It has been two years since inception and work began on this project and almost a year since incorporation, lately I find myself reflecting on the most important things I have learned.
Research is important, know as much as you can about your industry and about what other people are doing in it. You need to know what’s going on with the others before, during and after a project. Are you exploiting a trend or joining a niche? Knowing where you stand is good and also knowing where the others stand is better, if you don’t stay on top of current events you will become irrelevant.
Pick your team wisely; you will need a strong commitment during the tough times. When you can’t make payments and you’re having trouble securing the next bit of capital, you are going to need a pretty loyal team to forego money, food and sleep and to carry on working. Without a committed team behind you, every obstacle could potentially end you.
Plan your budget and development timeline as well as you can, then double the time it will take and double the money it will cost. Then you will be closer to reality and you will not be so surprised when things take longer than expected or cost more. I think one of the biggest mistakes while planning is assuming you are going to get things right the first time around. But that’s wrong, hours upon hours will be spent revising, changing and re-doing things. And you’ll need to polish your product ‘till it shines, or all your time and money was wasted.
Have a strong overarching vision, know your direction but don’t get bogged down in failed ideas or too attached to bad concepts, some things are just not going to work and they’ll have to be cut. The game design document went through 14 iterations before we started development; then we had to adapt to development realities while making the game. But as we near the end of the line, we feel confident the game we ended up making is better than the initial idea, because it was forged in reality, not la-la land.
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