Development can take a long period of time. As an individual working on your own game, I’m sure that sucks. I know I feel a twinge of dread thinking about my game taking a year or more to create. Time is your greatest commodity, so you want to do work that scales. So, here are 3 tips to shorten the time you spend developing your game!
Have A Design Document
Always have a plan. Making your game is all about the direction right? People forget things and having a design document can help you keep the direction of your game intact. It doesn’t have to be long, but it’s important to have. If you ever want to invite a new person on to the project, they need all the information that was in your head. Also, it keeps you from having to explain everything all over again. So, here are a few guidelines on what should be in the document.
The document should contain the features, name, description, the purpose of the game, aesthetic, and target audience of the game.
These factors determine which way your game will go, choose wisely my friend.
That fence, that code, that enemy model, reuse as much as you can. A lot of games reuse assets as the basic building blocks of the game. Time is money, time is also game assets, having a unique game asset for everything would make development take longer right? Be smart and reuse assets when you can.
Now some might argue that 50 palette swaps of the same enemy is boring; I get that 100%. That’s why you use reuse within reason; customize those reused assets and have them enhance your stand out set pieces within your game. It’s all about scaling effectively when you can.
With that said, one final tip remains.
Don’t Write Your Story First
Writing the story first seems like a smart idea; it’s very tempting. I’ve done it before and I’ll tell you now it’s not a great idea for your game. Whenever I’ve written the story first almost all of my decisions have to be vetted by my story and only then can I make a decision on the gameplay. That can really hurt the main point of your game, which is to be fun and engaging.
The gameplay should always come first. Once you have solid gameplay, build your story around that, or have a barebones story that acts as an aesthetic backdrop for certain features the game will have. Just remember, keep it light.
These are the three tips that I think will help you improve upon your development time, until next time, take care!