The endless tweaking curse: getting caught up in continuously testing your game levels over and over and changing this and changing that, ultimately stopping development all together. You end up second guessing yourself and even changing things that don't need to be changed. You change things simply because you yourself have become bored with experiencing it too many times or you have gotten so used to testing the levels, they become easy and you make them harder. What you end up with is features you don't need and levels that are too hard for the beginner and a game that never gets finished because you have imposed yourself with too much to do.
I created a 3 level freeware game called Pencil Whipped back in 2002. The premise to this game was simply to progress through the levels enjoying the humor and situations. The world was black and white simulating a world that had been drawn with a pencil. Seemed simple enough.
Originally the characters were flat drawn sprites that lent well to the drawn concept of a 2D/3D world. They animated like a flip book where you have two drawn pictures one on each sheet of paper where you flip the first page back and forth and simple animation would ensued.
Here’s where I started to add features that really didn't need to be added. Pencil Whipped had been voted to be in the 2002 IGF. I thought to myself: “this game is too easy and looks too simple! I'll change some things before I go to the IGF with it”. I decided to make animated 3D models of the characters instead of sprites. Big mistake. It took forever to model characters that animated with bones, but looked like a 2D sprite. The enemies still performed the same A.I., sounded the same and died just as fast. Was it worth it to waste an entire week to model, skin, rig and animate just one character so he would look a bit cooler during his 5 second existence? And this was just one character, I had about 10 to do that way.
What happened was I got burned out and stopped development all together.
I’ve recently put it all back on the PC again. Maybe its too little too late, but I’m going to finish the game. I’m going back to the original sprites, adjusting the animations and timing issues to be compatible with faster computers and easing up on the difficulty. I can concentrate on creating more levels and not get wrapped around the axel with features that don’t really need to be added to the game.
EDIT: I guess my question is have any of you had similar situations as this? Do you think keeping things simple and to the point for your future customers is more important than continually satisfying yourself with your creation? Where is the fine line and when do you know you've fallen into that trap?
[Edited by - Lon F on May 8, 2007 10:56:54 AM]