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RetroGrazer

How to finish a game

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Hi, I'm a relatively new game designer, right? Well, I'm working on a project right now, and I've realized something: every single one of my projects that I do never feel finished. I get sad and really discouraged sometimes because I have this kick-a idea, get it implemented, and down the road realize that I don't have the time or energy to implement everything I wanted to. Same is happening with this project, and it's doubling on the stress to make it "perfect" because it's for a competition. I just find myself in this pit of self-doubt and it's hard not to give up when you start thinking that your game sucks, you know? Does anybody have any tips on how to get out of this mood? Maybe help myself build some confidence in my game? I'm scared to even show it to others or let them play it my confidence is so low. Anything would be helpful. Thank you kindly.

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That usually happens to me when I try to make a game larger than what I can make. It is hard to cut back on ideas for you game but sometimes it has to be done. My advice is to simplify your game ideas or just accept your game will take a long time to complete.

Try doing a game jam. Set a restriction to make a simple game in a short time period. If all you have is a game or two to complete a game then you are sure to simplify a lot.

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A few tips to mix, match or discard:

  • Get over your fear and show your game to other people. I find that there's no better way to get motivation than to see people enjoying your game.
  • Team up with somebody. Seeing progress from other people is cool and it's harder to lose motivation if you're not the only one in this.
  • In every 48h Ludum Dare Compo I have that moment (that actually takes around 12 hours, haha) where I feel like the game isn't worth finishing. Every single time that I just kept calm and slowly carried on, I suddenly got great ideas what to add to make it fun. Persistence pays.
  • Make (much!) smaller projects to get into the habit of finishing.

That's what works for me. Your mileage might vary.

 

And regarding your fear of showing your game to other people: What are you afraid off? That they don't like it? Why? Because even then, you can ask them for feedback and maybe find out how to improve the game. And who knows, maybe they will like it. Either way, it can't be worse than having a game that nobody plays.

Edited by TobiasW

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This isn't really a Game Design question (not everything fits into the Game Design pigeonhole), so I'm moving it. But basically, "when is the game done" depends on the big-picture question, "what is this game supposed to accomplish?" And you also have to fight against the dreaded "feature creep." That's the part of each of us that tries to keep adding features.

It's vitally important to "keep it simple." If you want to fly a new game up the flagpole to see how it does in the wild, then you simply have to cut off development when the game demonstrates its core gameplay (the heart of the game's fun). If it meets with a positive reception, you can then either add to it or do a new one based on that core. Or you can make a note of it, and move on to the next one.

The reality is that you can't stay on one game forever. You have to use good judgment and let it go so it can live or die on its own. Then you can move on to the next one.

Moving this to Production/Management.

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Thank you to all of you who replied to my post. All of these are really great ideas, especially the one about the feature creep and the Ludum Dare compos. I've always wanted to do one, but other things have always gotten in the way, unfortunately. I'll try to be better about showing my games, I guess. You're right in the fact that you don't know if someone will like it or not. Thank you again for all the advice so far.

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This happens to me a lot. Go make matters worse I've announced these things in Facebook and made a big deal out of it. Twice , in the past two years, o have created a Facebook page for a game and then a company that I wanted to make/start. I shared it with friends and family. However, those projects were never finished. I'm starting to feel like the girl who cried game.

One of my problems is that I want to make an RPG. I've excepted the fact that this will not happen for a while.

The second problem was that I did marketing way to early (but that's not where I'm going here).

Right now, I'm working on a simple game mechanic and level. This is helping me to see areas that I need to work in. For example, I can't even write a short story for the level. So how can I even think of writing an RPG. Also, the small scope of this project will insure that I get something done.

You also might want to take a break from your larger ideas. Break them down into smaller projects. This way, you can test out your ideas individually and still feel as though you are accomplishing something.

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-Limit yourself to how many projects you have at a time. e.g. I limit myself to 3 games at a time and until one of those is finished, a new game cannot be started.
-When it gets to near the finish line and you're totally sick of the game, remember that's it's awesome when you finish a game and see it working. :) I also find it helps to throw on some music you really like.
-If you worry your game will suck, remember, 90% of games suck. Also, a couple of finishing points on failure:

"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

-Michael Jordan

“Failure doesn’t mean the game is over, it means try again with experience." Len Schlesinger

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What a coincedence, I have 3 little project in the pipe. Hobby projects. One is little text math related app. Then a DX11 based guitar related math app and a little 3D space game.

Have a idea for a FPS game. But I also decided that 4th is way to much even a third to.

For the game, to keep the larger scope a bit, instead to go for full game, a demo wil do or technical demo. As long as it is fully playable and show the core features.

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never feel finished
Feel is irrelevant, players are relevant. Focus on making the game for others to play.

 


realize that I don't have the time or energy to implement everything I wanted to
That's standard. You never will have the means to implement everything. No matter your budget, dedication, time, skill, etc. You need to decide what to cut down. Always. No exceptions.

 


it's hard not to give up when you start thinking that your game sucks, you know?
You get used to it over time, but it never passes I guess :) I basicly always think that my game sux and then, to my surprise, players usually like it. Of course sometimes the game indeed sux :D

 


I'm scared to even show it to others
Then stop being scared and do it :) It's just a feeling, don't let it control your life (and development) :) And yes, development does require courage, you can't do it without it. Think of it as if you were to enter the cave full of lions, that's pretty what a game dev is about :)

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