The Disastrous Mistakes that Game Developers MUST Avoid

Written By MrSun at 8:00 am - Monday, September 01st, 2008
Categories: Flash

We, as people, all make mistakes. We, as game developers, make mistakes as well. Some of these mistakes are trivial and don’t bring upon us too much consequences. However, there are a few that we need to avoid with as much effort as possible, lest they turn our games into disasters.

Mistake #1: Releasing the Game too Early

A very common mistake that almost every vetted game developer has made through his or her career is releasing their game too early. I know, this is a vague statement, so I’ll try to give you some guidelines in what should be done to your game before its release. Here’s a checklist of things that must be done before your game is truly complete.

  • Get somebody to test it and give feedback
  • Fix all known bugs, or at least try to mask them
  • Add instructions
  • Add settings/options
  • Add credits
  • Optimize Code
  • Get more people to test it and give feedback

Although some of these bullets can be skipped over without disastrous consequences, it is always the smart thing to do to complete each one if applicable.

Mistake #2: Spending Too Much Time in Development

On the opposite end of the spectrum is this mistake, developing the game for too long of a time. If you are a perfectionist, this could be one of your problems. Do not over-complicate your game. Do not linger too much on minute details, Doing this can seriously hurt your game development experience.

A great way to solve this problem is through brainstorming. In your brainstorming, create a clear image of what your game will turn out to look like. Whenever you have doubts about your game while in development, you can simply look back to your brainstorming and make sure your game turns out the way you expected. Obviously, it’s ok to make a few changes, but don’t make them too enormous. Stick to the plan, even if only loosely.

Mistake #3: Forgetting the 3 Essential Features

You probably haven’t heard of the three essential features. That’s because I just made them up. Those features are: the pause feature, the mute feature, and the quality feature. Let’s see why all of these features are essential.

The Pause Feature

There are just so many reasons why a gamer would need to pause the game, a trip to the bathroom, a phone call, an annoying sibling, and so on. It could be quite a problem if they can’t attend to those problems while they play your game. Unless your game is amazingly addictive (and I commend you if it is), they will choose their real-life disturbances over a relatiely unimportant game. Of course, what is a pause functionality without visibility? You have to make it obvious to the user that they can indeed pause the game, and how to do it.

The Mute Feature

Have you ever had to listen to a really annoying sound? Wouldn’t it be great if there was just a button or a shortcut that could just turn off that annoyance? Why not give the gamer that relief. A few simple lines of code will be worth it in the end. You would not believe the amount of bad ratings I’ve seen games receive just because the sounds are annoying and nobody knows how to turn them off.

The Quality Feature

The quality feature is something you see very accessible many times in flash games. Usually, it’s a tiny “Q” that is placed in the corner of the screen somewhere. This button adjusts the quality of the game, or the amount of pixels that it uses. This is important especially when you know that most of your audience has slower computers. Nobody likes playing a game that runs very slowly.