Post your mistakes!

Discussion in 'Indie Basics' started by Christian, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. PoV

    PoV
    Indie Author

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    I'm nobody's customer. Everybody gives me things for free, be it full versions, or demos, which tell me everything I need to know about a game. :). I barely even buy retail games anymore. Thank you Xbox Live and PS3 download services for saving me money. :)
     
  2. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

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    Same here. When your direct sales of 15 days are more than 2 months sales of 4 portals, something is wrong! ;)
     
  3. Game Producer

    Moderator Original Member

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    Yet another mistake: letting artists take part in the design

    I recently gave our artists the opportunity to design something to an ancient kung fu game, they come up something like this:

    ***a 3D pig (link to the nice pig image)***

    Yeh, that’s what our modelers came up when I asked if they could “create a prop that could be broken in the game”.

    A pig.

    ;)

    (I'm just kidding here you know...)
     
  4. StarLite Moon

    StarLite Moon New Member

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    My biggest mistake was the hatred I developed for script. I'm finding that it is hindering me from finishing my game. I think when you are making a game you might want to try embracing every aspect of your work. For me this game is just a hobby so it should be an enjoyable one. I'm seriously thinking of attaining a better attitude towards script.
     
  5. Nikos Beck

    Nikos Beck New Member

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    Mistakes

    I tried to write things from scratch. What made me think I could write my own language, compiler or engine?

    I accepted that I still needed to do some learning so I finished two projects that played poorly and looked bad. I never tried to sell them but I did use them in my portfolio to find programming jobs. My employers were impressed with my skills and hired me.

    I'm two months into a new project and I'm using a commercial engine and as many free resources as I can get. Sure, an ogre isn't really in the style or theme of my game but I can shoot him with a tiny black spheres. Yes, it still looks awful.

    Nikos.
     
  6. noob_coder

    noob_coder New Member

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    playing warcraft when I should be coding.
     
  7. electronicStar

    Original Member

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    1-posting on this forum when I should be working on my game
    2-believing that I had found the perfect name(electronicStar) for my forum name and future company (incorporating a celestial reference (star) because it seemed cool at the time) and then realizing that apart from the position of two letters this name is almost identical to the name of a big (BIG) videogame corporation.
     
  8. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    Switching projects too often was my main one, but it's no longer true because now that I have some type of audience, when I announce a game, I better stick to that game or disappoint them.
     
  9. airfoil

    airfoil New Member

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    My biggest mistake is doing TOO MUCH research. I've spent months looking for the "right" engine (commercial, free as in beer, open source) and I probably could've written my own engine and had the game nearly done in the time I've spent doing research. In my quest to make development easier, I've lost A LOT of time.

    My thought initially was that some of the time I lost investigating engines would be made up for by the chosen engine simplifying tasks for me. The thing is, I never stopped investigating! There aren't very many engines geared towards sports management simulations (with good reason) so I've spent too much time thinking about how I can bend an engine to do my bidding.

    Ugh.
     
  10. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Biggest recent mistake: <edit> never mind
     
    #50 Desktop Gaming, Jul 7, 2007
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2008
  11. impossible

    Original Member

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    Not working on the projects I really want to make, compromise leading to something that no one wants to play. Not finding the right balance in terms of scope (too small for anyone to want to play or too large to finish.)
     
  12. MrGoldfish

    Original Member

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    Getting part way through projects and then giving up when i thought of a better idea. Vicious circle that one.
     
  13. tagged

    Original Member

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    In my case, thinking it would take 6 months and ended up over 3 years...

    And starting a game with a half-assed design document and slowly realizing the mechanics wouldn't work and start changing them.. Until one day you have a game that plays NOTHING like your initial design and has alot of abandoned code and an unstable code base! Then having to re-write 90% of it for sanitys sake
     
    #53 tagged, Jul 14, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2007
  14. bvanevery

    bvanevery New Member

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    I can. Build systems can attain perfection, when re-architected for CMake. A build system is a relatively simple engineering problem with a straightforward goal. Consequently, over the past 2 years I've gotten very good at CMake and haven't gotten any game development done at all. :-( It felt like a massive horrible $0 this-won't-feed-me I'm-gonna-die mistake until very recently, when a major client came knocking on my door, wanting the very skill that I had spent the past 2 years honing. Now it pays my bills quite well, leaving me with plenty of time and money to pursue my indie visions in any way I imagine. That's a welcome change from being broke all the time.

    Was it a mistake? Certainly there are some underlying mistakes:

    1) Why am I not working on my game??!? Working on all these subsystems and components for games, but not the friggin' game.

