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Time to ship, cut glitches or cut features?

Last post 12/8/2012 8:38 AM by Bob Taco Industries. 4 replies.
  • 12/4/2012 9:28 PM

    Time to ship, cut glitches or cut features?

    So, every game seems to come to this point eventually. Sometimes you just have to ship, just can't bare another day being in development. Maybe the team size has decreased, or the budget has ceased, or you are moving. Getting married or have too many side projects going on. Whatever the case may be, it's time to ship and get your master piece out of your garage, and into the marketplace.

    But there are glitches! Minor things, but things people will notice. What do you do? Cut them out of the game entirely, or leave them in under promise that you will fix them when the sales happen? What if it's something minor like an image being off by a pixel, or a loading time taking a few seconds longer than it should? A bad section of music in your main soundtrack, etc? What is worth keeping in, and what needs to be cut and why?


  • 12/4/2012 10:59 PM In reply to

    Re: Time to ship, cut glitches or cut features?

    If you try to cut stuff you run the risk of introducing more bugs. Fix what you can that could be thought of as a bug. Then ask yourself - What kind of review would Indie Gamer Chick give me. If it's not good, keep fixing stuff. Remember, you only get one chance to make a good impression (usually, Second Chance With the Chick notwithstanding. :D)
  • 12/7/2012 12:25 AM In reply to

    Re: Time to ship, cut glitches or cut features?

    C: Don't adhere to an arbitrary and capricious "deadline", especially one which is self-imposed.
  • 12/8/2012 2:47 AM In reply to

    Re: Time to ship, cut glitches or cut features?

    PouncingKitten Games:
    C: Don't adhere to an arbitrary and capricious "deadline", especially one which is self-imposed.

    My first game, Zthompurz, had to be completely shut down and scrapped because I spent 8 months and had no end in sight. That was a self imposed deadline. I didn't even try to ship it, and wouldn't ever. That game simply took too much of my life. 
  • 12/8/2012 8:38 AM In reply to

    Re: Time to ship, cut glitches or cut features?

    Modern07:
    PouncingKitten Games:
    C: Don't adhere to an arbitrary and capricious "deadline", especially one which is self-imposed.

    My first game, Zthompurz, had to be completely shut down and scrapped because I spent 8 months and had no end in sight. That was a self imposed deadline. I didn't even try to ship it, and wouldn't ever. That game simply took too much of my life. 


    If the project is overly ambitious, to the point where it cannot be completed within a reasonable time, then your best options are to either scrap it or revise it so as to limit its scope. If revision is impossible or impractical, then document as much as possible (on the off chance you have a breakthrough later and decide to return to it) and leave it sit.

    There's nothing wrong with cutting back on features if you can do so in a way that keeps the game enjoyable, but there's no point in shipping an empty shell just for the sake of shipping. Nor of shipping something you feel is incomplete, since you really only get one chance to win over gamers. (Note that if you are intentionally doing public releases of alpha and/or beta versions of a game at periodic intervals during its development, then the previous advice still applies but only to the extent that it must be complete enough to be playable, reasonably enjoyable in its current state, and unlikely to require breaking changes that would anger many players. On a service like XBLIG, it's doubtful that such a release strategy would work due to the requirements and nature of peer review.).

    If you think in 3 or 6 months you might be able to come back and finish the game, then document as best you can (so you know what's going on, what's broken, what's funny, what's working, what's not yet implemented, etc.) and take a break from it. Releasing an unfinished game as a final product is throwing away all your time (far more so than shelving it since you can pick it up off the shelf at any point and continue working on it but you can't un-publish it and that makes it very hard to get gamers to "forget" that the unfinished version ever existed).
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