The Homestretch of Game Development

The Homestretch of Game Development

Today is July 29th, 2013. My team and I have been working on Wobbles, a puzzle platformer inspired by Lemmings, since January – February-ish of 2013. While the majority of that time was on-and-off concepting and design, the past two months were pure development full time under Mass DiGI’s Summer Innovation Program. We spent those two months executing on the plans we constructed months back by creating art, writing code, designing levels and obtaining coverage for the game.

These last two weeks of game development (and the next one, one and a half, maybe) however have and will be been pure polish and wrapping up of Wobbles, getting it ready to submit to Apple and Google Play (among other Android marketplaces) and shipping the project.

Let me tell you though, these last couple weeks, and the ones to come have been the most stressful (yet exciting) I’ve had in the longest time. Why you ask? To be honest, it’s a lot of different things. For once, shipping our first game, and our first major game. Secondly, we’re making something that we know people will be able to pick up, have fun with, and maybe get a little bit addicted. Finally, well, I don’t want all of this to end, but I do. That’s pretty redundant, but in all honest as much as I want to ship, I don’t, which is stressing me out.

For months, we’ve been seeing the finish line from a distance, and now I feel like any day we’ll be crossing it and people will actually be playing the game not as testers or designers, but actual customers who want to play the game. This “finish line” is covered in polish, things that make the game look beautiful and usable.

To be honest though, it doesn’t seem like it will end. This is what is really keeping me a bit stressed out. We keep finding things “here and there” that we know we can touch up on, and make better. However, I remember this amazing quote from the founder of LinkedIn, Reed Hoffman, that is keeping me a bit sane: “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”

However, taking all this into account, it’s exactly what I signed up for, many months (and even years) ago when I decided I want to be a game designer. While I didn’t exactly know what that entailed at the time, I did know it would be very exciting and stressful. After watching many other developers go through the same either through Twitter, Developer Documentaries, or just articles on Gamasutra, I finally know the feeling of going through the homestretch of development, and will be able to prepare for it much better for my next project I end up pursing.

In the end though, was it worth it? Hell yes. I’m shipping a game, and I have high hopes that many people will pick it up and enjoy it.

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