I tend to stare into space when I'm trying to think of ideas... Me? I'm a novice indie game dev currently working on Fountain of Life, a game where you only have seconds left to live and must gather the souls of the dead to survive.

Report article RSS Feed DevLog #5 - Deadlines and Elegance

Posted by AlceX on Jan 12th, 2013

Sometimes I wondered if I'm the type who works better with deadlines. When I decided last week to finish porting the prototype to Unity by the end of this week, I decided I was the type who works worse. It kinda stressed me out, because I felt I needed to have it done by this week, but I was pretty sure that I wouldn't make it. When I actually started though, I changed my mind. I was pretty motivated; I would finish the prototype on time! Alas, this did not mean much, because my productivity didn't particularly increase, sadly. And as the week ended, it backfired: the fact that I wasn't going to make it unmotivated it me, which actually hurt my productivity. It has a lot to do with one fact, though: it's harder to push yourself for deadlines you set yourself than ones set by somebody else. And with this I don't only exactly mean deadlines actually imposed by someone else; When there's people paying attention to the deadline, looking forward to seeing the final product, I like to think of it as if the players have set the deadline, because if you fail you're not only failing for yourself, you're failing for everyone who's interested. And nobody wants to disappoint their fans (well, the good people at least!).

On a brighter note, I've gotten a good amount of ideas for the game! Looking from a different perspective (in this case, code) really helps a lot. What I'm trying to work on now is making the base game as fun and interesting as possible. I mean, I have a ton of interesting ideas for new mechanics, but there's no point in this if the base isn't fun. What I'm trying to acheive now is "elegance"; keeping the game simple but fun by making the base, important mechanics as interesting as possible without making the game complicated. Mario's jump is a very good example of an elegant action: you can jump to cross pitfalls, to kill enemies, to push down switches, hit blocks, etc. By doing this, you make the game diverse yet simple, because you don't have to be constantly teaching the player new mechanics to keep fresh, simply new obstacles. Doing this well in my game is hard though, since it's mainly invented actions, unlike actions like jumping and hitting. There's not a list of familiar uses to these actions, so I have yo invent them in a way that it's related to the main function, while being easy to understand. Luckily for me, though, this makes things way more interesting!

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