    2) Not valuing money enough. I invested my time in technologies that I thought were the best solutions for the problems I was facing. But they were "early adopter" technologies that nobody has heard of, and consequently, aren't worth a dime to most people. This has made it really difficult to stay afloat. Lately, my policy is to only use technologies that I can get paid $$$$ for.

    3) Premature optimization / perfection. Did I actually need a cross-platform build system? No, not for a game. But I did for the Chicken Scheme-to-C compiler I was planning to write my game with, so that the Windows versions of the language would actually work. Did I need to write my game in Chicken Scheme? No, in hindsight not really. But my 1st attempt at my game "Ocean Mars" showed me how inflexible C++ is, and I wanted better ways to write assembly code. Did Chicken actually produce great assembly code anyways? No, um, oops. And in my previous project, I went bankrupt doing too much assembly code work on it. Plus too much C++ class hierarchy OO refactoring mental masturbation.

    Nowadays I'm an adherant of You Ain't Gonna Need It (YAGNI)

    4) Talking way too much in forums. Got the whole comp.games.development.* newsgroup hierarchy started to support my habit. I ran my mouth for a good 4 years and did hardly any coding at all. Then I realized we weren't in the dot.com Boom anymore, we were in the Bust. Panicking, I coded like mad and made up for lost time. But it was too little, too late. Too much talking and lack of coding literally led me to bankruptcy. Be warned.

    Nowadays my forum habit is under control. Somewhere along the way I turned into more of a coder than a talker. I think I had just talked everything to death so much, that I didn't want to rehash the same old things anymore. Nowadays I usually want to talk about a new thing.

    5) Had no idea what a bad economy is. I started my career during the Boom. I thought programmers would always be worth $100+/hour forever, that the money would always be there. So I, uuuh, neglected to go make the money when it was available, ran out, and then it wasn't available. This gets back to mistake (2).

    6) Played way too much Freeciv and other 4X TBS games. Playing it was more satisfying than the chore of writing my own. Until very recently, when... I realized how burned out I was on the genre.

    I've been trying to figure out what I want out of game development and programmerdom for 9.5 years. The good news is I found some things. I have some strong non-game technical interests that actually make me happy and are actually worth money. The bad news is I still haven't come to terms with game development. Still working on that. I see a lot of my mistakes as an inevitable journey.
     
  15. Falcan

    Indie Author

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    Wanting to have control over everything - doing assets alone when they could be done 10x better without spending half of year on that.

    I've spend loads of time on 3 and something versions of art for the Fever Frenzy game. I've got almost hysterical when I've found out the last version of art is still not good enough to be "pro", so the publisher simply paid for real artists and now the game looks good. So, threw ~half of year of developemenet in the trashbin. I think I'll keep art as a hobby now ;-)
     
  16. datxcod

    Original Member

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    Let me say that your game looks great, the graphics are definitely high quality.
     
  17. Falcan

    Indie Author

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    Thanks, at least I can praise myself for bitching the poor artists, they were angry alot but I think in the end it worked well together ... :p
     
  18. Xiotex

    Original Member

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    Happens to me all the time... literally

    If anyone has advice about how to get over that one...
     
  19. bvanevery

    bvanevery New Member

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    I would advise, finish what you started, at least once. No matter how ill-advised it may seem. I did that for the Chicken Scheme-to-C compiler, I wrote a CMake build system for it. It took me a man-year. If I had known it was going to take that long, I doubt I would have done it. But having finished it, I know that I'm capable of finishing, and I know what the actual expense of finishing is. So now that I'm contracting, I know what approaches are a good use of time and what's a complete waste of time. I'm much better at risk management and working only on what's most important than I used to be.

    Previous to Chicken, I bounced around between all sorts of programming languages for 2 years and never got anything done. I don't think you can learn how to finish things unless you insist on finishing at least 1 big thing.

    I don't use Chicken at all BTW. From the "better ideas" standpoint, I went back to C/C++ programming. I may yet use Chicken, but not until I have a proven need for it. My point is, I still finished the CMake build for it, even though pretty late in the game, it looked like I had taken a strategically inadvisable wrong turn with Chicken.

    I make money on CMake now. There was a bit of luck getting started with that as a business model, I didn't really know what I was doing. For a long time it looked like it was going to be this $0 tool that I had wasted my time on. But a client came knocking at my door and thus I had a way to continue. If I hadn't finished that $0 Chicken build, I would never have had the CMake skills to attract such a client and make good money from it. So the point is, finishing things can eventually be worth money. Not finishing things, however, leaves you with not much of anything profitable.
     
  20. ChrisP

    Indie Author

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    A man-year for a build system? Yikes. I'm guessing this wasn't your average makefile. :)
     

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