in fact have a solid foundation, and most of the fixes have been mostly small one-liners. Luckily I object-oriented the thing from the start which helped more than I thought it would. I guess I should just plan another week or two for casual fixes.

I'm currently not too worried about final fixes, I'm down to 1 error that should take about 10 minutes to fix. It will probably take some time to balance the game though, I found taking a concept and making it tangible was easy enough to complete, but it often leaves you with just a shell of how you want the game to really operate. I planned on using dynamic systems for storage which have worked out really well, and will hopefully make tweaking relatively painless.

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Traditionally, game companies schedule two months for testing and game-balancing, plus an additional month for submission if the target is a console. Of course, testing and game-balancing happen throughout development, but the testing is usually done by the developers instead of testers and balancing is limited.

Depending on business considerations and how the development stage progresses, those times may be increased or decreased.

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