Author Topic: Effective Development: Quantity vs. Quality, another take on "dedication".  (Read 2025 times)

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  • Dr Platplat
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I apologize for the possible spewing of unorganized thoughts here, as I kind of just threw everything together. Hopefully what I am trying to say is still somewhat comprehensive. I was planning on editing this to make a better post, but ended up just throwing this out there since exams are upon me. I will probably not be able to actively participate in the discussion here.

Either way, thanks for your time reading.

As most should be well aware by now, "dedication" and incentives to continue are things that plague countless talented projects from reaching completion. I want to take up this topic from a different angle.

Quality vs. Quantity

First of all, I believe that when it comes to what I intend to suggest, it is important for one to be able to put away their ego in order for it to work. So, fore mostly, I believe it is important to make this clear:

Everyone has more potential than what their project shows.

Inevitably, there is always a trade-off between quality and quantity of one's project; at the start of the development, at least. Effectively managing such a balance to suit one's specific goal is mandatory to a project's success. Those who launches with a crooked scope will ultimately result in draining out in more than one way.

Remember the exaggerated examples of;
-100 hours of game-play"?

As ridiculous as that sounds to most, a vast majority of us are in fact suffering from a problem in the same genre - Certainly on a lesser scale, but its effect is just as deadly.

Face it, no matter how pumped you are at the start and how much personal value it might be to you, incentives won't hold long if no one seems to care. Hence, the number one priority is to effectively acquire an interested target audience base. And an effective way to achieve that would be. . .

  • Focus fire

Everyone wants to make the "perfect, balanced game", and many really do have the skills to go far. But  having the potential is one thing, time constraint is another. Scattering your talent with optimism that all those ideas in your head are going to come true at once will often lead to a thread on steroid with cheers in the background, perhaps releases a system demo or two, then deflates and vapourises as no more news follow for the next half a year. Needless to say, the project creator will eventually suffer some degree of escaping incentives, which will most likely snowball.

Many very talented individuals around here seem to be subjected to this to an extent.

Overall, if one were to use the same amount of time to produce something with the intent of a perfectly balanced game, the result (note that here, result actually means result; a.k.a. actual lengthy, continuous releases that reach an end) would most likely to be mediocre due to time constraint. In a sea of similar projects, a product with an averaged-out attribute is not going to catch too many eyes.

But now, if one were to focus on certain aspects of the game with the same amount of time, a spiked competitive advantage would be created. If you want to showcase well designed puzzles and game-play as your strength, don't be afraid to brush aside the extra polish to the story for the mean time (although this one's tricky, since it affects the fundamental progression of the game). Likewise, if you want to showcase a story as your selling point, don't be afraid to brush aside choring with the battle system and database upfront.

The time you saved is essential in allowing you to compile something more noticeable to a certain crowd, and effectively gaining a specific group of target audiences to start out with. Now, while that is underway, the people outside of your target will inevitably, and rightfully, come in and tell you how much touch-up you need on the other aspects.

And when this happens, keep your ego at bay and remember your goal. What we are keeping our eyes on is the final result, the big picture. And in our journey to get there, everything we do is aimed at helping us to actually reach there and produce that final presentation.

Don't get me wrong; by no means do I intend to tell everyone to create one-sided/crappy games just for the sake of releases. But rather, that sometimes the most effective strategy is to start with a one-sided game that spearheads into a dedicating target audience base (one which, in many cases, is required in order for the creator to keep up his/her incentives to work).

By partitioning your tasks to that, the time you save will allow you to make (more so) continuous releases, yet still acquiring a group of target audiences. And as you acquire more and more audience as you steadily improve the areas that you forgone in the past as time goes on, the gaps will slowly close as you are now filled with certain incentives that you could not have at the start of a project. And when you are finished with the final version of your project all patched up and golden (and most importantly, finished), you may now redeem yourself from the nay-sayers of the past, if that'd make you feel better.

It is important to remember that, by nature, people are more interested in a project that they are confident to have result in the long run, than a vapourizing thread that makes them wonder more and more each day whether something will come out of it. Hence, quantity (that of which will keep the player base interested in the progress of your project) is just as important - Because in the end, the interest that people have for you will inevitably affect your own interest on the project - it is a continuous cycle.

Of course, there are exceptions where certain individuals are so dedicated that they work under the shadows until the very day that everything is suddenly released in their completed forms. Much kudos to them to say the least, but the vast majority are not so untouchable.

Personally, I believe episodic release is the most effective development form for something like a non-commercial RM project.

Compact summary:
Do whatever it takes to use the least amount of time to release the most amount of material, while still catching an effective group of target audience to ride you along to the finish line. Then patch things up once you are guaranteed there. To do so, focusing on a competitive advantage could be quite an effective approach as far as the effort involved goes.

James QZ

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Well said Kan, great lecture.
I believe in the existence of extraterrestrials.