I thought it might be interesting to jot down my initial naive assumptions and compare them to what it really took. Play my tiddlywinks game here
|What I’d planned||Reality||Next time|
|Initial idea||0||A flash of genius||I already have a list of more ideas than I can cope with, just need to prioritise them|
|Project planning||0||0||At least a day to set up a really basic scrum board with user stories and tasks|
|Roughing out a Beta version||2 weeks||2 weeks||2 weeks|
|Getting some initial feedback||0||1 week||2 weeks. Try to get more feedback earlier. This should help focus on features that people like rather than effects I think a ‘cool’|
|Refine and rework to get something playable||0||1 week||2 weeks|
|Play testing||a few days||1 week||2 weeks. Try to get more people involved and nail down any bugs or dodgy game play|
|Final rework and prettify||0||2 days||1 week. I need to work on my landing pages, they are quite dull at the moment|
|Adverting setup||0||1 week messing about with AdSense and trying to get video interstitials working in a Windows 10 App. Completely failed to get any IAP’s working so far.||2 weeks to get IAP’s working and fully tested.|
|Publishing to my own webserver, Facebook, Windows store and Chrome store||an evening||2 weeks. Oh my god why do they all want screenshots and images at so many different resolutions! And why is it so hard to publish to Facebook.
Here’s a helpful tip Facebook devs, if I’m looking in the help it’s because I don’t know what to do, not because I’m an expert!
|1 week. I’ll know to get screen shots, videos and all the images done during final testing next time.|
|Publish to App store and Play store||Didn’t plan to do this||0||Once I’ve got a few games that are playable I’ll sign up for the App store developer and play store.|
|Total||2 1/2 weeks||Just over 8 weeks||12 weeks|
I think form this it’s clear that I drastically underestimated the post-coding effort it takes to release a game. I’m still not doing enough social media to get it noticed. Even though it’s just a hobby I need to treat it like a real project with a plan, deadlines and reviews. It would be very easy to have ended up with a half built thing that never saw the light of day. So for the next game I’ll stick to a nice lightweight project management method and see if I can turn out a more polished product.
So my advice to anyone thinking about writing a game is:
Use a game engine, don’t re-invent the wheel, it’s the game that matters not the tools you use to make it
Get feedback early, you’ll save a lot of time by working on what people like about the game
Write down your initial idea and review it often, it’s really easy to get distracted
Make a plan, even if it’s laughably inaccurate you’ll learn from it. Rework the plan as you go, unless you carved it in stone 🙂
Getting people to play your game is harder than writing it……I’m still working on this one!
Finish it. Even if it’s a bit tatty round the edges, get it out there and move on from v1.0