Game development feels like a puzzle game to me. How? Simple, let’s consider one of my games. How many roles/elements are needed to make one?
Let’s try to make a list:
- gameplay/rules = work of the game designer
- programming/coding = work of the coder
- artwork = work of the artist (in many cases, 2 or more for backgrounds and GUI)
- story/text = work of the writer
- music/sfx = work of the musician
- marketing/promotion = work of the PR guy
- hosting/demo/support = support / web dev guy
So as you can see, for each of my games there should be the need of 8 people. In reality, I almost always do point 1,2,6,7 myself, and sometimes I also do some GUI and write storyboards for the texts!
In the past I used to to really EVERYTHING on my own (using Poser 3d and royalty free music tracks) but luckily I realized that was much better to hire other people to help
The main problem when working with external people, is that since to finish a game you need all those roles/elements, often happens that I have some areas covered/completed, while others not. Some people work fast in an aspect of a game, others slow downs in different aspects.
In the end that’s why I say it’s like a puzzle game. You need all the pieces to finish and release the product. Unfortunately very often that takes a lot of effort but like all things in life, nothing comes easy, you have to sweat and work hard.
Another thing I often have to decide is the scope of the game. For example now I am playing with the great freeware tilemap editor Tiled, trying to make isometric tilemaps. For which game? well for Planet Stronghold 2, but also thinking if to make them for Seasons Of The Wolf.
The idea was to have a big map like Loren, that once clicked would let you zoom-in and explore the areas in more details, rendered as isometric map. I think the idea is great and I’m sure that I can make it, the only problem is: how long will take me? will I need extra tiles, so contact artist to make more?
When making those decisions I need to consider that there are two types of fans: those who wants the games fast and pressure you to finish them, and others that say “take as much time as you need”. But besides what fans say, I need to keep releasing games at regular intervals to survive in the competitive world of indie games, so right now, I am unsure if to use this system.
I set myself a deadline – if I can have the isometric map thing working in 2 weeks I’ll use it, otherwise not. Also because in theory very shortly Roommates public beta should start, and then will have even less time to make tests…