What Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues can Teach us About Game Development Part 1

Written By MrSun at 8:00 am - Thursday, September 25th, 2008
Categories: Game Development

We all know who Benjamin Franklin is, one of the greatest Americans in history. His brilliant ideas have survived the centuries without any signs of disappearing. One of his greatest ideas was the idea of personal development. To assist himself in his development as a human, he created a list of thirteen virtues which he would try to focus on following. These virtues can all be applied to the game development process, as I will show you today.

Virtue #1: Temperance

“Eat not to dullness. Drink not to elevation”

Do not overindulge yourself with food or drink.

We, as game developers, should not overindulge ourselves in making games of all the same genre. Do not spend all of your time creating a single game. You have to let it go some time or another.

Virtue #2: Silence

“Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling conversation”

Don’t speak about unimportant topics unless it is necessary.

As game developers, we shouldn’t waste our time, not speaking, but working, on “trifling” (unimportant) features in our game. Doing so will not only decrease the quality of your game, but also increase the time it takes to make it. This virtue will greatly improve your experience making games.

Virtue #3: Order

“Let all your things have their places. Let each part of your business have its time”

Set time slots to work on certain parts of your business.

Our “business” is game development. For us, this virtue means that we must work on separate parts of our games at separate times. Set time slots to work on the level design, programming, optimization, and so on. This will greatly improve your productivity making games.

Virtue #4: Resolution

“Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve”

When you say you’re going to do something, then actually do it.

The same goes for game developers. When you decide that you’re going to turn one of your ideas into a game, then actually carry out your resolution. Don’t decide halfway through the development process that you don’t really feel like making the game anymore. You have to resolve to complete it, no matter what.

Virtue #5: Frugality

“Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself: i.e., waste nothing”

Don’t use anything unless you really need to.

Similarly, we shouldn’t spend our time creating unneeded features in our game. We should be frugal with both our time and the content of our game. Optimize every factor of your game, and then it will turn out well.

Virtue #6: Industry

“Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions”

Don’t waste time.

The idea of using time productively and wisely has become a very important one. It is applied to game development very simply, as many of the virtues have. Do not waste your time. Don’t constantly “test” your game when you’ve got nothing better to do. When you set time to work on your game, then actually work on it. Don’t experiment around to see if certain things look good. Be industrious.

Virtue #7: Sincerity

“Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak; speak accordingly”

Be truthful without being harmful.

When you develop your game, there no doubt will be bugs that you’ll have to fix. When you do find them, fix them. If you can’t find a way to fix the bug, then work around it. Never leave a known bug in your game when you don’t know how to fix it. That would be insincere.