Eggs in 1 basket – a warning!

Lesson one: a very important lesson – which should be avoided at ALL costs and can be summed up in one word – PROTOTYPE! Do it first and DONT do ANYTHING else!!!

When starting our first small game, we had a group of about 10 volunteers. With that many people, tasks start getting handed out quick so everyone is working on something. Stuff starts getting done. We moved quickly at first, although still behind our ‘perceived’ milestones, we were seeing results early.

The problem is by the time we had a playable prototype, 1/2 the art was already completed! Once we started playing we quickly realized that the game mechanic was not as great as we hoped, but with so many assets already completed or in production, we were locked into the game ‘as is’, because we didn’t want to waste all the energy we put into those assets.

Bottom line? – refine that game mechanic first! Play it, refine it, and do it again. Iteration at this phase is critical. Don’t start making ANY assets yet. I am not saying don’t think about art direction, tech issues, or marketing. Think about it, but not too much. Getting the base ‘play’ style down using primatives and basic shapes is key. If it’s fun while it’s ugly, you might have a winner.

To sum up, it’s really really hard to keep interest in a project if you think the outcome is going to be just so-so. It’s even more painful to finish a project if you have created almost all the assets only to see your once grand vision fade to something simply mediocre. Making it fun without any bells and whistles is key. Your team will thank you for it!

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